Writer’s Block with Moira Fowley-Doyle

In our new books series, MOIRA FOWLEY-DOYLE tells Sophie Grenham about summers in Paris, perusing the shelves of Dublin’s SECOND HAND BOOK SHOPS, and why the peace of Mayo allows her to write…

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Newcomer Moïra Fowley-Doyle has been writing since she was a small child, including a story about spiders, so she would no longer be fearful of them. Given this, it comes as no surprise that her much-anticipated debut novel The Accident Season has set the increasingly popular Young Adult genre alight. Her dreamy prose has captured the hearts of literary bloggers and been reported upon by a number of respected publications on both sides of the Atlantic since its release this summer. Moira currently lives in Santry with her husband and two young daughters.

On being a woman of many neighbourhoods

I grew up in Clontarf, with pit-stops in the 15th arrondissement in Paris and summers spent with my grandparents in a village beside Mont de Marsan in the South of France.

On her creative space

I work wherever I am, which is usually cross-legged on the couch. I am not nearly organised enough to have a workspace. However, since all I really need is my laptop, my notebook and a cup of tea, perhaps it stands to me that I can work anywhere.

On peace and quiet

I do a lot of writing in my parents’ house in Co. Mayo, in a house beside the forest on the shores of Lough Mask. Which is in part why The Accident Season is set there. There’s no Wifi and mobile data doesn’t always work either, so whether it’s writing long-hand in windswept notebooks or typing by the stove to the sound of the rain, it’s a lovely place to brew up some wild words.

On her favourite bookshops

Charlie Byrne’s bookshop in Galway and I’m a little in love with Rare and Recent Books in Cong, Co. Mayo. In Dublin I buy a lot of books in Chapters because I like a mix of new and pre-loved books, with labyrinthine corridors made of bookshelves that go on for so long your phone loses signal by the time you get to the kids’ section.

On Young Adult fiction’s rising popularity

YA has always fascinated me. What a lot of it comes down to is looking for meaning and belonging and how to be a person in this messed up world, which is something that fits so perfectly with adolescence – but not just with teenagers. Whatever the age of the characters or intended readers, these are clearly universal themes.

Image by Eoin Rafferty at Dublin’s Botanical Gardens 

The Accident Season (€10.99) is published by Random House and is available in bookshops nationwide

Sophie Grenham