Cathy Kelly has enjoyed unprecedented success in the UK and her native Ireland. Building on the popularity of her "Dear Cathy" advice column, Kelly brings to her fiction a warmth and humor that speaks to women everywhere.
Hannah, Emma, and Leonie, three women at critical turning points in their lives, meet on holiday and find themselves changing in unexpected ways. Hannah, young, beautiful and reeling from the betrayal of a lover, decides to throw herself into her career and embrace the single life. Emma, married for two years and hoping to start a family, constantly questions her ability to be a parent, while still allowing her own parents to interfere in her life. Leonie, generously proportioned and equally big-hearted, wonders if she'll ever find love with three teenage children in tow.
Someone Like You is a celebration of life and friendship, firmly establishing Cathy Kelly as a captivating new voice in contemporary women's fiction.
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Q> Hannah is an American woman living in Ireland. Why was it important to have an American in the mix? Do you see her as ultimately different than Leonie and Emma?
Ireland is a multi-cultural society and over the past ten years, there's been a huge increase in the number of people from all over the world living there. So many of my friends come from the four corners of the globe, including America, and it seemed like a good idea to include a character who wasn't Irish. Also like a lot of Irish people, I've a huge affinity with America. Hannah is only different from Leonie and Emma in that she's a different individual: her origin doesn't make any difference. She has the same hopes and ideals, she's a lovely, kind, funny woman who wants a good life and happiness. That dream is universal.
Q> Who are your favorite writers? What kinds of books and authors inspire you to write?
I adore Jane Austen, Anita Shreve, Maeve Binchy. To be honest, I could be here all day telling you about writers. I never stop reading, which is why I don't spend enough time vacuuming! I'm writing this in my study which is covered in books (a lot of the floor, to be honest!) I love autobiographies and find books about China fascinating. I try and read historical/factual books to educate myself. I obviously didn't pay enough attention in history in school! Q> Which of the three women in Someone Like You do you relate to the most? Or are they an amalgam of different aspects of your own personality?
People do assume that you create characters by taking different aspects of yourself and mixing it all up, but you don't. I really make up characters. My novels are character-driven rather than plot-driven, so the hard part in the beginning is creating these very different women and giving them their voices. When it comes to which woman I related to most, I honestly related to them all in different ways.
Q> As a columnist, what were the major challenges facing you when you sat down to write fiction? Did your columns inspire your fiction?
When I was a columnist, I worked for a tabloid paper which meant you had very limited space. When I started writing novels, I had to learn to write lots. On the days when I went into the newspaper office, the subeditors (who lay out newspaper pages) used to go mad because my articles were too long! I worked as the paper's agony aunt for five years but I never used a letter as the basis for a book. This would have been wrong, a betrayal of the people who wrote to me. It did show me that the world is a strange and often sad place, and that truth is genuinely stranger than fiction. Q> Have you considered a sequel to Someone Like You? Or do you see the end of this novel as the "happily ever after" that the three characters are seeking?
I've never written a sequel and I don't see myself writing a sequel to Someone Like You. Although to paraphrase James Bond 'never say never. ' And I do see this as happy ever after. Is that schmaltzy? I am a romantic at heart!
Q> What are you working on now?
I'm currently working on my sixth novel which is the story of a family, three sisters and their mother. To the outside world, these women have it all. But behind closed doors, it's another story...
Cathy Kelly is a bestselling author in the U.K. and her native Ireland. A former news and fashion editor and the creator of the popular Irish "Dear Cathy" advice column, she currently writes a column for Dublin's Sunday World.
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