A household name in Irish fiction, Kay Doyle visits Marian Keyes to reflect on her continually successful career.
This time twenty years ago, a virtually unknown Irish writer was putting the finishing touches to what would be one of the most exciting books to emerge in modern female Irish fiction. Limerick-born Marian Keyes was a 31-year-old law graduate, finding her voice in the writing world.
Today, with 15 fiction novels and four non-fiction, she has sold over 22 million copies worldwide and her books have been translated into 32 different languages. As we sit in Marian’s splendid Dun Laoghaire home, she looks back at the early days and it is clear that she is hugely grateful for how far she has come.
Marian Keyes began writing while on the road to recovery from a difficult period in her life in her early thirties. Living in London, she worked as an office administrator, but often found herself at her desk early, working on her writing.
Having submitted some of her short stories to Poolbeg Press, Marian was advised by Kate Cruise O’ Brien to work on a full-length novel. And so began Watermelon, the quirky book which secured Marian Keyes a three-book deal and etched her name into a new genre of female Irish writers.
However, she is quick to point out it wasn’t as glamorous as it sounds.