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The LitVox Author Interview: Fiona Scarlett
Fiona Scarlett’s debut novel Boys Don’t Cry was published back in April to pretty much universal acclaim. Usually, universal acclaim should be distrusted. When critics and book reviewers are falling over each other to heap praise on a novel, particularly a debut, something is usually a little fishy. Nearly always, there is a little critical fear of being the only disagreeable voice amidst the clamour. One of the great things about working for LitVox is hearing feedback from the books we recommend to customers. The feedback from this beautiful novel has been 100% positive. It turns out that this book is one of those rare things; a novel that pretty much everyone loves.
Five months on from it’s release, Fiona Scarlett speaks to LitVox about the impact of her debut novel, her favourite authors, and what she’s planning next.
Boys Don’t Cry was published earlier this year to critical and public acclaim. Are you happy to put your feet up for a little while and enjoy the feedback or are you eager to get writing again?
I went back to writing pretty much straight away, it has helped me stay grounded, I think. I’m not someone who writes every day, so I definitely enjoyed breaks for Netflix binges and the likes in between too.
Boys Don’t Cry is a novel that has Dublin written deep into its seams. Is there an author or novelist who writes about Dublin that really inspired you?
Oh, yes, the master of that is Roddy Doyle. He is such a massive influence on me, the way he weaves humour into the darkest of places and how he captures the essence of Dublin right there on the page. Just phenomenal.
What are you currently reading? Is It any good?
I’m currently reading a proof copy of Lucy Caldwell’s new novel These Days about two sisters during the Belfast Blitz. It’s out in March 2022 and utterly beautiful. Also going to give a shout out to Luke Cassidy’s Iron Annie which is out now, it’s absolutely incredible, full of everything I love in a book, and would urge everyone to get themselves a copy.
Is there a book you always recommend to people? Why?
Tin Man by Sarah Winman. It is probably one of my favourite books of all time, just a really gorgeous and true piece of storytelling.
What was your favourite book as a child?
I’ve a few. My first love was The Twits by Roald Dahl, I still have my battered copy, I thought it was so funny, and devoured everything he wrote after that. The other main one would be The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. For years after reading, I’d go into my wardrobe every morning and be convinced that was the time it would take me to Narnia.
What’s the most important thing you need to write well?
Trusting your gut and writing for yourself, not for a trend, or to get published, or any of those things, and persistence is key, just keep chipping away, little by little, you only need one yes.
Was there ever a movie that was better than the book? Or anything that even came close?
I’m not sure I’d say better, but I adored the book Room by Emma Donoghue, and I adored the film equally, and I think they both complement each other. You get more of an insight into the Mam for example in the film, so through both, you can really see the full of her.
Where do you write?
Literally anywhere and everywhere. I have a lovely writing desk in the bedroom, the only place in the house where it would fit, or where I might get a little bit of peace and quiet, but truth be told it’s rarely used, the couch or the bed is far more comfortable.
What are you currently working on? Or is it a secret?
I’m currently working away on book 2. It’s not a sequel, but deals with similar characters and themes, and of course set in my beloved Dublin. I’m hoping that I’ll have a bit more news to share about it soon.
If you haven’t read Boys Don’t Cry by Fiona Scarlett yet, you can right that terrible wrong by getting a copy from LitVox.