On the afternoon of Saturday, April 16 Ciara Geraghty joined us in my library in Bailieborough for a reading from her latest book, Finding Mr. Flood, and to answer questions from the audience.
There was a good turn out of interested readers and the crowd proved to be both interested in Ciara, her book as well as the opportunity to ask questions.
Ciara started of with an essay she had written about her grandmother, known in her family as “the Big Woman”, a term, as she pointed out, you wouldn’t be able to use anymore in these days of political correctness.
The essay, parts of which can be read in the acknowledgments at the end of Finding Mr. Flood, was filled with fond memories and love. A special poignancy resulted from the fact that Ciara’s grandmother used to live in Bailieborough which made the memories recognizable for a lot of those in the audience.
After this essay we were treated to several fragments from the book interspersed with opportunities to ask questions.
She was asked about dogs, and whether she had one or more herself. This was a question I had been asking to ask myself. The way she describes dogs in Finding Mr. Flood and the love the main character in the book has for dogs made it impossible for me to imagine that she wouldn’t have at least one dog herself. But much to my surprise it turned out that she doesn’t. As she put it, now that she has left the baby stage behind her with her children, she doesn’t want to commit to something else that is going to be completely dependent on her and tie her hands. For me that was just more proof of how wonderful a writer she is and how well she can imagine feelings and emotions and share them with the reader.
Another thing I found fascinating was that she hadn’t always dreamt of being an author. She took creative writing classes because they gave her an opportunity to get out of the house and do something for herself for one night a week. Those classes started her on writing “Saving Grace” which led, after a few years, to a publishing deal, and, as they say, the rest is history.
More questions were asked and answered about the way she approaches the writing process, editing, getting published and reading (Ciara reads about four books a month and doesn’t feel the need to stop reading when she’s in the middle of writing a story).
I think I can honestly say everybody had a wonderful afternoon. Ciara turned out to be a charming person, as were the rest of her family who had accompanied her and are obviously very proud of her.
I had to smile when I saw Ciara leave with a bag from John-Ed, the butcher, containing some of the burgers she had so lovingly remembered in the acknowledgements in Finding Mr. Flood, and I hope she did get the chance to put them on a barbeque.
Photos courtesy of Tara Kennedy