MAEVE Binchy was constantly surprised by the success of her books, her husband Gordon Snell has said.
The award-winning writer could never understand why people in far-away countries were so interested in her work.
"She was very surprised to find that people in totally different cultures, like Turkey or Russia or China, liked her books.
"She wondered what a Muslim girl from Turkey reading about a school in Mount Fern in the midlands of Ireland would find in common.
"It's the relationships, schoolgirls and their relationships and young people and adults too, and marriages.
"There are the same difficulties, moods, and joys in all of them really, and anticipation and disappointment."
Mr Snell said that Maeve, who died last July at 72, was very generous when it came to others who were trying to get started in writing.
"Maeve used to say success was not like a cake which you split into slices; it was more like a cairn where you put a rock on it and it gets bigger and bigger."
Dalkey-born Maeve was always very curious, according to her husband.
"Curiosity was her main policy. She was curious about anything, especially people. That's why she never minded being delayed in airports or bus stops, just watching people from a distance."
Mr Snell also said that Maeve, whose books sold more than 40m copies, didn't always have the ambition to be a writer.
"I don't think it was," he told Today with Pat Kenny on RTE Radio. "I mean she always loved writing, but I don't think that was the original thing."