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PLEASE WELCOME THE AUTHOR OF THE BALLROOM CAFE ANN O’LOUGHLIN TO MY BLOG WITH Q & A

on June 19, 2015

PLEASE WELCOME THE AUTHOR OF THE BALLROOM CAFE ANN O’LOUGHLIN TO MY BLOG
ANN HAS ANSWERED A FEW QUESTIONS FOR ME

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How did it feel when you found out The Ballroom Café was June Book of the Month on IrelandAM ?

I was absolutely thrilled and very excited. It meant I had to go and sit on the couch with Mark and Sinead and chat on TV3’s IrelandAM. That was a load of fun and they were great; they loved the book. Sinead told me her mother is reading it too! Anyone who wants to look back on the interview can find a few nice stills and the actual interview at http://annoloughlin.blogspot.ie/
Also if anybody wants, they can submit a 50 word review of the book and they might win a few a TV3 goody bag. Submit the review by Friday 26th June to irelandam@tv3.ie

Where did you get your idea for this wonderful book from?
I alway remember my father talking about these two women who lived in a big old house on the west coast of Ireland and they had not talked in decades… The image of the two of them going about the ordinary daily things and not even passing the time of day stuck in my head all these years… It was fitting when I sat down to write a novel, these women I have named Ella and Roberta O’Callaghan, should want centre stage. I wanted a book that would look at a serious issue but that everybody could relate to, so The Ballroom Cafewas born.

How did you research this book – you can tell you have done a lot?

There was a lot of research at different levels for The Ballroom Cafe. There was this whole issue of forced illegal adoption of the children of unmarried mothers from mother-and-baby homes/orphanages to the US. I listened to many of the accounts of these women, who are now elderly, and who lost their children this way. I was stuck by their dignity and the burden of shame society had placed on their shoulders, and their terrible loss. One of my nicer areas of research was the wonderful Weiss brooches,which Ella unwraps at various stages of the book. Weiss was a New York Jeweller back in the 50s and 60s and right up to the 70s. I fell in love with the vintage brooches the more research I did on them.
Do you like to make cakes yourself? What is your favourite one ?

I just love to bake. When I am not writing , it is what I like to do most to relax. In fact, all of the cakes featured in The Ballroom Cafe, I have baked myself. My favourite is the chocolate cake with the secret ingredient. It has been in my family for years… We don’t really know how it got in to our family – it seems quite fancy – but as soon as we have an occasion, the ground almonds are bought along with the best chocolate and the cake whipped up. The secret ingredient? You will just have to read The Ballroom Cafe to find out that one

Are any of the characters based on people you know ?

I think there is a bit of everyone I know in each character. They are not based on anybody in particular, but consider this: how else would writers pen believable characters?
Who was your favourite character and why ?

I love Ella, doesn’t everybody? But I think my favourite character has to be Ella’s sister Roberta. She swigs too much at the sherry and at the start of the book can be quite nasty in the notes she pens to her sister. But as you move through the book, you will see there is a weight of tragedy on her shoulders. It is also Roberta who changes the most and a person who can do that has to be admired.
Where do you like to write your books?

I like to sink into my big comfy armchair beside the french doors in the kitchen. I have a view of the gardens towards the mountains and I can hear the sea at the other side. There are no distractions and I can write away. I usually have a nice pot of tea by my side and I drink from a mug – the kids got it for me – which has The Ballroom Cafe cover on the side.
I loved your tag line ‘secrets can’t last forever ‘ was it hard to chose this?

The Ballroom Cafe is full of secrets. Isn’t life? There is another certainty after death and taxes, and that is that no secret can last forever. So it was just a matter of finding the words for it , ‘Secrets Can’t Last Forever.’
What made you want to write books ?

I love writing. I feel I got diverted into journalism all these years. Even when at school I was always scribbling stories. I have to write, otherwise I am decidedly grumpy!
Would you like to run a cafe yourself?
It is a very romantic notion, but honestly, I think it would be a lot of very hard work and if I did that, I would not write novels.
The mansion and the village sounded so real – did you base it on a real place?
I can picture Roscarbury Hall in my head so well that I am sure some day I will be driving down a road and go over a little bridge and it will be there waiting for me. Like eveyrbody else, I want to visit The Ballroom Cafe. But they are all in my imagination and maybe best left that way, or they might lose some of the magic!

Will there be a follow on to The Ballroom cafe?
Never say never. But I am working on my second novel at the moment and that is based in Ireland and India. My lips are sealed though, so don’t ask for any more information on that one

Aj book review club's photo.        THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HELP DOING THIS BOOK ANN HOPE YOUR BOOK SELL REAL WELL AS IT ONE OF MY BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR  THANK YOU AMANDAJAYNE X

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