Interview with Malachy DoyleOctober, 2009
SS: What is your birthdate?
SS: What were your previous occupations?
MD: I've packed Polo Mints in a Polo Mint factory; sorted dirty laundry in a Dirty Laundry; darned socks, patched jeans and looked after the children in a Special School; and taught Sociology, Psychology and all sorts of other things.
SS: What was/is your favorite job?
MD: Making up stories. Imagine getting paid to do the thing you love!
SS: Where did you go to high school and/or college?
MD: I went to school in Saint Malachy's College in Belfast. And no, it wasn't named after me!
SS: Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
MD: My favourite composer is Johann Sebastian Bach. My favourite singer is June Tabor.
Questions About Books and Writing
SS: Who are your favorite authors?
MD: I've so many favourite authors.
I love Jane Austen, Sebastian Barry, Ian McEwan, William Trevor, John McGahern, Anne Tyler, Carol Shields, Rose Tremain...
I love David Almond, Geraldine McCaughrean, Sonya Hartnett, Robert Westall, Tove Jansson, Alan Garner, Robert Cormier, Morris Gleitzman...
I love Martin Waddell, John Burningham, Shirley Hughes, Morris Sendak, Allan Ahlberg...
SS: Is there a book you love to reread?
MD: If I'm ever ill, I like to reread Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
SS: Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
MD: Read lots, write lots, rewrite lots, and don't forget to live life to the full!
SS: What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
MD: Have you met J. K. Rowling?
What Readers want to know...
SS: How would you describe perfect happiness?
MD: I had a brilliant day writing. Then I had a walk round my island. Now I'm sitting by an open fire with a good book, a cat on my knee and Liz by my side.
SS: What’s your greatest fear?
MD: There's a scream. The cat digs its claws into my knee. I jump up. My book falls in the fire. I run to see what the scream was. The burning book falls out of the fire onto the carpet...
SS: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
MD: Up a gum tree.
SS: What do you regret most?
MD: I wish I hadn't just eaten the whole of that chocolate bar. I wish I'd managed to save some of it for later. And a tiny bit for you.
SS: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
MD: I'd love to be able to illustrate my picture books, but I can't draw for toffee. If I try and draw a pig it looks like a worm.
SS: What is your greatest achievement?
MD: My children.
SS: What’s your greatest flaw?
MD: I eat too many biscuits.
SS: What’s your best quality?
MD: Stickability. I just don't give up.
SS: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
MD: I'd like to be a crocodiddleotamus.
SS: What is your biggest pet peeve?
MD: Mobile phones. They just never stop beeping or nattering.
SS: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
MD: I'm a walker. I wander the coastline and the mountains, looking, thinking, dreaming.
SS: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
MD: Chocolate ginger biscuits. Yum!
SS: How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
MD: Ireland, then England, then Wales, then Ireland again.
SS: What is your motto or maxim?
MD: Who ate all the chocolate?
Get more on Malachy Doyle at SimonandSchuster.com