Three days before leaving Ireland on the adventure of a lifetime, Fiona Byrne returns to her small Irish hometown to attend the family wedding from hell. When she discovers the drunken vows she exchanged with the groom during a wild Las Vegas trip eight years previously mean they’re legally married, her future plans ricochet out of control. Can she untangle herself from the man who broke her heart so long ago? Does she even want to?
…True Love in Ballybeg.
Gavin Maguire’s life is low on drama, high on stability, and free of pets. But Gavin hadn’t reckoned on Fiona blasting back into his life and crashing his wedding. In the space of twenty-four hours, he loses a fiancée and a job, and gains a wife and a labradoodle. Can he salvage his bland-but-stable life? More importantly, can he resist losing his heart to Fiona all over again?
I was born and grew up in Dublin. My grandparents lived in Kerry and I also have family in Cork. Irish school summer holidays are long—two months for primary schools and three months for secondary schools. Each summer, I was shipped off to spend the holidays with relatives, and a couple of those towns influenced the geography of Ballybeg, the fictional town where my Irish contemporary romances are set.
You now live in Switzerland. How did that happen?
After finishing university, I wanted to spend a year or two in a foreign country and learn a new-to-me language. Norway was at the top of my list but the living costs were insane. I’d spent a summer at Düsseldorf two years previously and had kept up my German with classes in Dublin. When I won a scholarship to do a summer course at the Goethe-Institut in Freiburg im Breisgau, I jumped at the opportunity. I had a couple of friends from Freiburg who’d spent a student exchange year at my university, so I had people to meet up with. By the end of the summer, I’d found a job and a boyfriend and decided to stay. I originally planned to live there for a year or two but it turned out to be six!
I moved to Switzerland eight years ago. Long story short, my now husband is Swiss. The commute from Freiburg to Basel was quick enough for us to see each other regularly, but when we decided to get married, one or the other of us had to move. Due to the tax situation in the respective countries, Switzerland made the most sense. While I adore Switzerland, I would love to move back to Ireland someday. Unfortunately, the economic and employment situation is still pretty grim, so I don’t think it’ll happen anytime soon.
When did you start writing?
I’ve been writing off and on for as long as I can remember. I started writing seriously during NaNoWriMo 2009. For anyone not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it’s an online writing marathon held every November. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. One of my issues prior to taking part in NaNo was not finishing stories. I was the Queen of the First Three Chapters, forever revising and polishing pages, only to abandon them in a fit of frustration. NaNo got me into a daily writing routine. Not being allowed to edit anything written on the previous day forced me to push through to the end of the story. By 30 November, I had a 65,000-word story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Since then, I’ve written five novels and three novellas.
Where do you get your ideas?
I wish I had a clever answer for this one! Story ideas come to me all the time. Newspaper articles; real life tales I’m told or overhear; a book I’d like to have ended differently; films; TV series; personal experiences. I tend to write down ideas as they occur to me and let them percolate for a while. Then I sit down with a pen and notebook and brainstorm plots and characters until I hit upon the perfect combo.
Can you tell us about the Ballybeg series?
It’s a series of loosely connected contemporary romances set in the same coastal Irish town. I say, “loosely connected” because while there are recurring characters in all the stories, each book focuses on a different hero and heroine—HEAs guaranteed!
Love and Shenanigans is the first Ballybeg story. It’s a sweet romantic comedy about a couple who discover that the drunken vows they exchanged in Las Vegas eight years previously are legally binding. The book features a crashed wedding, a labradoodle with attitude, and love and laughter, Irish-style. 😀
What are you working on now?
I’m finishing Love and Leprechauns, the third Ballybeg book. It’s due out in November. Once I send it to my editor in a few days time, I need to revise and proof Love and Blarney, a Ballybeg novella that’s scheduled for release in August/September.