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Interview with Cupán Fae Author Róisín Tuohy

Róisín Tuohy currently lives in Waterford and works in the motor industry when not writing. She has worked in journalism and has had short stories published in a number of anthologies. She hopes to finish a novel someday and not have it live in a drawer forever more. Róisín has been a member of Cupán Fae for 4 years and has contributed to the Fiercepunk anthology.

What genre do you like to write in most?

I really enjoy switching between genres but something weird usually occurs in whatever I write, so probably speculative fiction. 

Which author or authors inspired you to write? Who are your favourite authors to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on your writing style?

Going way back to childhood, writers like Anne Fine were a big inspiration. I remember reading her books and being amazed that someone had put into words feelings I suspected we all had but I couldn’t articulate. Joan Aiken and Margaret Mahy are two other childhood favourites.

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett are probably two authors I’ve read more than any other. Margaret Attwood too is another writer who is so good at pinning down feelings and atmospheres. 

Books like Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and anything by F Scott Fitzgerald made me want to pick up a pen. 

Reading Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series and Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers made me realise the only limit to what you can write is your imagination. It’s great to be weird! 

There are also books I’ve read (and won’t name) that made me think “if that got published, surely anything I can write could too!”

Are you a plotter or a pantser, and how does that work for you?

I do outlines but I don’t plan in much detail. 

What writing projects are you working on currently?

I am planning my Nanowrimo project which will be set in the real world for a change. Or that’s the plan. I want to write a coming of age story set in the 00s. I’m also tipping away at a graphic novel set during the current pandemic but it’s all stick drawings in the draft stage!

What’s your one piece of advice for new writers?

Don’t be afraid to fail. And don’t compare yourself with anyone based on age etc. – people like Sally Rooney are very exceptional and you will drive yourself mad if you think you’re a failure just because you haven’t been published by 25 or whatever. Be kind to yourself – sometimes life will just get in the way and things won’t go to plan but it’s never too late to pick up again. 

Which of your short stories did you enjoy writing the most, and why?

A Swell Time was so much fun because I was aiming to pastiche F Scott Fitzgerald, who I love, and it was an era of history I’m fascinated by. And who doesn’t love the beauty and glamour of Art Deco? 

When did you write your first short story? How old were you? What was it about?

I must have been about five or six. It was most likely about our cats. 

What does your ideal writer lifestyle look like?

Write from 10 to 1, have lunch and give the rest of the day over for leisure. 

What music do you like to listen to when you write?

Classical. These stories were all written to the backdrop of Lyric FM’s Saturday afternoon schedule.

Where do you get your ideas?

Wherever I don’t have a pen.

Which is your favourite season to write in, and why?

Autumn. The days are shorter, you’re inside more anyway, and the shops have all that sweet back to school stationery. 

Do you like audiobooks, physical books, or eBooks better? Why?

Nothing beats having a physical book in your hand. 

What is your preferred font to write in?

I once dabbled in journalism and therefore am a big believer in old fashioned Times New Roman or other serif fonts. 

What is the funniest typo you’ve ever written?

Once when I was writing about a restaurant for the newspaper I worked for, I put down that they had “baby-making facilities” rather than “baby-changing facilities”. Fortunately (or unfortunately) it was spotted before it got anywhere near the printing press. 

What is your favourite word, and why?

Glamour for all its many meanings. And egg because I’ve always liked how the double G looks on the page.

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