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'mam taught me to trust people'

Roisin Meaney is a novelist (her latest book is Love in the Making, Hodder Headline E17.15) who previously worked as a primary school teacher. She is the third eldest of seven in her family and her mum, Rose, was also a primary school teacher. We talked to Roisin and Rose about their relationship.

>roisin "What I really admire in Mam is that she's totally energetic -- she's 81 but has the energy of a woman half her age. She never sits down -- literally from the moment she gets up in the morning, she's busy doing something and it's just part of her personality to be active.

"When we go walking, I have to trot to keep up with her. She's also a superb gardener and the garden is her pride and joy. Mam gets on with anyone -- she's very outgoing and interested in other people.

"The life lessons that Mam has passed on to me are to get on with people and give them the benefit of the doubt. She also had to be quite thrifty with seven children in the house so I've learnt from her example. Mam and I are both fans of charity shops. When she was in San Francisco visiting my brother, she loved going to thrift stores.

"Mam and Dad have both been supportive of my writing and it's lovely that I don't live too far from them in Limerick -- Mam does a wonderful Sunday dinner!"

>rose "Roisin was always very determined from an early age about her writing and was always writing stories when she was younger. She managed to write novels while she was teaching but then she took a sabbatical and decided to write full-time.

"I think I dreaded her giving up the pensionable job but she was quite definite and, thankfully, it has worked out well.

"All of the family are great walkers -- I got into walking when I was a young teacher and wanted to lose a bit of weight. When the babies arrived, I brought them with me on my walks. The first pram that we had was a big pram and we called it the mini-bus, there'd also be bicycles and scooters along with the pram. I still walk five or six miles every day.

"I find that Roisin helps keep me young -- she helps me pick out clothes and she keeps me up to date with new things. Not so long ago I had to ask her what bling was as I saw it mentioned in an advert!"

>Next week: DJ Sinead Ni Mhordha and her mum Nancy


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