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How author Siobhan's book predicted a twist in her own lovelife...

A DUBLIN author predicted her own lovelife in a book that was supposed to be romantic fiction.

Divorcee Siobhan McKenna is being hailed as Ireland's Candace Bushnell after writing a novel that now appears larger than life.

The 45-year-old's book about a woman and her love interest - an Italian who runs a cafe - mirrors her real-life Italian partner Graziano who runs Il Panorama cafe in Howth.

And Ms McKenna has now landed a nomination in the Irish Book Awards for her work.

She is one of six authors to be shortlisted for the Best Irish Newcomer of the Year, for her book The Lingerie Designer, which hit the shelves in June.

Book reviewers have been predicting a successful career for the Howth woman, because her wit is comparable to Sex And The City or Bridget Jones.

She told the Herald: "It's a bit mad and surreal. The whole year has passed by in a blur. It's like a dreamland. This time last year I was putting out my manuscripts and getting all my rejection letters.

"But last week I got a phone call from a woman in Poolbeg publishers and she asked me 'are you sitting down'. And then she told me [about the award]. It's the Irish literary academy basically, it comes from booksellers, literary agents and people in the book trade, so it's really brilliant."

She added: "It's an affirmation for my book because they vote based on feedback, what they thought of the book, and if they think there's more potential there for another book."

Graziano and Siobhan have been together for three years. "I had the character in the coffee shop and an Italian in the book, and next thing there he was. I stopped in there one day for coffee and the rest is history," said Siobhan.

"My next book is due out in June, and it's to be with the publishers in February so I'm going to have to become a bit of a hermit. I'm working a seven-day week at the moment because you've got to get out and promote the book but still write a new one.

"The next one is called The Other Woman. It's set in Italy so in the background there'll be food and wine. I want to transport people out of Ireland so it'll be set in Lake Garda."

The nomination is a bonus, says Siobhan, who has had "one of the best years" since she landed a publishing deal when she won a TV3 competition Write A Bestseller.

"It's probably been one of the best years of my life. The learning curve and the people I've met have been brilliant, and just to see the culmination of the years, it's great to know that I'm going in the right direction," she explained.