Gazing out at my apple tree

Sheila O’Flanagan was Ierlands eerste  vrouwelijke effectenmakelaar. Nu is zij herhaaldelijk te vinden in de bovenste regionen van de internationale bestsellerlijsten. Haar romans worden in meer dan vijftien landen uitgegeven. Onlangs verscheen haar nieuwste chicklit in Nederland: De perfecte man. Ter ere van haar nieuwe boek, bracht Sheila een bezoek aan en schreef de volgende column.... 

Hello from Dublin where (today at least) the sun is shining and the birds are singing in the trees. I’m very lucky to work in a room in my house which overlooks the garden. I love gazing out at my apple tree, especially when the pink flowers appear. It’s so graceful and pretty and it always helps me to think.
I spend a lot of time thinking. It’s hard for me to persuade my family and friends that staring out of the window at an apple tree is work, but it is (well, most of the time). Sometimes, when I’m getting confused about the plot of whatever book I’m writing, I walk around the garden, pretending to be the different characters. (This is the point at which the neighbours think I’m a little bit crazy. They might be right!)
One of my favourite parts of wrting books is having to do the research. Thanks to my characters, I’ve been in the control tower of an airport, gone on an archaeological dig, and been locked in a prison cell (those experiences were for Too Good to Be True, Someone Special and Yours Faithfully).
Travel is another part of the research I need to do to make all my books as real as possible. I’m lucky because I enjoy travelling and over the last few years have been to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, meeting readers and booksellers. Wherever I go, I always take lots of photographs and make lots of notes so that any places I use in books are described accurately. Last year I went to California to learn about the feminist movement there in the 1980''s. This was research for the book I’m currently writing, which is called All For You and will be published this year in Ireland and the UK. Hopefully you’ll see it in The Netherlands soon too.
Actually this year is really busy for me because I’ll have three different books published in English (Stand By Me, All For You and A Season to Remember). There are new publications in Dutch too which I’m really happy about because I have lots of lovely Dutch readers. So I hope you’ll enjoy one of my latest books, A Perfect Man, as well as the omnibus edition of Caroline’s Sister and Yours Faithfully.
The Perfect Man takes place partly on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, partly in Ireland and partly in Spain, so there are lots of great locations, all of which I had to visit. That includes Curacao in the Dutch Antilles which is a really interesting place - a miniature version of The Netherlands with wonderfully warm tropical breezes! The Perfect Man is the only book I’ve written in which one of the characters is also a writer. I’m often asked if any of the characters in my books are based on me and the answer is always no. In this case Britt (the writer) is a very different person, and far more glamorous. But, like me, she is always hoping that people will like what she’s written. I get great feedback from my readers on my books, and luckily most of you like them!
This year, as well as working on All For You, I’ve been involved in a number of projects helping adults who’ve had literacy problems. I contributed a book called Follow Me to the Quick Reads series in the UK. Then I took part in an Irish TV programme in which I helped a lovely woman who had previously struggled with reading and writing to write her own story. It was fantastic when she finally finished it and I was really proud of her! So it’s been a busy time for me despite all the looking out of the window! But I like keeping busy. And in the end I love when a book is finally published and I finally get to see it in the hands of a real reader.

Sheila O’Flanagan 

De perfecte man

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    Een luxe cruise naar de Cariben. Warme, tropische dagen, heerlijke zwoele nachten. Maar de Ierse zussen Britt en Mia stappen niet als toerist aan boord van de Aphrodite. Britt gaat workshops geven over haar bestseller De perfecte man en wordt geacht een ware liefdesexpert te zijn. Haar zus Mia, die meegaat als assistent, is nog steeds verliefd op haar oude vlam en is zich nauwelijks van andere mannen bewust. Zal de exotische magie van de Cariben ook voor de nuchtere Britt en de dromerige Mia haar werk doen? Blijft het bij een onschuldige flirt of durven beide vrouwen alles te riskeren en een nieuwe toekomst te omarmen?

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