Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ciara O'Neill Says "I Do" Winter Wonderland Style, plus a giveaway

Introduction and interview by Tracey Meyers

**Giveaway is now closed**

Unlike other interviews I've done for Chick Lit Central, I recently had the opportunity to speak with our guest today, Ciara O'Neill, via Skype.

Though the connection was choppy a lot of the time, I enjoyed our chat and learned a lot of interesting things about this London born author.

Amongst the many things I found engaging about Ciara is that by day she works in finance, and by night she writes.  (Which I know from experience is not an easy schedule to maintain.)  I appreciate her passion for writing and applaud her for currently having multiple book ideas going.

I can only hope that her warm personality and delightful demeanor that I experienced during our conversation shines through in the interview you are about to read.  

You can find Ciara on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, as well as her website and blog!

Thanks to Ciara, FIVE lucky Chick Lit Central readers will win an e-copy of her debut novel, Legally Wed.  Additionally, she will give those who enter the book giveaway the chance to have their named used in her next book.

What would you consider the ideal winter wedding?
You're asking the right person! I much prefer a winter wedding over a summer wedding. When I think of winter weddings, I imagine plush fabrics like velvet and visualise the bride arriving in a sumptuous dress of heavy duchesse satin with a velvet cloak or cape, maybe trimmed in white Ermine fur (though not so sure that's acceptable these days!). The flowers and floral arrangements just have to be deep red or a rich purple to offset the white. I once attended the wedding of a florist who went to a great deal of trouble to find heavily scented roses and when we entered the reception room which was in a quaint country inn, the fire places were lit and the heavenly scent of the 'Ecstasy' roses filled the room mingled with lavender in little pots on the tables. I know it cost her a fortune but it was worth it. I can still smell those roses and the lavender.

I'm a city girl but I think a country or rural setting is much prettier and romantic. I'm from Ireland but live in England, and between the two countries there are lots of picturesque village churches and old buildings. I definitely favour the old over the new so a vintage car is an absolute must and a lovely stately home or country manor would be the perfect venue for the reception.

Just thinking about all this makes me want to get married again! To my husband, of course!

If you could spend the winter (holiday) season anywhere in the world, where would you go? 
I've never been to the Far East and I'd love to visit Vietnam, Thailand and the more exotic locations. I adore the food so am keen to experience the culture.

Which winter sport are you most afraid of trying and why? 

You'll probably think me a complete chicken but it's got to be skiing. It's not the actual skiing that I'm afraid of, it's the chair lifts and cable cars to the slopes because I'm petrified of heights. I'd be quite happy to be the chalet girl while everyone else goes off and has fun.

The things that makes the winter (holidays) special for me is: 

Being with my extended family.  My winter holidays always involve returning to Ireland for Christmas. We're from a provincial town called Carlow in the South of Ireland and each year we descend on my Mum. There's so many of us now that we've expanded into my cousin's house. Fortunately, she and my Aunt only live two minutes away from my childhood home. Christmas Eve dinner is an informal meal in my Aunt's house, cooked by her daughter and son-in-law. Christmas Day is in my cousin's house because she has the biggest dining room to fit the 19 of us. We all chip in and help with some part of the meal, which is based around the traditional Turkey dinner. My husband is a chef so produces some strange and interesting canapes. Last year we had Kangaroo to kick off the meal. The day after Christmas, which we call St Stephen's Day in Ireland but Boxing Day in the UK is another holiday and my husband and I host an evening in my Mum's house. They all love it when he cooks because it's usually something amazing and a little bit different. After the meal, anyone over 18 goes down to the local pub and it's my chance to meet up with my old friends. It's always a great night in the town. Even though I go back to Ireland several times a year, Christmas is the one time that everyone, friends and family, are home so it's wonderful to meet them all.

When you run out of steam, what keeps you motivated to keep writing?
Running out of steam is like leaving a good book half-read. I don't know about anyone else but I couldn't bear to not find out what happens in the end. I have to keep going to find out what will happen in my own books. When I'm writing, I plot and plan the main outline of my story, and work out the stages that will lead onto the next stage. So even though I know roughly what will happen in the end, I don't quite know how the characters will get there, or what hurdles will be thrown up to hinder their path. These evolve quite naturally as I write. The incentive is the excitement of getting to the conclusion. I've been stuck a few times when I think something is way too implausible to happen but then again, I've read some completely implausible stories that have been great reads purely for their creativity so I'm learning not to be too rigid around that.

Thus far, what has been your favorite part about being an author? 

I've been very solo in my writing endeavours until now. Before I published Legally Wed only my children and husband knew that I wrote but I think they thought it was just a little something that Mum did to get out of the housework! Since I've published and got involved with the marketing side, I've become aware of how many other people out there are writing and now I feel part of that community. Twitter is amazing. Chatting to like-minded people and seeing what they're experiencing both in terms of writing, editing, publishing, marketing is really helpful. It makes approaching people so much less daunting too and it's lovely to get direct feedback from my readers.

How did you react the moment you found out your book was going to be published?
 I'm a self-published author but the moment I uploaded it was completely nerve-wracking.  I thought I could write but that didn't necessarily mean that other people did! It's quite a daunting prospect knowing that people will read a work that you have slaved and slogged over to produce and could potentially rubbish it. Thankfully, that hasn't happened. I've had brilliant reviews, both solicited and unsolicited which has really increased my confidence in my ability.

Special thanks to Ciara for visiting with us and sharing her novel with our readers.

How to win Legally Wed and the chance to have your name  used for one of the characters in Ciara's next book:
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.) 

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: If you could spend the winter (holiday) season anywhere in the world, where would you go? 
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)

5. Follow us on Twitter and/or Pinterest.
6. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

Giveaway ends December 9th at midnight EST.


Kat said...

1. There is no contest in this answer, It would have to be New York City.
2. I am a follower of the blog.
3.Posted on Facebook
4. Already Follow on Facebook.
5. Already Follow on Twitter

Kritters Ramblings said...

I agree, I am excited to go to NYC next week to spend my first christmas season in NYC!

i am a fan on facebook
i follow via gfc


Marthalynn said...

I agree, Winter weddings are so sumptuous!

I would love to spend the holiday season holed up in some lavish ski lodge in Utah or Colorado.

I follow :)

marthalynn16 at gmail

Lauren McCormick said...

Today is my Birthday! So I'd love to be in Switzerland for Winter!
I follow you on facebook and I shared the link as well on google.
I really enjoy reading the reviews.

Jessica said...

1. London!
2. I follow this blog through GFC.
3. I posted this on twitter. https://twitter.com/xxpaperhearts/status/276067257480794112
4. I'm a member of Chick Lit Central on facebook.
5. I follow through twitter and pinterest. twitter username= xxpaperhearts

-Jessica M

DD said...

Australia for Christmas! Summer time, Aussie cuties with that sexy accent saying "G'day!" all day, please!

dawndennis66611 at yahoo dot com

bn100 said...

I'd go to London.

I follow the blog.


Linda Kish said...

Hawaii...who wants to be cold for the holidays?

I am a GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of Ms O'Neill and her gorgeous writing style has me now wanting a winter wedding.

Please keep the Chick Lit coming!

rubynreba said...

I would go to Hawaii to spend the winter.

I am a follower.

Follow you on facebook.


susieqlaw said...

Australia with a long layover in Hawaii sounds great!

sendsusanmail AT gmail DotCom

I follow the CLC blog, twitter, and Facebook.

I will tweet this contest at susieqlaw.

Anonymous said...

i would have to say nyc.....all the lights an magic in the air. going to follow now

laura champagne

justjewelry30@aol dot com

Unknown said...

animefreak902 AT yahoo DOT com

1. I would want to go to California! I live in NYC and it's so cold here ><
2. I already follow! :D
4. I'm already a member~!
5. I follow on Twitter, but not on Pininterest.

Mary Preston said...

London in Winter would be amazing I think. I've never had snow in Winter, so just a taste would be a great adventure.

GFC: FB: Mary Preston


Sara said...

I am headed to Oregon for the holidays this year- I grew up in Salem, and can't wait to see family and friends!

I follow. :)


Literary Chanteuse said...

I think I would go to Madeira Island (near Canary Islands). I have some friends vacationing there right now and I'd love to join them in the fun this Xmas.

-blog follower
-member of CLC on fb
-follower on Pinterest & twitter


Unknown said...

It's a toss-up, either NYC or someplace warm!

I follow the blog
I'm a member of CLC on Facebook
I follow on twitter

P.S. I love the author's last name ;)


The Book Chick said...

I would love to enter to win this one!

1. I would visit London, England in a heartbeat, regardless of the season!
2.I am a GFC follower.
3. Facebook member!!
4. Twitter follower (@jonitabookchick)

Mrs Mommy Booknerd said...

1. I would go back to Ireland! Loved it there!
2. I am a GFC follower
3. Facebook liker

Mrsmommybooknerdsbookreviews at gmail dot com

Preet said...

1.I'd go to Australia and New Zealand. Why? It's summer down there right now! As much as I love the winter holidays and Christmas, I tolerate the cold poorly. :(

2.I follow this blog via e-mail.


4.Already follow on facebook

5.Already follow on twitter


Nova said...

New York City! Lights, Rockefeller Center, Rockettes, all the great places to see!
I follow blog by email.
I follow CLC pinterest.
I liked & follow on FB.

Unknown said...

I would go to the Bahamas to soak up some lovely hot rays!

I am a follower of the blog, I follow on Facebook and posted there. I also follow on Twitter.

Sophie Bristow Harris :-)


Kristen said...

I'd say somewhere warm on a beach! :)

I follow on FB and email.


Unknown said...

I would love to be in Key West, Fl for the holidays & everyday thereafter!!

Wishing you a safe & very Merry Christmas & a prosperous 2013!!