Tuesday 19 February 2019

Write side with Susan Stairs


Susan Stairs
Susan Stairs
Kim Bielenberg

Kim Bielenberg

Susan Stairs on the attack that inspired her new novel, and her yearning since childhood to be an archaeologist.

What was the real-life event that inspired your novel One Good Reason?

On my daughter's 18th birthday, we hired a marquee and had a party in the garden. A gang came along and gate-crashed. They stole stuff, and attacked people with hurleys and sharp pieces of wood.

Where do you like to work?

I have an office in a spare bedroom, which looks out over landscape. I can see the sky. We have a café below us. So sometimes I take the laptop down and sit there. Sometimes I like being surrounded by people, but not having to engage with them.

Do you get to meet other Irish novelists?

Yes, I do. Irish writers tend to be very supportive of each other. Social media is very important, because you are not in a working environment and you are not getting to meet people every day. It is helpful to know that there are people a couple of clicks away.

Have you ever had writer's block?

I have never suffered from it to such an extent that I could not write day after day. Sometimes my brain has not caught up with where I am in the plot. I know what happens later on. So I leave that earlier part aside for a bit. Then, later, I can fill in the gaps.

Does a book stand out from your childhood?

I still have a copy of Alice of Wonderland that I have had since I was four. I read it time and time again as a child. Books were my life, and I was always going to the library.

Which book would you take to a desert island?

I hate when somebody asks me for my favourites. I like something that I can fall into, where I am almost living in the book. I loved The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

If you weren't a writer, what would you be?

I wanted to be an archaeologist as a kid, and I am still interested in that.

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