Happy Monday Ladies and Gents.
Today I have the wonderful Aoife Brennan joining me on my blog. Everybody clap real loud for Aoife.
Aoife Brennan is the author of, The Cougar Diaries, Part I. It is a Comic erotica and a must read, trust me. Her book was released February 18th, with books two and three to follow this year. Now it’s time to get to know Aoife Brennan and her book a little better. 🙂
Siren: Aoife, where can we find you on the web and your next blog stop if any?
Aoife: You can find me on my blog which is http://thecougardiariesireland.wordpress.com/
Siren: I must follow you on wordpress! Where can your readers find your book?
Aoife: It is available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Cougar-Diaries-Part-ebook/dp/B00BHIUK6S and also in hard copy on lulu.com http://www.lulu.com/ie/en/shop/aoife-brennan/the-cougar-diaries-part-i/paperback/product-20923825.html
Siren: Tell us a little bit about your book.
Aoife: The Cougar Diaries is a year in the life of Aoife Brennan, A newly single woman, Dubliner and mother to two teenage boys – she has to fight for her way of life, overcome the antiquated legal divorce system, and secure a fair future from her estranged ex and LIVE! This is about a woman living and loving again, making mistakes, embracing life and giving it lots of welly!
Book Two brings Aoife into more crises, more adventures and battles to be fought. Book three does the same but there is a solid ending. I am currently writing book two and book three will be started in a month or so. I know the final line.
Siren: Wow! Sounds like a great series. How old were you when you realized that writing was what you wanted to do with your life?
Aoife: I was always a writer but poverty inspired me to take the step to actually write my books.
Siren: Who has inspired you the most along your journey as a writer?
Aoife: My mother. She believes in me and knows there are some very good books inside of me. She likes my cougar series but knows the best is yet to come.
Siren: Your mother sounds wonderful. It’s wonderful to have someone on your side who believes in you even when you fail to believe in yourself. Aoife, how did you come up with the idea of your current book?
Aoife: My own life. It was too mad not to use as source material.
Siren: 🙂 How did you come up with the title?
Aoife: I experimented with various titles. I was reading Bleak House and wanted to use ‘I begin the World’ but it had been taken for a religious book. Then I was influenced by Susan Coolidge and her ‘What Katy did’ books and I wondered if I might do ‘What Aoife did’ Finally I did some focus group research and found the Cougar resonated with older women and so I thought – let’s go with The Cougar Diaries, Part I, II & III.
Siren: What advice would you give to others who are interested in/or currently working towards becoming a published author.
Aoife: Write, write and then write some more.
Siren: What books/authors have influenced your writing?
Aoife: I love reading so while I may never aspire to their heights; I love Cormac McCarthy, Iris Murdock, Carol Shields, Ann Patchett, Kevin Barry, Sebastian Barry and many more.
Siren: Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Aoife: Yes, I often reach a point where I find it hard to put one word in front of another. At times like that, I go for a walk, putting one foot in front of another.
Siren: Do you write an outline before every book you write?
Aoife: No, not always. My first Cougar book just flowed. The second I had to plot as it was getting more complicated. I am not sure what will happen with book three.
Siren: What is your favorite time of day and place to write?
Aoife: Morning. In my bed.
Siren: I love writing in he morning. But if I try to write in bed I always fall back to sleep or end up watching Supernatural and Charmed on T.V. 🙂
Aoife, Do you believe in love at first sight?
Aoife: Yes, I do, despite having been in love more than once. You’d think I’d figure out what was causing that particular state of affairs by now, wouldn’t you?
Siren: LOL, What’s your idea of a perfect date?
Aoife: I think a day on the beach, drinks in a beach bar, dinner in a marina restaurant, cocktails in a late night watering hole. If I’m on a budget, then anywhere with a nice guy, where I can look into his eyes.
Siren: Awww, sounds romantic. How did you come up with the names of the characters in your book?
Aoife: Aoife is me so that is cheating. The other names were names of people I do NOT know!
Siren: LOL. Let us make this clear readers, the other names are of people she does NOT know! Since this is a Romance and Fashion blog, I have to ask you a fashion related question… Which do you prefer, high heels or flats?
Aoife: I must prefer heels – I am over six feet tall and I love that!
Siren: Yay! I love me some heels. 🙂 Thank you Aoife, for joining me today. I have enjoyed this interview. We must do this again sometime.
Readers Aoife Brennan has included a little more information about herself and why she chose to began writing this series. I read over it and found it to be very enlightening. I would like to share it with you and hope you find her words as encouraging and uplifting as I did.
Things I have learnt from STUFF – or rather the lack thereof!
The majority of our spiritual leaders had nothing. Or if they had stuff, they gave it away. Jesus, Ghandi, the Dalai Lama were known for the little they had. They did not build massive churches, erect huge edifices or pour vast statues of themselves. They were not commercial. They did not need ‘stuff’. Stuff was the stuff that got in the way of the real stuff. We all know that. We all know that to truly be oneself, one has to shed belongings and find the true path, preferably without designer gear, cool wheels and the latest ipad.
We know that, but to lose the stuff you have is not so easy, especially when it is not done on a voluntary basis. I wouldn’t have minded if I had chosen to give away my worldly goods, shave a tonsure on my head, don a hairsuit and walk the pavements. If I had chosen? I mean, if I had chosen then I would have felt sanctimonious, cool and really, really special. I think I might have even walked on water!
Freedom definitely comes from giving away your stuff and relying on your core. But what if you didn’t choose to give it away and it is taken anyway? Is that called being robbed, mugged or just recessed (as in recession)?
So when I lost all my possessions, one by one, then the rest in a great big flood of things, I stood in the receding wake like a tsunami victim. Waving not drowning, yet I was drowning in the loss. I thought my world had come to an end. A commercial end – and me with it.
But I learnt two very important things after my own personal tsunami-letting of goods. The first is that hings are not important. I knew that before. I was never very ‘brand’ focused before, preferring shoddy to chic. Shabby-chic I called it. My ex called it cheap as chips – that is just one of the reasons he is my ex. But going from not being particularly bothered about things to not having them at all is a pretty emotional experience.
I minded less the loss than the fact that my two children were unprotected and vulnerable. Losing for me was tough, but I felt losing for them was devastating. Not that they complained but I felt such the inadequate parent. They never moaned or asked for things out of the ordinary, and indeed often spent their own birthday money on necessities such was their acceptance of our combined financial stress.
I’d like to say at this point it was cathartic, but I can’t. I did not choose to lose my worldly goods, such as they were, and I did not feel the better for their loss. Quite the opposite. Guilt was strapped onto me tight as a backpack. I fretted over shoes for the children, tickets for outings, monthly shopping bills. I agonised over meeting friends over wine, but I still did it, and agonised all the more afterwards. What?
You bad mother you, that bottle of wine would have bought face wipes, stewing meat, insert whatever six euro substitute you can find. Someone may have said once that life is too short to drink bad wine. I’d answer and say you drink to your price range and now, yes, I was cheap as chips.
Knowing that things were not important allowed me to let go of the big things in my life, my home, my life savings, my security. But knowing I had children meant I had guilt every step of the way. I thought, frequently, if I were sick or they needed an operation, what would happen. Or even if they wanted something frivolous, what would happen. Oh, how easily your expectations are cut short and curtailed like the clipped wing on a bird of prey.
But I always knew things are not important. If I won the lottery in the morning, I would not go out and buy stuff. In fact, and very ironically, my ex and I used to fight over imaginary lottery wins as I would threaten to give away at least two thirds of it – but this was fictional winnings, maybe I might have been a lot greedier with the real stuff. I think, however, if I did win the lottery now, I might pop in Primark and buy some dresses. I might book a holiday – but not very far and exotic, and preferably with family. I might buy a Micra with power steering. Oh, go on I might buy a nicer car. But not much nicer. Nice enough!
So I have learnt that even forcibly removing goods from a person is tough, but you can survive. I cannot claim to have learnt any deep stuff from this shit. I probably should be able to point to a moment and a feeling and say – Yes that is when I knew who I was or some sort of thing. I can’t. I can’t even claim to feel good about hitting the bottom, because I have hit more bottoms than Mr Grey, without any pleasure, and I see no sign of that downslide abating – yet!
But it has reinforced my knowledge that possessions are much less important than things, experiences and people. Always people. But I always knew that Universe, so why did you take everything away? I can only hope so you can give it back, tenfold! Lol
However, while I know that stuff is not important. Hey, I was brought up by two great parents and a brother, so I knew that, but I learnt something else, something quite surprising.
You’d think that losing everything would make me very weak and vulnerable. It would turn me into a churchmouse who was scared of everything. I would be looking over my shoulder at shadows, jumping at noises in the bushes and terrified of authority. It didn’t. Actually the opposite was true. Now don’t get me wrong, I have spent nights crying myself to sleep, I have spent days unable to get out of bed, I have walked in a daze and known no one before me. But I am not afraid.
I admit to being scared. I worry about the future (although I recognise that is futile in itself). I alternate between great enthusiasm when I wake, to extreme tiredness at the end of day, and yet still fail to sleep through a full night. But I am not afraid. So, I looked at my talents and writing is my passion. While gainfully employed I had no time to write. Now, I had nothing to distract me, so, I took out my metaphorical pen and I wrote a bonk buster. A real page turner with lots of steamy sex. When I say steamy, a recent reviewer said I made 50shades look positively monochrome by comparison. But the difference is that I put my heart and soul into the book. It is a book about a 40 year old woman coming to terms with life, children, dating and basically holding the can.
I thought long and hard about this writing, especially the steamy side of it, but I knew at the end of the day I am not afraid. Of course, my two children are mortified. They are teenagers and the thought of their mother writing about sex is terrible, worse than if I was found guilty of shoplifting at Aldi. I don’t blame them but I am not afraid of them either, or rather their reaction.
I have two more books in this filthy series that I am writing now. And do you know the nicest thing? This is fiction. I can write the ending and while I lead my main character through the valley of death, despair and trouble, I am giving her a fabulous ending! Oh the power of the pen!
So, when possessions depart – and bravery enters by the main door – then it is time to write!
***I love it. Thank you Aoife, for sharing this with me and for allowing me to share it with others.***