Novelist Sue Rainsford on leaving her book in a drawer, her musical inspiration, and a love of criminology
Describe your first novel, Follow Me to the Ground You worked on the novel for a few years. How did you get it published?
I wrote it years ago, left it in a drawer, and came back to it when I had the time. One night I gave a reading of a short story I wrote called ‘Fuchsia’ about a woman living in a house, and she thinks there is something living under the stairs. Someone from New Island heard it and asked me if I had any other work, and I sent them the manuscript of my novel.
You also work as an art writer. What does that involve? There’s a lot of talk about Dublin being a difficult place for artists at the moment because of the costs. Have you found that?
Yes, it is an inhospitable place right now, but the community is still strong. In terms of living, it is impossible. Artists are gravitating towards Lisbon.
What did you read growing up and what do you enjoy now?
I used to read a lot of novels by men — writers like Ernest Hemingway, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler. More recently I have liked Eimear McBride, Anna Kana Schofield and Bhanu Kapil.
What’s your work routine?
I usually work at home a solid eight hours a day, starting at nine. At times, it becomes intolerable just being in your own company so I go to cafés. Music sustains me when I start to slump. When I was writing my novel, I played the song ‘When the Moon is High’ by Jack Lukeman over and over.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? Recently, I have daydreamed about forensic criminology. Saga: book focuses on four siblings who diverge after being raised by their devout grandmother
I collaborate with artists. I would often write scripts for video and sound installations.
It’s a story about desire, the hidden cost of intimacy, the images and behaviours we ascribe to female bodies — and the violence those bodies are met with when they break with expectations.