Interview with Vanessa Ronan, author of The Last Days of Summer

TLDOS Twitter Post (3)

Q1. Could you tell us a little about yourself as an introduction?
Well, I just turned 29. I was born in Houston TX, but we moved around a bit, even living a few years in a colonial village in the mountains of central Mexico. I was home schooled till I left for university at 16 moving to NYC. My 1st degree was in dance and choreography (though I later received my Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh as well). After that first graduation in NYC, I subsequently got the travel bug, and, after a year working at the bottom of a totem pole of personal assistants to a multimillionaire, I left to backpack through Europe for six months. Eight years later, here I still am! And, long story short, that’s how I fell onto that path that lead to meeting my husband and Ireland becoming my home.

Q2. When did you realise you loved writing, and what was your journey like in becoming a published author?
Funny as it sounds, I started writing before I knew the alphabet. When I was three I had a black notebook I filled with squiggly lines. I brought the notebook to my mother and very proudly told her, “Mommy, I just wrote a book.” My mother swears that every time I read my “novel” to her I read the same story, word for word, as though I knew what each squiggly line meant. Nearly everyone in my family writes. It felt natural to start writing, too.

Vanessa RonanQ3. How did it feel when you first held a copy of The Last days of Summer in your hands?
Surreal. And at the same time more wonderfully real than anything. My husband was at work when the poof copies arrived so I had a couple hours alone to sit with my book, smelling it, turning each page. If anyone could have seen me, sitting there by myself, smiling ear to ear, I’m sure they would have thought I’d gone crazy!

Q4. It sounds as though you have travelled quite a bit. Have any places in particular influenced your writing?
I think almost everywhere I’ve lived has somehow or another impacted my writing. My experiences as a child living in a colonial village in the mountains of central Mexico definitely had a deep early impact, as did the time we spent living on the cusp of the Texas prairie. Edinburgh, New York City and Dublin are all quite inspirational cities. I’ve been very lucky to have lived where I have.

Q5. Did you have a set plot when writing The Last Days of Summer, or do you allow the characters some control?
I am very, very much a start writing and see where it takes you sort of writer. I know the direction a story is going, know the general arch—where I’m starting, a few points along the way, have a vague impression of the ending, know the story’s tone—but room for spontaneity is incredibly important in my writing process. I often close my eyes visualize I am the character. Think, “Where am I now? What am I doing?” My scenes then unfold from there.

As the characters grew in my head and gained strength, they took on a surprising independence I didn’t expect—each one said or did things at one time or another that I hadn’t planned. But I felt I had to ‘go with it’ each time because that was what Jasper would have done or Joanne would have said, so who was I to stifle their voices? That was my first experience where characters at times seemed to make their own decisions. Now, as I write my second novel, it has felt very strange having new voices in my head, seeing through new eyes.

Q6. Do you have a writing routine or any writing quirks?
I need complete silence when I write. I guess that’s kind of quirky. Even the slightest sounds or distractions can pull me from the world I’m trying to see into.

Q7. What can we expect next from you? Is there anything in the pipeline?
I am writing my second novel. Another dark tale told from multiple perspectives, set into the fringes of society.

 

My review for The Last Days of Summer will follow next week! I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you.

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