Today’s guest is Caroline E. Farrell, author of Lady Beth, which won the Carousel Award Prize for Best Novel 2017.
Hi Caroline. Congratulations on the award! Tell us a little about your writing to date.
I write both fiction and film scripts. I also blog at carolinefarrellwriter.com and occasionally recommend books through my page, The Librarian’s Cellar. I’ve written and produced two short films, Adam and In Ribbons, and have won awards for several of my feature length screenplays. Lady Beth is my first ‘proper’ novel, although I did write a previous book online, chapter by chapter – a tale of the supernatural, Arkyne, Story of a Vampire, and it is now in novel format and available from Amazon.
Where did your inspiration for Lady Beth come from?
Lady Beth began as a screenplay. However, as the writing unfolded, the story gripped me to such an extent that I was eventually compelled to write it in novel form. I loved the process. I guess the inspiration for the story comes from my personal social vision. Society is often unkind to people when they fall down, or live on the margins, and you cannot move through any city in the world without seeing the walking wounded. Crime and drug culture is devastating, and I often wonder about the other side of their stories, the side we are not privy to, and also, I think about the challenges faced by the parents of the young addicts I see on the street. I am in awe of the strength of mothers in crisis, and their stories are the inspiration for the character, Beth, the warrior.
Which is it harder to write – a screenplay or a novel?
I wouldn’t say that one is more difficult than the other – they are just very different. Writing a screenplay means stripping down to the bones of a story, one minute per page, while writing a novel is the opposite, and can be as long as it needs to be!
Personal writing choice: pen or keyboard?
Definitely keyboard, although I keep notebooks for jotting down ideas. I think it would be lovely to write in longhand all the time, but I tend to write too fast, which can sometimes lead to text that resembles illegible chicken scratch!
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I was runner-up in a ‘Plot a Bestseller’ competition when I was 19, and that was a great boost to my confidence in terms of believing that I could be a writer, though I think I was scribbling very bad poetry before that! Also, the only part of school I liked was every Friday when homework was to write an essay over the weekend. I loved writing assignments!
What is the best part of being an author?
That eureka moment – when the final piece of the story manifests and pulls it all together into something that gives me confidence in the draft. I never know when it will happen, but when it does, it is so satisfying!
And the worst?
Waiting for that eureka moment! And lying awake at night, analysing character and plot, when I really need to get some sleep.
Who are your writing heroes?
I have so many favourite authors, but writing heroes are a step above that. Oscar Wilde for sure, a man so far ahead of his time. And Emily Bronte, for conjuring Wuthering Heights. Shirley Jackson was pretty amazing, and Patricia Highsmith. Anne Rice is a legend, as is Edna O’Brien… I could go on and on!
If you had to be stranded on a desert island with three fictional characters, who would you choose, and why?
I love this question! So, there’s a character in Lady Beth called Roddy (no spoilers!) and he fascinates me, so he would have to keep me company, along with Dorian Gray, so we can discuss the pros and cons of eternal life, and Mary Poppins, because she is magic, and could dig into her carpet bag for food!
My next novel is an urban ghost story. I am also in prep to direct a short film, so 2018 will be busy, in the best possible ways!
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions, Caroline!
Caroline E. Farrell is a writer and filmmaker from Dublin, Ireland. She is the author of the novel, LADY BETH, recent winner of Best Novel at The CAP Awards 2017. She has also written several feature length and short screenplays including ADAM  and the multi-award winning IN RIBBONS . Caroline, a qualified Librarian, now works as a freelance Cultural Event Manager, teaches creative writing and holds a H Dip in Adult Education. She is a member of the Writers Guild of Ireland, the Irish Writers Union, the Irish Film and Television Academy and is a current access>CINEMA board member.Website: http://carolinefarrellwriter.com/Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarolineAuthor