I interviewed Siobhàn, author of So You Think You Know Me? and The Leprechaun Made Me Write This at her double book launch in Rotorua, New Zealand, on 12th March 2015
(Yes, ‘way back then! Sorry, Siobhan)
- In your autobiographic So you Think You Know Me, you mention times in your life when relationships within your family, when a child, weren’t the best. Of all those incidents and accidents, which left the most deeply ingrained pain?
…The moment when, at age three, I was watching my mum bent at the small closed fireplace poking at the ashes to make them drop through the grate, and although I wanted to go to her and hug her, some part of me was analysing the situation, and I realised that if I did, the hug would not only be unwelcome, but I would be asked to explain why I’d done it. Even at that young age, I was aware of my mother’s cold side.
Another thing which hurt me deeply – my mother saying to me “I’d rather you’d come home and told me you had cancer than be coming home and telling you’re pregnant.” That was really cutting.
- You travelled extensively – France, Australia and stops off on the way back to Ireland. Was that travelling a running away from your problematic past or running to a more hopeful future?
…Neither, really. I moved around on whims of the moment, but always hoping for a discovery of why I was as miserable as I was, and for some change for the better.
Running for an answer?
Yes, looking for anything to help me learn about my past
- Why did a young woman writer come from Ireland to New Zealand?
…I came here [years ago] for three weeks, to visit a friend in the South Island. I toured around, looking at the landscape and thinking “I could live here”. I went back to Ireland for some years, then one day I thought “I’m off to New Zealand.” That was ten years ago, and…today I just received my New Zealand citizenship
- Congratulations, Siobhan . How important to you as an ex-Pat (excuse the almost pun) is St Patrick’s Day?
…It’s not really something important to me, I mean, I don’t look at it as an excuse to go drinking. I may have a drink, but only if I want a drink, not because of the day
- Best surroundings and atmosphere to write?
No special place or time. I write in the moments when I am free and feel like writing
- Favourite genre/style of music?
Something with a rhythm, a beat; some traditional music; I like the Corrs
- Favourite childhood prank?
I never often pulled pranks. Though there was one time, in our first year at secondary school, when we were all given lockers. One boy stepped into his, and I slipped the bolt down and wandered around the corner. Never said a word, just left him. I came back after a time and pulled up the bolt quietly. When he tried to get out again, and it opened, he came out without any fuss, but so puzzled
- Other books of yours?
“Silver Lining” published 11 October 2012, and “Laugh Out Loud” published 11 Dec 2012
After the interview, people began arriving for the launch. The venue soon became too small for the crowd – chairs were in the entry and just outside the door. We listened and laughed to Siobhan’s (in her leprechaun costume) jokes. As I was sitting close to the door, I realised some people were walking away, as from among the crowd outside the door they could neither see nor hear Siobhan. I’d monopolised her for the duration of the interview, and had both the books now, so I came away so one more could enter the room for a full experience.
I decided to go to the Irish pub, Pig and Whistle, before summoning my ride; for where else could one go to read a book of Irish jokes, only five days out from Saint Patrick’s Day?