Martine McDonagh

NK Chats To…Martine McDonagh

Martine McDonagh SQUARE ©CHRIS ISON_WEST DEAN COLLEGEHi Martine. I am so pleased to be welcoming you to Novel Kicks today. Would you tell us a little about your book, Narcissism for Beginners and how the idea originated?

Hi Laura. Some years ago I became fascinated by extremely narcissistic characters and their modus operandi, particularly those who set themselves up as gurus and ‘spiritual’ leaders, and wanted to explore the effect they have on those people closest to them.

 

What’s your favourite word and why? 

Ubiquitous. Hard to say why, it’s just a really satisfying word to say. There are very few words with that qu sound in the middle preceded and followed by the i sound, so maybe that’s it. Also, it makes you sound clever.

 

What’s your typical writing day like – do you have any writing rituals etc?

Unfortunately there’s no such thing as a typical writing day as my job takes up most of my time and I rarely stay in one place for longer than a week, so at the moment writing has to be done whenever and wherever I can fit it in. There’s always tea though, that’s a given, and sometimes coffee made with cream.

 

Did you plan much prior to writing your novel? Do you think it’s better to wait for a complete first draft before editing?

This novel has seven different narrative voices so I needed to do some planning to make sure I didn’t get into a complete muddle. I know not everyone does, but I always write a first draft in longhand from start to finish before I do any rewriting. I think it takes at least one draft to work out which story I actually want to tell.

 

What’s the best and most challenging thing about being a writer? 

Well, the best and the most challenging are definitely not one and the same. The worst is trying to balance being a writer with earning a living; writing always seems to lose that particular fight in my experience.

But the best aspects of writing are almost endless. Writing presents an opportunity to always be learning something new, in terms of skill and technique of course, but also when it comes to researching new ideas and subjects you never even knew you were interested in. I love the start of a new project when you’re like a kitten chasing after balls of wool rolling off in all directions.

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