Annette J Dunlea has just published her second novel: Always and Forever: Katie The Rose of Tralee. The book is a sweet Irish tale of two farmer's children falling in love and marrying is set in Tralee in the 1980s and centres on Katie's coming of age. She wins the Rose of Tralee festival and on that night her boyfriend proposes. They marry and a terrible fate falls on the family. Annette's website is http:www.freewebs.com/ajdunlea/. Both her books The Honey Trap and Always and Forever are on sale now and her anthology of poetry is soon to be published. Annette says:
"In 2005 my mum had 2 strokes, it broke my heart to see her so ill. We struggled for two years to help her regain some of her strength. Mum was guilt ridden that I gave up my job to mind her so she encouraged me to find a part -time job or hobby. I began to write short stories to escape the pain of watching her suffer. To my shock they were all published. I always had a dream of writing a book but was afraid to say it out loud. I worked as a bookseller and knew every second person thought there was a book in them but never got to sit down and write it. Then I saw an interview with Cecelia Ahern who like myself had always kept a diary and she encouraged people to give it a go. Weeks later on the Late Late Show Cathy Kelly and a few other Irish authors were interviewed and their advice was just jump in one word at a time and write, write, write. They said write everyday and keep writing and your current story will be better than your previous effort. They preached practice was the only way to find your voice. So I did I bought a laptop that week and blew the dust off my old notebook ontop of my wardrobe which held my secret notes for my book. I began to type literally one word at a time and I haven't stopped yet, its infectious. It really is a way of life now. My laptop is like my right hand. I am always checking emails, updating websites, writing articles, trying to raise my profile on the Networking sites etc. I have a very busy life. I am not rich but I write every day of my life and I am happy. If I write a bestseller someday well that would be great but that's every author's dream. For now my writing is a great hobby that brings pleasure to its readers".
Cork Profile : Annette Dunlea Writer by Eoin Whelton
in The Cork Independent 15th July 2010 p.34
|Annette Dunlea - Writer|
|Written by Eoin Weldon|
|Thursday, 15 July 2010|
If ever you see someone in Cork, giggling to herself and taking a notebook out of her bag, oblivious to what's going on around her, then the likelihood is, it's Annette Dunlea. She isn't mad. As a novelist, short story writer and journalist, Annette draws her inspiration from everyday life.
The things we normally see, think funny at the time and forget about. How magical it is to record these everyday occurrences we will never remember. Annette has a collection of all these incidents or meeting of people, little gems that make up a perfect story or tale in a novel.
Annette has always had a grá for English, studying for a BA in U.C.C. before completing a Masters in Roman History. She was fascinated by the ancient Romans and "the allure of a lost civilisation" and how "their epic traditions were orally passed on".
Annette has always been a personable character and her work as a bookseller with Waterstones, put her in contact with like-minded people where they exchanged their various views about books. All the time expanding her knowledge and insight into books.
However, it has not been all plan sailing for Annette, she has had to deal with her fair share of heartache. Her mother, who she cares for, suffered two strokes in 2006 and now requires constant attention. However, instead of seeing it as a chore, Annette embraces the challenge.
"I have four brothers and sisters and the rest had left home. I am very close to my mother. Mentally she is still very alert and happy but physically she is very, very sick. We have a very large extended family and she has remarked that she needs to be around as there is too much to do!" Far from getting depressed about her limitations, Annette's mother has not seen it as detrimental to living a full life.
"It does not get her down at all," said Annette. "You can either be a victim or a survivor but she has a great outlook on life. She won't let her illness define her."
Annette's experience of caring for her mother has influenced some of her writing, it could but not do so.
"I have done a lot of journalism but I love the luxury of a novel, exploring characters and giving an insight into them."
Annette has had two novels published. The first, called ‘The Honey Trap', focuses on three married Irish women in celebrity marriages who get divorced. The story focuses on them dealing with divorce, moving on and gaining revenge on their former husbands! The second novel ‘Always and Forever' is about so-called supernatural love. A young couple fall in love only for tragedy to strike.
Penning a novel, is not all celebrity launches and adulation, a lot of hard grind must go into it.
"Once I get going I could spend 18 hours a day at it. A lot of that could be spent re-editing, chopping and changing. It might be eight or nine months working very, very hard but it is also very solitary. Probably the worst thing is having to cut stuff out and leave out a little story or some conversation. You have to be ruthless," she said.
Annette's notebook is like an extension of her right arm, she never leaves home without it. Even going to the shop to buy a pint of milk could give her ammunition for an anecdote or funny fable. Annette also has a blog, which she updates twice weekly, where you can get everything from top movie rentals to book reviews to a biography on Roy Keane.
Annette's third novel is at the research stage and she has changed direction this time to lot more serious topics.
"When I saw the Murphy Report and Ryan Reports, I was moved. How it affected kids growing up and changed their lives. It has been very tough and emotional, I don't know will I carry on with it. There has been enough misery without me adding to it."
Annette's literary prowess is not just limited to novels. She has had articles and book reviews published in a Spanish newspaper, the ex-pat population have a thirst for her work.
The life of a writer involves a lot of self-discipline according to Annette. "You are your own boss really, but you must have a lot of discipline. You must sit down and write, even though you may not want to. Sometimes a lot of my time will be taken up by administrative work.
"Also I spend a lot of time studying different writing styles, how sentences are made and grammar is used. I am always trying to expand my knowledge and depth of what I know."