Cat Hogan was inspired by the boys’ club of great Wexford writers to become a novelist. Her debut novel ‘They All Fall Down’ was recently published and with a second nearing completion we caught up with her to chat all things books!
Q: How did you come up with the idea for ‘They All Fall Down?
The idea for the book for me came from the characters. I wanted the book set near the sea so the location came first, followed by the people. It was all about the characters and how they would react in a given situation. Two characters became six and as the heat was turned up, it was interesting to see how they reacted. As I was writing the novel all of the characters became very real. They dictated to me how the story would unfold. I never thought when I began writing I would write such a dark story. I thought I would be lighter and perhaps funny- my subconscious had other plans! Once I got my head around that and stopped censoring myself, the story came together.
Q: You’ve spoken of your life long love for reading, and how writing only came much later, do you have any advice for aspiring writers who have a story to tell but haven’t taken the plunge?
I think everyone is unique in how they approach a daunting project, but the one thing we all have in common is that niggling little voice in our heads. The voice that tries to talk us out of everything- my first piece of advice would be to tell that little demon to shut up! Then- go home, sit down and open a document on the laptop or pull out a notebook- Chapter one should be the title. Write a couple of paragraphs. You have just started your first novel. ‘I want to write’ becomes ‘I am writing’. Do a little bit of research and avail of the resources out there like writing.ie. Get in touch with other writers and chat to them- we all love to talk. I’m on twitter @kittycathogan – come find me. Choose your audience wisely- not everyone will get your burning desire… tell the people who will encourage you and don’t listen to the negative ones. Finally, go out right now and buy a copy of ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King. I bought my copy a couple of weeks ago- how I wish I had bought it years ago!
Q: A tour of the lighthouses of Ireland is on the cards while you complete your second novel, if our readers were to visit just one, which would you recommend?
Fanad Head lighthouse has been voted as one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world- it’s magical. Roie in Clare Island is a wonderful host so I would check that one out too. Hook Head holds a special place in my heart for obvious reasons- I can’t choose just one!! The Great Lighthouses of Ireland have a beautiful website with all their lighthouses listed. Check it out.
Q: What was the last book that you couldn’t put down?
The last one I couldn’t put down was Stephen King’s On Writing. Fiction wise, it was ‘Into the Woods’ by Tana French. I have just bought ‘Lying in Wait’ by Liz Nugent and I’ve no doubt this will be an amazing read. She’s gifted.
Q: If you could only bring one book onto a desert island, what would it be and why?
It would have to be a huge book full of blank pages. Where better to write the Pulitzer than on a desert island away from my boys and the internet?
Q: Who would be in your dream book club?
This is a hard question!!
All the Wexford writers would have to be there of course- they count as one person if they come in the same car! Stephen King for sure, William Shakespeare, Roald Dahl, my mother- you will never meet a more voracious reader, my partner Dave- I think I fell in love with the bookworm in him, as well as his amazing musical talent. On the subject of music- Tom Waits would have to be there as well. Oh, and of course the lovely Rick O Shea and all the gang in the FB book club. I think that would cover all bases.