1. Tell us about your newest release.
Semi-Sweet was really fun for me to write, as it deals with a woman who opens up a cupcake shop - for an enthusiastic amateur baker like myself, it was totally pandering to my love of poring over cookbooks and trying out recipes! Hannah has just been dumped before she opens the shop, so as she's baking and selling all those yummy cupcakes she's also struggling to come to terms with her boyfriend Patrick's deception. Happily, she's not left to mourn for too long, and with the help of some good friends - and an interesting stranger - she finds a way to laugh again. Semi-Sweet isn't all just sweetness and light though - there are some darker storylines happening too, and more struggles than Hannah's.
2. Can you tell us a little about your favorite scene in the story?
I think it's probably when Patrick revisits Hannah towards the end, and she gives him exactly what he deserves! (Sorry, but I can't say too much more without giving the game away.)
3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Way back when I was eighteen years old, and I won a car in a Kellogg's Corn Flakes competition by finishing a sentence in ten words or less! I wrote 'I would like to win a Ford Fiesta because ... my father won't let me drive his!'
4. Where do you get your information or ideas for your stories?
They can come from anywhere - things I see or hear, things I read about or experience. I find travelling is good for inspiration, because I'm seeing and experiencing so many new things. Sometimes I'll make a note of something that interests me, but other times an idea will just pop into my head and I'm not sure where it's come from. Of course I grab it before it disappears!
5. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
In all but one of my novels to date, I've included a cat. I come from a family of cat lovers, and we always had a cat in the house when I was growing up. Now I have two cats myself, and most of my siblings have some too, and I thought it might be fun to feature a cat every time I wrote a book. I was dismayed when I realized that I'd left a cat out of one book, but by then it was too late to do anything about it. There is a dog in it though, a real cutie called Dolly.
6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I think it was that I could do it! I had no idea when I began writing my first novel in 2001 whether I'd get to the end of it or not. I'm still amazed when I get to the last page of whatever I'm writing - amazed and very, very relieved!
7. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
I'm a voracious reader, and of all the authors I love I think Ann Tyler stands out as a particular favourite. I discovered her in Zimbabwe, of all places, in 1984, when I was working as an English teacher. I found one of her books, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, in a friend's house and fell instantly in love with her quirky characters and wonderful storytelling style. I was compared to Ann Tyler in a review once and I just about fainted with gratitude.
8. What does your family think about your career as a published author?
They love it. My parents are my staunchest supporters, and my siblings are great too. Of course they love coming to the launches and basking in the reflected glory!
9. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
Baking, walking, doing cryptic crosswords, travelling and going to dinner parties. I'd like to say drinking nice red wine too, but I'm afraid that might give the wrong impression!
10. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you writing wise?
I've recently started a new book, it's set on an island off the Irish coast and it features a girl who's planning her wedding and raising money by letting out her house for seven weeks of the summer. It's going really well and I'm very happy with the characters, who are all behaving themselves - so far!
11. How can readers connect with you online?
Through my website, http://www.roisinmeaney.com./ I'm always delighted to hear from readers, especially if they're saying good things about my books!
Thanks for joining us!
One lucky winner will win a copy of Semi-Sweet by posting. So, ask or comment away and I'll announce a winner in a couple of days.