New Idea

5 Minutes With … MARIAN KEYES



The Dublin-based author has been writing about women, families, relationsh­ips and mental health for 25 years. Marian chats to New Idea about her latest release, Grown Ups.

Grown Ups has a big cast of characters – how did that come about?

I love writing first person books, like I did with The Break, but I also love the fun of playing with lots of different people. I got the plot of Grown Ups before I got a single character and it was immediatel­y obvious that this had to be a third-person book, with a lot of diverse people in it.

Do you often have a big issue in mind when you begin a book?

Sometimes, but it depends. With this book, some of the big issues are social – treatment of asylum seekers and period poverty. And it seemed right to include them because they’re relevant to the world I was writing about. The other biggie is bulimia; it’s not something I was hankering to write about but because of the structure of the book – the revelation of secrets – I ‘needed’ something. I’m really glad I wrote about it because so many people who suffer from bulimia have been in touch to tell me it gave them comfort to read about it.

Do you still have pinch-me moments when you remember you’ve sold millions of books?

All the time! I feel so incredibly lucky. I honestly thought I’d never be able to write more than one book and that it wouldn’t sell outside of Ireland.

What keeps you writing?

Because I love writing books! Seriously. There’s nothing else I want to do. I just love the whole thing of creating a new person, a whole family, an entire world. I feel incredibly lucky that this is my job.

Is it true you’re returning to the Walsh family, who’ve appeared in many of your novels over the years?

I’ve tried to do it – The Break was originally meant to be about Claire and Adam from Watermelon, but I simply couldn’t do it. However, I’m missing the Walshes and I had an idea for a sequel to Rachel’s Holiday … But! I know it’s a special book that’s meant a lot to many people – and I’m terrified of disappoint­ing them. So I’ve decided I’ll give it a go and if I feel I can’t do a decent job, I’ll back away from it. I hope it works, but I’m well aware that it might not.

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