Writer’s Block With Edel Coffey In Her Place - The Gloss Magazine
Edel Coffey In Her Place

Writer’s Block With Edel Coffey

Edel Coffey has just published her second novel, In Her Place. Here she tells us about her home life in Galway, favourite bookshops and why writing novels is a dream come true …

Edel Coffey is an Irish journalist and broadcaster. She has worked as a journalist and editor with the Sunday Tribune and The Irish Independent, and as a presenter and reporter with RTÉ Radio One. She is a regular contributor to The Irish Times, a weekly columnist with the Irish Examiner and Books Editor of The Gloss Magazine. Her debut novel Breaking Point won the An Post Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction Book Of The Year and was a number one bestseller in Ireland. In Her Place is her second novel.

ON HOME Home has become a fluid thing for me over the last decade. I was born and raised in Dublin, where I lived for most of my life. When I had my first child eight years ago, I moved to Galway. The way of life here is very different to Dublin and it took me a long time to settle in and to make new friends (making friends as an adult is really tough!) but I love living in Galway now. I especially appreciate the differences between the two cities. I feel like I have the best of both worlds now. I love the bustle and pace of Dublin, but once I cross the Shannon on my way back to Galway I feel a sense of seclusion and retreat which is very calming.

ON FAMILY I have one older brother who is married with two children and they live in Dublin. We get on great but I don’t get to see him as much as I would like to because we live on opposite sides of the country. I really enjoy the flexibility of family as I’ve come to know it over the past decade. My mother died four years ago, but I now have a wonderful new person in my life through my dad’s partner, Ann, who is so kind and caring to me and my children. It feels like I’ve gained a second mother. I also have two step-sons who I love dearly. I’ve learned that family runs so much deeper than just blood.

ON ROOTS My mum was from Deansgrange and my dad is from Dun Laoghaire so I feel very rooted in that part of Dublin. Most of my extended family still live in and around that area and I have a huge emotional connection to walking the pier, having an ice-cream from Teddy’s, strolling around the People’s Park and the Carnegie library, as these are the weekly habits of my childhood.

ON MY DESK I love a clean, spartan desk with just a notebook and laptop but I rarely have it. I bought a big white desktop from Ikea which is two metres long and that gives me enough room to spread out with my notebooks, diary, monthly planner and whatever books I am reviewing or working on that week. There are two pillars of drawers beneath the desk to contain my stationery addiction, and you’ll also usually find one of my three cats asleep underneath the desk.

ON WRITING I don’t remember a time when I didn’t write. I kept diaries and notebooks from a very young age. For me writing has always been a way of interpreting the world. If I’m confused about something, upset about something, excited about something, my first urge is to write about it. I studied journalism as a way of facilitating a career that would allow me to write but the dream was always to write novels so I’m very grateful to be able to do that now.

ON SUCCESS My idea of success changes all the time but at the moment it is to be able to keep writing and publishing novels and hopefully finding an audience for them. On a personal level, success is all about balance. A week where I have enough time to hang out with my children and husband, finish all my work, bake something sweet and watch the clouds go by makes me very happy.

ON BOOKSHOPS Galway is well-served with bookshops. The famous Charlie Byrne’s is a regular haunt of mine and I never leave without buying something enticing and unusual from the enormous second-hand section. On the main street, Eason’s and Dubray are where I spend most Saturdays with my children, and when I go to Connemara I cannot pass The Clifden Bookshop. Hodges Figgis will always be my favourite as it’s the place I went as a child and as a student to dream about writing books, so it’s a big thrill to launch my novel there.

In Her Place by Edel Coffey is published by Sphere. Available now at Easons, Kennys.ie and all good bookshops nationwide. 


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