Ireland exerts an appeal for Iris Blobel as well – must be something in the water there! Welcome, Iris, and thanks for treading the boards with us today!
1. Are you inspired most by places, people or experiences and how do these work their way into your writing?
Places and music inspire me. I’m lucky to have a husband who likes travelling as much as I do, so whenever I see a truly beautiful spot (I know I do by getting all teary) I have the setting for my next story. Last year I went to Hobart for a weekend and more or less wrote a whole story during my stay. Most of my books are set in Ireland and Tassie – I LOVE both places.
2. Please share one of your favourite moments of inspiration with us.
A story close to my heart is “Auf Wiedersehn” (still a WIP). I’m trying to write a contemporary story about a girl finding her grandfather’s letters, which were written while walking (yes walking, no typo!) from Greece to Germany during WWII. The details are based on stories my mother told me about my grandpa. It’s quite a challenge.
3. How did you come up with the idea of Innocent Tears?
“Innocent Tears” evolved out of many different ideas. The main one, though, was when I went to Europe a few years back. My husband and my girls returned to Australia a week earlier while I went to Dublin for some “research”. He did a marvellous job, being “house husband” for a week, but between the lines I did hear from my daughters that “the routine” was out of whack. It got me thinking how it would be for a man to suddenly have to take on a parent role, and vice versa, how children would feel losing one parent. This is how I came up with “Innocent Tears”.
4. How do you come up with your characters’ names?
I assume I’m supposed to write something really fancy here, like the meaning of names or relevance. But basically, I see a name on telly, or hear it in a conversation, and if I can still remember it a few days later, I write it down. If one of my characters “fit” the name, I use it. I have to admit, though, I quite often tend to look for Irish names - it’s just one of my “traits”.
No expectations of fancy answers, Iris! I’ve searched end credits of movies for interesting names a couple of times.
5. Who would you cast for a movie/TV series as your main characters if given the chance?
My first book “Sweet Dreams, Miss England” was never intended for publishing, so I based some of the characters on “guys I fancied” at the time: Luke Goss (whose web-site I co-administered at the time) and Nicky Byrne. So their names come to mind straight away. But in all honesty, I’d be too stoked to care. I would just relish the fact that someone in the movie business is interested in my books J
6. What is your favourite holiday?
Tricky one – I’ve just returned from the US so obviously it’s the first holiday that comes to mind. But there have been many, many great holidays. Going “home” to Germany is a treat every time. My weekend in Dublin was special. Every caravan holiday with my family is full of fun and adventure. So the bottom line is, we make the best of our holidays and each has been special and unique.
7. Do you read reviews of your books? What do you do when you read a not-so-nice one?
Yes I do.
I read the good ones, as well as the bad ones and I try to learn from both of them. I do make the mistake and get wound up by a negative review, but more so when I have the impression that the reader misunderstood the story. However, I am aware that we all have different tastes and from a personal point of view I’d have to admit I’ve read many books that had great reviews whereas I scratched my head thinking “really?” It’s part and parcel of this business. I try to avoid the “nasty” and “jealous” ones though.
8. How many times were you turned down before you finally got published?
I honestly wouldn’t know. I self-published “Sweet Dreams, Miss England” as it was only intended for family and friends. It kind of took off really well though. I obviously received quite a few rejections before I found a ‘home’ with my current publisher, Astraea Press. The team worked beyond expectations to eradicate all the grammar issues a non-English writer has.
Would love to hear more of the obstacles you've faced as a non-English writer and how you’ve overcome them. Possibility for another post, Iris!
9. Who is your literary hero?
Jill Shalvis! Without a doubt. She writes with wit, humour and I love her stories.
10. If you could meet anyone, alive or dead, and spend an hour with them, who and why?
Love this question - the answer somehow changes every month. I can’t say there’s that one person I really admire or want to spend time with, but if I could invite a few for dinner, Dame Edna, Billy Connolly, Dawn French, Angela Lansbury and my publishing team would certainly be on the list.
11. What is your favourite book of all time that you can reread a hundred times, and it still feels like the first time?
“If you could see me now” by Cecelia Ahern. I love her stories, but this is my all-time favourite, which I have read and re-read and read again – and it still gives me goose-bumps.
12. What do you need to set the mood for you to write?
Absolute and utter silence – and no distractions. So I usually write very late at night - a big concession for someone like me who likes sleeping more than most other things in life ;-)
13. If there is one genre that you have not written in yet, but would love to try writing a book in that specific genre, what would it be?
I’d love to be able to write Mystery as I love reading the genre. I tried a couple of times but have given up. Friends read it and knew on page three the “whodunit”. Frustrating! LOL
14. If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be? And why?
I love Daniel, my character in “Sweet Dreams, Miss England”. If I could I would love to have him in every story: a charmer, good looking, fun-lover and, above all, he’s Irish!
Whitney KE – where are you now? Here’s another Irish charmer for you!
15. What are you working on now?
I’ve just contracted my story set in Hobart “New Beginnings” which is about twenty-something-year-old Sophie Levesque and her eight-year-old sister Mia, who inherit a small house but have no idea who the testator is. I suppose that edits will arrive soon, so until then, I’m working on the sequel “More Beginnings”.
16. Would you like to share an excerpt from your writing or a photo or music link that inspires you?
This is one of my favourite scene from “Innocent Tears”
He dipped his head and shook it regretfully. “Yes, Mum, I’m still here.” He paused for a moment and then continued. ”Sarah’s parents came for a visit.”
The surprise was obvious by the moment of quiet. “Teresa and William?” she asked in disbelief, her voice an octave higher than usual.
His hand was holding the bottle of beer next to him like his life depended on it. “Mum, I’ve got a young daughter.”
“Flynn, have you been drinking?”
“Mum, I’m serious as serious could be. Remember Sarah not wanting to live in Melbourne, and then saying she had someone else in her life?”
He heard her sigh. “How can I forget? I don’t think I’d ever seen you so upset and depressed.”
“Well…” He took a deep breath. “That someone was a baby. I’ve got a little girl, Mum.”
More silence. His mouth curved into a grin when he heard his mother whisper to his father, “Get me a stiff drink, Carl. We’ve just become grandparents.”
She lifted her hand off the receiver and rattled out questions. “How old is she? What’s her name?”
The grin disappeared and he rubbed his face. “Six, and Nadine,” he murmured.
Jenny screamed into the phone. “Si-i-i-ix?”
Flynn almost dropped the bottle. “Good grief, Mum. Keep it down.”
He heard her sipping her drink – whatever it was. “How am I supposed to keep it down? Flynn, why on earth… why the… Teresa and William… and where’s Sarah–“
“Jenny Rose McCormack.”
She sighed. “Yes?”
“Ask Dad for a glass of water.”
“Oh my goodness gracious, Flynn.” He heard her holding her hand over the phone. “Carl, he says I need a glass of water.”
Flynn shook his head. Carl wanted to talk to his son as well – of course, because so far he was just serving her with drinks and listening to outbursts of disbelief and questions. “Not now… in a minute… It’s my turn”
“Your father is a bit of a pain here.”
“Mum?” he said more firmly.
“Yes?” she replied flustered.
“Saz died just after Christmas last year.”
“Flynn? It’s your dad here. What just happened? Your mother is pale as a ghost.”
“Hi, Dad.” Flynn felt his stomach turning upside-down. This was more like a comedy than him trying to tell his parents about his last forty-eight hours. “Dad? I’m a Dad as well. Sarah died last Christmas. Teresa and William have been in Melbourne, and in Teresa’s subtle and gentle way, she told me about the young daughter I have. Nadine’s her name, and they want me to take over custody and look after her.”
“Son? That’s a lot to take in. How are you going?”
Flynn rubbed his temple with the heel of his hands. How he was going? How was he going?
Iris Blobel’s bio:
Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she actually had met her future husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only recently emerged, but now her laptop is a constant companion. Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as her dog. Next to her job at a private school she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio
Where you can find Iris online:
Official Blog: http://www.iris-b.blogspot.com