I’ve always loved reading and when I was a child I used to write stories for my younger sisters as a bribe to make them do my share of the housework. It usually worked!
Ireland is famed for its writers, but for me growing up most of the novels were rural in both their settings and their points of view. I wanted to read books about people like me, who lived in the city and struggled with the chaotic bus timetable and had dreams and ambitions that had nothing to do with the farm. I also wanted to read novels in which the women were the heroes of their own stories and not simply there because they were someone’s wife, mother or daughter.
Although I was constantly writing, the idea of being a novelist was a bit of a pipe dream. I had to earn a living and so I got a job in finance. It was the complete opposite of anything I’d ever expected to do but - at least for a time - I enjoyed it and I did well.
But the dream wouldn’t go away and in my thirties I decided that I would make a real effort to write my novel. Eventually, after a couple of false starts, Dreaming of A Stranger was written and published and became an Irish bestseller.
Since then I’ve written more than 20 novels as well as 3 collections of short stories and 2 novels for children all of which have been bestsellers both in Ireland and overseas.
Regardless of who my reader might be I always try to do three things when I’m writing:
Tell a good story
Make the reader feel like they know the characters
Make each book better than the last
I’ve been very lucky in having so many books published and hearing from readers all around the world. And I’m glad that, when times were tough, I remembered the quote that ‘a professional writer is an amateur who wouldn’t quit”
Agent: Isobel Dixon
Biography: Ex-bond dealer and financial journalist whose novels have all been immediate No 1 Irish bestsellers. Her books have been described 'as necessary to women as chocolate, and just as addictive!' Headline have over 7 million copies of her books in print. She was the recipient of the prestigious Irish Tatler Literary Woman of the Year award in 2003.
‘It’s written from the heart and, as usual, Sheila O’Flanagan leaves you eager to know about the characters at every turn of a page.’ -- Essentials
'O'Flanagan has unleashed a fire-breathing specimen straight out of the age of Germaine Greer... O'Flanagan's latest offering deserves its place on the bestseller list - it entertains, surprises and provokes.' -- The Independent, Ireland
'Romantic and charming, this is a real must-read.’-- Closer magazine
‘A story that delivers on so many levels and which will never stop surprising you.’ -- The Northern Echo
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