Ellen Brickley is a novelist and essayist. Her writing has appeared in Banshee literary journal and the Irish Times. She was the recipient of a Literature Bursary from the Arts Council in 2017 and is currently working on an essay collection. Ellen has been a member of Cupán Fae for four years and has contributed to Cupán Fae Anthologies: Dublin’s Fierce City, and Fiercepunk.
Which of your short stories did you enjoy writing the most, and why?
Probably Tame the Skies. I’d dreamed of visiting Venice all my life and finally made it in January 2020 – of course, with no idea what was about to befall the world, nor how hard it would hit Northern Italy. I found Venice inspiring. There’s so much history, so much beauty, and yet it’s a very modern city in conflict, trying to balance the mass tourism that supports so many jobs while keeping the city as a vibrant home for the residents. I was especially taken with the Doge’s Palace and the prison, and the famous Bridge of Sighs. It was a lot of fun to mentally revisit Venice.
How would you rank character, plot, and setting in order of importance in a story?
As a reader, my preference is character, plot and setting in that order! If I like the characters, or dislike them in an entertaining way, I’ll happily read about them sitting in their living rooms knitting (actually, I knit, so I really would read that, although my favourite book is The Secret History by Donna Tartt and I can’t really see that gang doing much knitting). I have read books where the setting matters more to me than the plot, but they are uncommon and usually they are books where the setting is really well done.
Which is your favourite season to write in, and why?
Autumn! I like that back to school feeling (even though I never liked school much), and I find it gives me a burst of energy. The turn of the weather towards cold gives me an excuse to be indoors with the laptop, and Halloween is just around the corner. Perfect!
Do you like audiobooks, physical books, or ebooks better? Why?
I love all three, but I do most of my reading digitally now. I like the speed and convenience of ebooks – if someone recommends a book, I can search for it and buy it straight away once I have the cash to spare. I also love that if I finish a book while I’m out of the house, I can just start another one. I would say my reading is split 90/10 in favour of ebooks, but that said, I can’t read on my phone easily. Dedicated ereaders are my favourite devices.
What is your favourite word, and why?
The answer to this changes a lot, but right now it’s indolent. I’ve been busy lately and the idea of being indolent is appealing. I like how even the word sounds lazy!