Today, I’m very lucky to be hosting an interview with Nicola Moriarty, in celebration of the release of her debut novel, Free-Falling, the story of two women dealing with the loss of their son and fiancé.
Your depiction of grief in Free-Falling was so real as to be quite difficult to read at times. Did you find that the writing of such an emotional novel took a toll on you at all?
I actually experienced the opposite effect. Rather than the exploration of grief taking its toll on me, it actually proved to be quite a cathartic experience, a wonderful emotional outlet. I found in particular that if I was feeling down or upset about something, I would take it as an opportunity and sit down and write while I was in that head-space. I often found that afterwards I felt much better for having released some of my feelings onto the page!
The dual leads in Free-Falling allow you to explore grief from two different perspectives. Was this your plan from the beginning, or did one of your characters take on a greater role during the writing process?
My original intention was to write only from Belinda’s point of view. But when I finished the first chapter, I felt the need to leave her be for the moment and the natural choice then was to start the day over from someone else’s perspective. Then, as I continued to develop Evelyn, the more I grew to like her and the more important she became to me and to the story.
You are the third Moriarty sister to make it into print. Was yours a particularly creative upbringing?
I don’t know that our upbringing was particularly creative, however, our parents have always been wonderful when it comes to supporting our interests. I always loved art, acting and writing – basically anything creative. Although then again, we did used to have ‘family assemblies’ (when we were very young) where we were encouraged to do something creative – sing a song, dance, act something out – so perhaps it was a rather creative upbringing!
What is your writing process like? Has it changed at all over the years?
My writing process has definitely changed now that I have deadlines to meet! Previously I wrote only when I felt like it (and sometimes would leave my writing for months at a time). Now I make sure I get out of the house three days a week (when my children are at childcare) and go somewhere specifically to write – if I stay at home, I get distractedly too easily by other things that need to be done. However, when it comes to the actual writing, I guess that hasn’t changed much. I still prefer to just start writing and see where my characters lead me. I will do some planning – but I prefer to stay flexible and go with what feels right at the time, rather than stick to a rigid plan, that way, the writing can sometimes surprise me!
Do you have any exciting new writing projects in the works?
Absolutely! I’m very close to the end of my second novel and it’s at that exciting stage where I can see the conclusion up ahead and all I want to do is write. I haven’t given it a name yet, but it’s about two women meeting in London and becoming friends, however, each is hiding something significant about their past and about how they came to be there. I’m hoping it will take readers on another emotional journey (as Free-Falling hopefully has done!).
Thank you for your time and insight, Nicola. The new book sounds great, although I’m glad we readers will have a little time to recover emotionally from Free-Falling before you destroy us all over again!