Monday 14 April 2014

Author Interview ~ Carmel Harrington.

Today I'm absolutely honoured (and giddy) to welcome the fabulous Carmel Harrington to my blog! Carmel is the author of the fantastic Beyond Grace's Rainbow, the book which everyone raved about and cried at. She's also set to release her next novel, The Life You Left, in June, and she will be revealing a little about it below. How exciting is that?!

Purchase: Beyond Grace's Rainbow
Pre-order: The Life You Left

Tell us about yourself!

Well, my username on Twitter and Facebook says it all really. HappyMrsH! I am a happy person by nature, glass half full and all that. I’m married to Rog, aka Mr H, who as corny as it sounds is my best friend. We have two children, Amelia (4) and Nate (2) and live near the coast in Wexford, Ireland. Life is busy, as I mix being a writer with being Mummy, but it’s a lot of fun. I’m an unsuccessful dieter and in fairness if I put as much energy into exercising as I do to fantasising about magic pills that could make me a size 10, I’d be a lot better off! One of these days I’ll get that sorted.

There’s a lot of laughter in our house, love making the children and Rog laugh. And don’t get me started about the sticky fingerprints on our walls and windows!

What else can I tell you? I love Oprah, The Walking Dead, Wicked (The musical not the drink!) Pinot Noir, Cheese all types, Tayto Crisps and any chocolate that comes with a soft caramel centre. Ok, now I’ve an awful longing on me for a glass of wine!

How did your publishing journey with HarperImpulse come about?

Sophie, I had actually self-published Beyond Grace’s Rainbow in August 2012 in the hope that if it did well I would attract and agent and ultimately a publishing deal. Thankfully for me, it worked out! In January 2013 I signed a contract with the Trace Literary Agency, who took on the task of finding me a book deal. And luckily for me, Harper Impulse, the romance imprint of Harper Collins offered me a 2 book deal in July 2013, which I gratefully accepted!

What was your inspiration behind writing Beyond Grace’s Rainbow?

Initially the idea to write about an adopted person, who needed to find her biological family for medical reasons, came from a conversation I was having with my best friend Annie, who is adopted herself.

I thought a really interesting theme to explore would be that of a mother who doesn’t want to be found and a daughter who desperately needs to ask her for help. Would that mother come forward when it becomes a matter of life and death? The rest of the story came from that one thought.

You’ve seemingly had so much success with your debut novel. How did you celebrate? Are you still blown away with it all?

Sophie, to be totally honest there are days when I do still pinch myself, but it has started to sink in now, that I am an author and I am living my dream.

I do celebrate each and every moment – whether it’s a review from a lovely book blogger like yourself, a reader who reaches out to me in some way, or a book signing. I think its really important to soak up every experience and appreciate them. All my celebrations have been with family and friends and have varied from dancing the conga with my children to drinking bottles of Prosecco with Rog and loved ones!

What can you tell us about your upcoming second novel, The Life You Left?

It’s getting to the exciting bit now – final edits, cover being created, ARC copies created! It will be published on 19th June 2014, so the countdown is on!

Writing The Life You Left was a very different experience to that of BGR as it happened over a longer period of time and the story evolved quite a bit as I continued it.

I’ve always believed that it’s only when we are knee deep in our worst moments that we realise our inner strength. I wanted to explore that theme in The Life You Left. And my heroine Sarah is certainly tested! Also, I’ve always been fascinated by angels and psychics, so I thought I’d write about them to see if I could understand them some more. It’s a fascinating subject, whatever your belief. Oh I had a lot of fun writing some proper baddies. In Beyond Grace’s Rainbow, cancer is the baddie really, but in The Life You Left, there are two characters – Mal and Michelle - that give nasty nick a run for his money! The official synopsis hasn’t been released yet, but here’s a few lines I wrote that might give you an idea what to expect!

The Life You Left
What would you do if one day your husband didn't come home from work leaving you with unanswered questions and unpaid bills? Well that's what has happened to Sarah and she is struggling emotionally and financially without him. Her children miss their Daddy and want answers but all Sarah has is a cryptic email from Paul saying he needs some time out on his own.

Where is he? And what exactly is going on? James, Sarah's devoted twin brother is determined to find out where his errant brother-in-law really is.

Then out of the blue a much loved childhood friend of Sarah's turns up. Edward is not altogether welcome though as unfortunately she is the only person who can see him.

Edward is an angel. And he has a message for her that will change her life and the lives of others forever.

Thats when things start to get really complicated .......

Set in a small coastal village in beautiful Co Wexford, Sarah learns that it's only when life gets so difficult that she cannot breathe, she discovers how strong she truly is.

Have you found it harder or easier writing your second novel?

It is without doubt much harder. Not the writing of it, because that kind of came easily to me, but the thoughts that pop into my head late at night are not good for my sanity! Its nerve wrecking putting a second book out there, especially after the success of Beyond Grace’s Rainbow. I just hope that I don’t let down the fans of BGR. I’ve been told by the one or two that have read it, that they prefer it to BGR (eekkk) so that’s promising! But it’s still very, very daunting. Maybe by book 99 I’ll have gotten the knack of nerves ;)

What have you found the most challenging and the most rewarding aspect of being an author?

Great question Sophie! Ok, most challenging without doubt is balancing my time between being a mother and wife and being an author. Writing isn’t a nine to five job and family will always come first for me but some days I wish I had more than 24 hours to work with!

The most rewarding aspect? Every single glorious moment! I smile a lot these days. I feel completely fulfilled both professionally and personally. I just love to write, so the fact that I’m actually doing what I always dreamed of doing one day, is incredible. To pick one moment out, it will always be for me, that moment when I first held Beyond Grace’s Rainbow in my hands in print. Special doesn’t come close to describing how that felt.

Do you prefer ebooks or print books?

I find that I can read eBooks much quicker, so I tend to read them more than paperbacks these days. My iPad is never far from hand, so I read on that all the time. However, I always buy my favourite books in paperback, because I like to have them on my bookshelves, looking prettily at me!

What one book have you read that you just wish you could have written yourself?

One book? Oh that’s hard because there are just so many. Little Women maybe? Or Lord of the rings. Sorry I’ve just gone and said two!

If you could only read one author for the rest of your life, who would you choose?

Oh no… that’s impossible to answer because I have favourite authors depending on the genre I am most in the mood for! I’ll say Suzanne Collins, because it would be rude to leave the question unanswered ;) But don’t hold me to it!

If you got to jet off to a dream destination with - your favourite book, a book from one of your fellow HarperImpulse authors and the book at the top of your TBR, where would you jet off to and which books would you take?

You know what I’m trying to talk my husband into right this minute? Spending Christmas in Florida with Mickey Mouse and Cinderella! So that’s the destination – DisneyLand!

Right, I’ll take LynnMarie Hulsman’s (Harper Impulse) new book with me, she’s got another out this summer. I loved her first one – Christmas at Thornton Hall.

The book at the top of my TBR pile is Hannah Beckerman’s The Dead Wife’s Handbook.

Think they should keep me going! Oh I’ll take one more, cos’ I read quickly! I’ll have The Shock Of The Fall too by Nathan Filer please! That’s waiting for my attention right now too.

Thanks for joining us Carmel!

Author Bio:

Carmel Harrington is the bestselling Irish author of Beyond Grace’s Rainbow, published by HarperCollins. She has won several international awards including Kindle Book of Year and Romantic eBook of Year in 2013 and her book is on sale online and also in bookshops throughout Ireland, UK and USA. Her second novel, The Life You Left will be published 19th June 2014. Carmel has been interviewed on RTE1’s Today Show, TV3’s IrelandAM and The Morning Show and also on US TV in Indiana’s WNDU, plus has been a regular guest on radio stations nationally, including BBCRadio 1 Ulster, RTERadio1, Newstalk and many regional stations. She has written articles for The Irish Independent, The Daily Mail, The Evening Herald & Woman’s Way.

A native of Wexford, she lives with her husband Roger and young children Amelia and Nate in the beautiful village of Screen. For all the latest updates you can find her


  1. Great interview! Carmel I'm with you on The Walking Dead and caramel chocolates :-)


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