Friday 5 April 2013

Guest Author ~ Caitriona Leslie

I am delighted to welcome

Caitriona Leslie

Photo by kind permission of the author

Author of Alice - Rose

XLIBRIS (31 Oct 2012)

What inspired you to become an author?

I have a long commute to work and some years ago I started to listen to books on tape to pass the time. Listening to books is a great way to ‘read’ – you hear every written word and I think it gives you a better understanding of the writing process.

At some point I began to think, rightly or wrongly, that I could possibly “do that”. We have an old PC at home and I began dabbling with storylines. None really worked for me until I came up with the bones of ‘Alice-Rose’. Once I came up with the essence of this story I found that writing really became a joy – I was suddenly unstuck!

So no, I didn’t grow up with a deep desire to write and I never did a creative writing course or joined a writer’s group; in fact the only person who ever read a word of ‘Alice-Rose’ prior to its publication was the copy-editor.

Where did you get the inspiration for Alice-Rose?

I love old houses and although I don’t live in one, I regularly fantasise about owning one. In my youth I babysat for four children who lived in a beautiful old farmhouse on the outskirts of the village where I grew up. Their house, or ‘Streete House’ as it is known, would definitely have been foremost in my thoughts when it came to describing ‘Alice-Rose’.

What came first, the plot or the people? 

The people, or person in this case, definitely came first. I searched around in my imagination for a long time before I came up with Libby Finn and once I had her firmly established in my imagination, the rest followed quite easily. By the time I came to putting pen to paper I felt very passionately about Libby and, like her mother, I wanted only the very best for this girl. Libby Finn had essentially become my child.

Did you base your characters on people you know?

I wouldn’t say that any one character was based entirely on any one person, but all of my characters, even the less likeable ones, certainly have personality traits and features of people I know, including myself. I think drawing on real events, places and people for inspiration is essential for all writers if their story is to have any resonance with readers.

Do you write stories for yourself, or other people?

So far I have only written for myself. However, in writing for myself I am always hopeful that there are some like-minded individuals out there who might enjoy reading about the same things that interest and inspire me, the things that essentially give me joy.

Do you have a special place to do your writing?

Yes, I do have a special place where I do the bulk of my writing. We have a small home office and I wrote most of ‘Alice-Rose’ on a ten year old PC with no access to the internet. However, my husband, Timmy, bought me a laptop last year and we managed to get satellite broadband, so the sky is the limit now. I put the finishing touches to the book sitting on the sofa in the sitting room. The kitchen table has also been used but only when the house is empty – Timmy likes to fill me in on the contents of the Farmer’s Journal if he’s around and that can be very distracting!

And Finally for fun...

What books are on your bedside tabl

I have recently discovered two local authors living close by and I have just finished reading their books. The first is called ‘Foolish Pride’ by Anne Skelly and the second is called ‘Witch’ by Lorne Patterson. There are also two books by Dean Koontz, ‘Brother Odd’ and ‘Breathless’. I was a huge fan of Koontz in my youth and I found these on the book-swap shelf in work and decided to see if I still was. I haven’t started either yet, but I will. Lastly, I have ‘On Kingdom Mountain’ by Howard Frank Mosher, an American author.

Alice-Rose is my Friday Recommended Read

Libby Finn is a young widow of independent means, who has recently returned to the Irish town of Ballyedmond to live in a small cottage on her parent’s estate. When she sees the dilapidated state of a house named locally as Alice- Rose, she not only falls in love with the property, but also becomes determined to restore the house to its former glory. When she meets Dan, the local estate agent, there is a frisson of attraction between them, which over time becomes difficult to ignore. What then follows is a delightful romantic tale, which is enhanced further by the ‘will they, won’t they’ aspect of Libby and Dan’s relationship.

From the opening chapter of Alice-Rose, I was enthralled not just with the warm and witty characters in the book but also with the story of a house and its transformation into something special. The author has captured to perfection the sometimes overwhelming feeling of living in a small town, where everyone knows each other’s business, and where even clandestine love affairs can be the talk of gossip and innuendo in just a matter of hours. Libby is a delightful heroine, and by the end of the novel she had become my friend, I could almost imagine sitting and having a coffee with her, whilst putting the world of Ballyedmond to rights!

Without doubt this is a really good debut novel, and I would hope that Alice-Rose is just the first of many books by this talented new author.


Caitriona - thank you so much for taking the time to visit Jaffareadstoo and for giving us such a wonderful insight into the creating of Alice-Rose. 

Jaffa and I wish you much success with your writing career


  1. I think I would like to read about the house, and its transformation, and it reminds me a little of how Miss marple went about her daily life. She knew everybody and everybody knew her and everybody was in their place. She was a great judge of character and within that village was a sample of every living character. I have put this into my mind to read it.

    1. Hi Carole - Thanks for visiting ....(and following) I hope you get to read Alice-Rose :)

  2. Currently reading Alice - Rose and enjoying it xx


Thanks for taking the time to comment - Jaffareadstoo appreciates your interest.