Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ramblings in Ireland by Kerry Dwyer: Interview & Excerpt


This is not a book about rambling in Ireland.

It tells the tale of one particular walking trip and the memories and musings it inspired.

Exploring the West of Ireland is a time for meditation, spiritual reflection and strengthening the bonds of life. More practically the ability to read a map might have proved helpful. The tourist office in Ireland has all their paths clearly marked. You can’t go wrong if you follow that little yellow man. Or can you?

As British ex-patriate Kerry Dwyer leads Bertrand, her trusting French husband, astray once more, they reminisce and reflect upon accents and accidents, family and friends, love and what it means to be alive. Bertrand doesn’t mind getting lost - he loves Kerry all the more for going off the beaten track.

This is a book about ramblings in Ireland. Walk with Kerry and Bertrand and follow where your thoughts lead you.

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Once we had booked the flight, we ordered some books from the internet. A book about walks and a map or two, we thought, would be great to get us started. I said that I would be in charge of doing this. Well, it is an easy job isn’t it? You can get English books in France from specialist shops but we do not live anywhere near a specialist book store and so tend to order online. With a search engine it is easy. I have an account with Amazon so a few clicks and it is done. I ordered an ordnance survey map of Cork and Kerry. I thought that would be good for walks and points of interest as well.

For the book on walks I keyed “walking in cork and kerry” into the search engine and looked through the results that came up. I clicked on several to read more about them. There was a great series of books about walking in the west of Ireland with notes on wildlife and lovely drawings of the scenery. It promised to be good for all levels of walkers from casual strollers up to serious walkers. A few more clicks and that was done. I informed Bertrand that I had ordered the book and map in English, with just a short search and a few clicks. He looked at me dubiously and asked, “You ordered an ordnance survey map?”

“Yes, for Cork and Kerry.”

“That’s good. They should have all the walking routes. We will be able to see where the mountains are too. They’re normally very detailed. Are you sure it covers the right parts?” He sounded uncertain.

“What do you mean?” I asked. I tried to look a little taller and sound insulted.

“Well, looking at Google Earth. Cork and Kerry cover quite a bit of territory. I shouldn’t think that one map would cover all of it.” he explained.

“It was the only one that said Cork and Kerry. It didn’t say bits of Cork and Kerry. Do you think I can’t do something so simple as order the right map?” I was a bit cross at his mocking tone.

“No, I would never say that.” He laughed.

“So why are you grinning all over your face?”

Of course, he was right. Whilst it did cover the some of the countryside we would drive through between the airport and Bantry, it covered none of the areas we were going to stay in and none of the walks that we had planned to do. Bertrand laughed so much he nearly cried. When the book on walks arrived I opened it to start reading about the places we would go to and the things we would see. I hoped that this would give enough detail that we wouldn’t need a stupid ordnance survey map.  

Welcome Kerry.  Thanks so much for stopping by to answer some of my questions.  I am thrilled to get this chance to learn a little about you.  So....first question....Does your husband read your stuff?

I dedicated this book to my husband. He has supported and encouraged me the whole way through from idea to publication. I could not have done it without him. If you look at the first page you will see that the dedication is in French. Bertrand does not speak a lot of English and yet he made the effort and took the time to read every page of this book.

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?

I have both. I belong to a small group of four friends who send each other chapters, poems or paragraphs from time to time for critique. This is a really useful process. Giving critique is as helpful as receiving. You can’t just say that you don’t like it you must say why and what you don’t like and give some suggestion for how to improve it. This makes you think about how to improve your won writing in the future. My beta readers are wonderful and they also come back with what they don’t like and why.

Do you have any advice for new writers? If so what?

The only advice that I have is ‘write’. Really that is all they need to do. Worry about what to do with it once the story is written. You can go back over it later to format the work, edit it and even add things like conversations and descriptions. Write the story you want to write not someone else’s. You may decide to put it away in a drawer and not do anything with it but you will have written your story.

Morning Person? Or Night Person? How do you know?

I am a morning person. If you came to visit early in the morning I would be out walking before I started work. If it was raining I would be at my keyboard, it is the best time for me to think or write. In the evenings I fall asleep if I do anything relaxing. My concentration levels are very low in the evening so don’t tell me anything then because I will have forgotten it by the morning.

Do you have a Website or Blog?

Yes I do. You can find the link below. I write about my life in France, my holidays, my family, anything that takes my fancy really. Please feel free to drop by.

What would we find under your bed?

Probably my robot vacuum cleaner. It really is the most wonderful device. It vacuums my home without me having to lift a finger but it always seems to stop in the middle of under the bed. 

Tell us about the absolute BEST fan mail you have received.

It is lovely to have friends and family telling me how much they like my work. There is something wonderful about praise when it comes from a stranger. I have sent my book out to many people for reviews. This is a quote from an email that I received from one person, you can see his review on Amazon:-

“Now thank you for introducing yourself and your husband to me. Lovely book and you have a conversational way of writing that just “gells” with me. You had me spell bound on numerous occasions. I truly did get lost with you on the mountain in the mist, in a way more fun for me having been on air sea rescue when in the RAF, could just feel that extra personal drama. I just enjoyed every moment of this book and my wife is now reading it too. As I said in my review this is one book that will remain a favorite to be taken on holiday in the caravan or just available when required. Great read thanks once again.”

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Although ostensibly this book is the story of walking in Ireland with it does have some serious messages to give. We thought Ireland, the country and its people were wonderful, this message is clear. It also explores the cultural differences between the French and the English and Irish not only through my own eyes but through those of my French husband. Our relationship changed significantly due to being so intensely in each others company.  Rambling is not just as a form of exercise and exploring the countryside but of talking using Free Association.  This was a therapeutic technique invented by Freud in order to access unconscious processes for the purpose of therapy. Readers who let their minds wander may find things in their sub conscious that they didn’t know were there. 
Kerry Dwyer was born in the North of England and educated in the South. She worked in finance for more than two decades in the UK, USA and various countries in mainland Europe. She now lives with her French husband and her daughter in the South West of France. She gave up finance and retrained as an English teacher (TEFL) after her daughter was born as she wanted to spend as much time as she could with her. Ramblings in Ireland is her first novel.
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November 1st Author Interview – Annie Johnson -
2nd Guest post with Caitlyn James
3rd Book review Jane and Lindsay Kendal
4th Author interview with Daniel Dinnie
5th Author Interview with Elise of the Gladiators Pen
6th Booke review Concert Katie
6th Interview with Star of The Bibliophilic Book Blog
7th Interview with Jane and Lindsay Kendal
9th Author interview with Brook Syers
10th Book review Chrissy Wolfe
12th Book review – Hillary Lesch
12th Author Interview – Debra Martin
14th Interview with Angelica Dawson
15th Author spotlight Tela Wallen

18th Author Spot and Giveaway and hop– Laurie's thoughts and reviews

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Anonymous said...

Really loved this book!

sully6189 said...

I'm in love with Ireland and look forward to reading this!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Paulette fro dropping by to comment.

Sully6189 - best of luck with the chance for a free copy in the Book Lover's Holiday Hop.

Laurie- thank you for the feature. It looks great!