16.05.19 / Orion Books / Contemporary Fiction / Paperback / 400pp / 978-1409183341
About Ann O’Loughlin
A leading journalist in Ireland for nearly thirty years, Ann O’Loughlin has covered all major news events of the last three decades. Ann spent most of her career with independent newspapers where she was Security Correspondent at the height of The Troubles, and was a senior journalist on the Irish Independent and Evening Herald. She is currently a senior journalist with the Irish Examiner newspaper covering legal issues. Ann has also lived and worked in India. Originally from the west of Ireland she now lives on the east coast in Co. Wicklow with her husband and two children. Her debut novel The Ballroom Café was a bestseller, with over 250,000 copies sold in eBook. Her second novel The Judge’s Wife was an Irish bestseller for 5 weeks and was shortlisted for a Romantic Novel Award (RoNA) in February 2017. (Bio from Black & White Publishing)
About My Mother’s Daughter
County Wicklow, Ireland. Margo has just lost her husband Conor and is grieving his passing, unsure how she and her daughter Elsa will survive without him. Then she receives a letter that turns everything she thought she knew on its head. Not only has she lost her husband, but now Margo fears she could lose her daughter as well.
Ohio, United States. Cassie has just split from her husband acrimoniously. Upset and alone she does not know how to move forward. Then her ex-husband demands a paternity test for their daughter Tilly and sorrow turns to anger as Cassie faces the frightening possibility of losing her daughter.
A powerful, moving stories of family, resilience and compassion, and how women support each other through the most difficult times, My Mother’s Daughter takes the issues closest to our hearts and makes us ask ourselves the most difficult questions – what would we do in Margo and Cassie’s place?
An addictive and heartwarming new novel from the bestselling author of The Ludlow Ladies’ Society, The Judge’s Wife and The Ballroom Café
Q&A with Ann O’Loughlin
Thank you, Ann, for taking some time to answer a few questions about your latest novel, My Mother’s Daughter. Could you give us your own personal overview of what readers should expect within the book?
This is the story of two women, two mothers and their daughters and an impossible situation they must navigate. Readers have already told me it brings them on a roller coaster and I hope that is the case. There is a big emotional issue tackled in the novel, so expect tears, but there are beautiful tender moments as well, between both mothers and their daughters. There are also some laugh out loud moments and between it all, I hope the reader can follow the journey of both mothers as they come to terms with the biggest challenge of their lives and try to find a way of solving the problem which is not of their making. Readers have said to me there is always a big old house in Ireland in my books and that is the case in My Mother’s Daughter. The weather too plays a big part in my books, reflecting the mood of the characters.
My Mother’s Daughter takes on some difficult and emotional paths in life. Where does your inspiration for a novel such as this come from?
At the heart of My Mother’s Daughter is a story about two children switched at birth and the struggle of their mothers to come to terms with this, all these years later. It asks the question what would you do if the baby you had created, the child you had named and raised was not yours at all, but an imposter who had hung his or
her hat on the hook and climbed in to your heart. Where would your loyalty lie, to the child who had your family name or the child who was robbed of it?
It was exactly this dilemma that intrigued me and a case in France was the inspiration behind the novel and set me off on this quest to answer, whether nurture or nature prevails. This is the story of two women, their daughters, their families and their lives and how they overcome the terrible wrong inflicted on them in the past.
Why is now the right time for a novel like My Mother’s Daughter?
Now is a good time for women’s fiction. Here is a story of two women, ordinary like the rest of us, but they are made extraordinary by the circumstances in which they find themselves. Often it is said that women’s fiction doesn’t tackle the serious issues. I disagree. All my books have a major issue at the heart and this my fourth novel, My Mother’s Daughter is no different in that respect.
Can you give us a few more insights into what Margo and Cassie face during the course of the narrative?
I don’t want to give the plot away, but both face a life changing dilemma, which directly impacts on the final decision they must make. They are pulled emotionally between the child each has raised for the last ten years and the child each has created. This novel is about two mothers coming together to solve the great problem not of their making and the reader is invited on the journey which has many twists and turns.
What was the most challenging parts of writing about a custody disputes, divorce, grief, heartache and the thought of potentially losing a child?
The most challenging part was trying to get across the sadness, the loss and grief felt by each mother. Sometimes I cried when writing certain passages. I don’t know what I would have done in their place. The real challenge was to balance all that with humour other stories that did not slow the pace of the book, but added that light relief when necessary!
How do you expect readers to react to an emotionally challenging novel like My Mother’s Daughter?
My readers expect a well written good cracker of a story that will surely make them laugh and cry. If My Mother’s Daughter does that, I will be more than happy. I think when the reader closes this novel at the end, the twist will remain and I hope to lead to further discussion. This is definitely one for a book club.
How long did it take you to write My Mother’s Daughter compared to your other novels?
Every novel takes about the same time. There is a lot of thinking , the characters rattling around my head all rearing to go. There is a lot of research and an awful lot of musing on scenes. Then it is time to sit down and write. Everything from start to finish, including edits takes about a year.
Is there a part of the book that you are particularly proud of? Do you have a favourite quote you can share with us?
I am proud of all of the novel but my favourite lines are the opening lines..
Hours passed. Margo sat in her favourite wing back velvet armchair by the window. The rain sheeted down outside, the water creating its own symphony on the galvanised roof of the big shed out the back. Wind squealed around the house, whipping in from the sea, across the fields, hitting against the building, driving the worst of the weather against the glass panes, whistling between the loose bits of wood at the top of the bay window, a loud gatecrasher into her thoughts.
Her body was stiff, her mind racing; in her hand a letter. She did not need to read it, she knew every line off by heart. Margo scrunched the letter in to a tight ball, letting it roll over the palm of her hand, dropping to the floor. Decisions made in the dark may never last, but she had no choice. Her daughter was sleeping, her husband dead.
Did you always have your eye set on being a writer/author and what sort of books did you grow up reading?
I grew up in a house of books. I always wanted to be a writer and when I was young, I was forever reading and writing.
I read everything, absolutely loved Jane Austen and the Irish writer Jennifer Johnston. I still go back to these two authors and revisit my favourite passages and chapters.
Have you got a hobby/activity you do to wind down from all the writing?
You should see my garden. I love flowers, the full cottage garden look. When I step out in to my garden, I forget everything else. Often when I have a problem with the plot or the characters are misbehaving , I go out and dig it all away. Almost as if by magic when I sit down at my office desk and computer again, all the problems are solved and my garden looks glorious too!
Finally, have you read a book/article recently that you would personally recommend to the readers of this post?
I have re-read Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres. I loved it when it came out years ago and I love it even more now.
I am not surprised that the Greek island of Cephallonia had an increase in tourism after its publication and the movie release. It is such a wonderful love story. Set in the early days of World War 2 – a beautiful local woman whose fisherman boyfriend departs to fight with the Greek army falls in love with Captain Antonio Corelli in command of the Italian garrison occupying the Greek island. The movie did not do the book justice. I loved in particular the historical detail; this a book that made me laugh and cry.
Thank you Ann for taking us through some great insights into My Mother’s Daughter. I do appreciate novels that expand my view on the world and My Mother’s Daughter definitely sounds like such a book. I completely agree that now is the right time for women’s fiction and I have been inundated with exceptional reads from fantastic authors throughout my time as a reader and blogger. I wish Ann the greatest success with her new novel and please make sure you visit the other great blogs on this tour for reviews and more content. Thank you to Alex at Orion for the spot on the tour.