August 5, 2020

2020 Summer Reads Blog Tour | RULES OF THE ROAD by Ciara Geraghty



I couldn't resist joining this blog tour when I saw Rules of the Road by Ciara Geraghty was on the list. It was described as an "emotional, life-affirming novel as two women embark on an extraordinary road trip and discover the transformative power of female friendship--perfect for fans of JoJo Moyes and Gail Honeyman." And you all know how much I love a good friendship book! 

Today I'll be sharing a Q&A with the author, who will talking about her latest book, friendship, travel, and more!

Q: What message do you hope readers take away from Rules of the Road?

A: First and foremost, I hope they enjoy it. My mantra for writing is ‘A good tale, well told’. I don’t write fables or books with morals to be endured and lessons to be learned. I write about people and the messiness of their lives. Because, as everyone knows, life is messy. And complex. And complicated. I want my readers to read one of my books and maybe come away feeling less alone. That is the comfort I take from books as a reader, when I come across characters I can relate to.

Q: What's the story behind the story of how you came to write it? 

A: Female friendship and solidarity have always been very important to me. I wanted to examine the importance of female friendship, the impact it has, the difference it makes. When I was writing the book, we had two referendums in Ireland - marriage equality and access to abortion and both were passed with resounding majorities. While my book does not deal with these specific issues, it is a book about personal autonomy, bodily autonomy, a woman’s right to choose.  My subject matter suddenly felt very relevant and positive and hopeful. While the book has a dark heart - Iris, one of my main characters, is determined to end her life in a clinic in Switzerland - I always meant for the book to be ultimately uplifting and life-affirming; a love song sung by women. 

During the writing of the book, my father was dying of dementia. I found the writing of Eugene - Terry’s father in ‘Rules’ who has dementia - a very cathartic experience. This is one of the great things about writing; it helps me make sense of the world and the way I feel about it.

Q: Do you have any specific writing rituals (outfit, snacks, pen, music, etc)?

A: Well, I’d love to get all ‘writery’ and say that I repair to a tall tower where I wander around in a caftan and smoke cigarettes from long, slender cigarette holders and wait for the MUSE to arrive…..Now, wouldn’t that be grand!

But, no.

Instead, I write at home, in the attic, at a desk, with a laptop. How pedestrian is that? I will say that, for me, the most important part of the process is getting my butt into the seat at the desk. The chair is an all-singing, all-dancing display of ergonomic engineering (it’s got wheels!) and this is important because one thing is for sure; I’m going to be sitting on it for a LONG time. Caftan and cigarette holders are optional (and rarely employed) but the rule I absolutely insist on is never, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, wait for the MUSE to arrive. I just steel myself and start writing. Even when I don’t want to. Especially when I don’t want to. Otherwise I’ll convince myself that the words have all dried up and the cupboard is bare.

Q: Which character do you most relate to in this novel and why?
A: There are certain traits that I have in common with aspects of both Terry and Iris. Like Iris, I am a year-round sea swimmer. Like Terry, I am a mother who is coming to terms with the fact that some of her children are - technically - grown-ups. I have lived with both of these characters for the past four years and love them both equally, for different reasons. I’d say I relate more to Terry because Iris, for the most part, has it all figured out. She is a woman who knows what she wants and then goes right ahead and gets it. Terry is less certain, she is still feeling her way through her life. She tries so hard to be all things to all people, to the detriment of her own sense of self. As a woman writer who is also a daughter, a mother, a wife, a friend, I relate to this aspect of Terry. I imagine many women these days do. It is the great burden of being a woman, as well as being one of our great strengths.

Q: What is your bucket-list trip?
A: In the current climate, even thinking about a bucket-list trip feels a bit revolutionary. Or like a
plot in a science-fiction novel. However, I can reveal that tomorrow, I’m off to Kerry (in the south
west of Ireland) for a week. For anyone who has never been to Kerry, I advise you to put it on your bucket-list immediately. Because of the mountains - the highest in Ireland - and the winds that rush in from the Atlantic ocean, rain is a frequent visitor there. BUT - because of the rain, the vegetation is vivid and lush and almost tropical, with the influence of the Gulf Stream. The place is falling down with ancient castles, monasteries, fairy forts and islands (including Skellig Michael for the Star Wars fans amongst you). The Atlantic may be ‘fresh’ (this is Irish for ‘biting cold’) but the waters are crystal clear and the sand is fine and white and an excellent exfoliator of skin. Afterwards, in the pub where you’re eating a bowl of seafood chowder and struggling to eavesdrop on the locals (the accent is as thick as an Aran jumper), you’ll suddenly realise you’re tingling all over. This could be your blood, doing its best to resume normal circulation after the icy immersion in the sea. Or it could be something else. Something a little more other-worldly. The magic of Kerry, rushing through your body, seeping into your bones, engaging every sense you’ve ever had. And a few you didn’t even know you had. Can you tell I’m looking forward to getting away?


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Thank you Harlequin for asking me to be a part of the tour! 
Make sure to check out the rest of the books!

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