Anne McCabe tv director and novelist talks writingAs this site grows I had intentions to add some interviews to it, a world I know nothing about and have no skill in construction nor know how to go about doing, but, as it happens, I have been lucky enough to get in-touch with Ros Na Run director and novelist Anne McCabe for the first interview for the site and readers.

Anne McCabe is a writer and TV director and has won awards for original TV drama and documentaries. She has worked for RTE directing the likes of Glenroe and Fair City and has worked along side Brendan Gleeson and Gabriel Byrne. Anne established the hit Irish drama Ros N Run where she currently directs.

She recently co-wrote the screenplay for TV3’s Jack Taylor, a crime thriller set in Galway which was based on the novels of Ken Bruen. Last year Anne finally took the plunge and published her first novel ‘Under The Avalanche’ to great success (read review here) and  is now in Paris working on a second novel, so I jumped at the chance and was privileged to have an online interview with Anne about her novel, her career in broadcasting, her writing experience and what plan she for future writing projects.

Ranting Beast

Congratulations on your debut novel, how does it feel to be finally a published author?

Anne

It feels amazing, I was invited to read at a book club  last week, and they spent the night referring to me as ‘the author’, and talked about my characters as if they were real. I could get used to this!!

Ranting Beast

And so far the reviews have been very positive.

Anne

Yes that’s right, but reader feedback is even better. Hardly a day passes that I don’t get a mail or a text from someone out there who has enjoyed the book- most readers say it is unputdownable, it was a page-turner they read very quickly. I had no idea when I was writing that I would get such a response, you don’t think like that when you’re in the middle of it, you just want to do the story justice, make the characters live. So this end of the process is most gratifying.

Ranting Beast

It covers 3 generations of a family in Co Wicklow and involves some very dark topics, what influenced you to write about these?

Anne

The first source of my inspiration comes from the hills of Wicklow, in a place called Askanagap, where there really was an avalanche in 1867, which killed a family in their cottage. The coroner’s report reads: “smothered in their beds by snow.” The second source of inspiration was the Kerry Babies case, of a murdered baby on a beach. That murder has never been solved, but it gave rise to a Tribunal in the late 1980’s which was a watershed in Irish social history, as it turned into a trial by television of a woman’s moral and intimate life. I was a producer/director in RTE at the time covering the story.

I was always haunted by the question: ‘how could anyone harm a newborn baby?’ This grew in my head into this saga of three women, and the pressures on a woman who conceived a child outside wedlock in Ireland of not-so-long ago.

Ranting Beast

In your book review by Des Kenny, he states you realised you had your book under your bed for many years before deciding to get it published, how long was it lying about and why?

Anne

I first wrote the book when my own baby was a toddler- she’s now 13! It took many years and restructurings, before I let it out into the light of day. It takes courage to even admit to writing, as if being a writer is a clandestine art you daren’t admit to many people. I used to whisper apologetically, ‘I’m writing a bit’ as if it was a shameful secret!

But finally I decided to give it to the women of my book club, with some great trepidation….but they loved it, and encouraged me to get it published. The renowned and redoubtable Des Kenny helped me make the right contacts, and has been selling it ever since.

Ranting Beast

You have been a writer for years through TV which would involve collaborations, how are you finding the solitude of writing novels?

Anne

All writing is hard, and even though in television there are teams and story conferences, it ends up with just you and the blank screen, or sheet of paper, and the monkey on your back demanding to be let out. So solitude is necessary. I go out to play by directing TV drama, like Ros na Run, which is great fun.

Ranting Beast

You came from Dublin to Galway 12 years ago, what prompted this and how did it change your life?

Anne

I got the job as Commissioning Editor with the fledgling Teilifis na Gaeilge, now TG4, when it was starting up. I came for six months, met my husband, had a child, and never went back to Dublin or RTE! Motherhood has changed my life forever, as it does to every woman. You are no longer alone, and no longer just looking after yourself. It’s a great teacher, in patience, understanding and, the art of compromise… the child teaches you!

Ranting Beast

You have directed Glenroe, Fair City and now the popular soap opera Ros na Run for TG4, how do you find the time to write?

Anne

Since I left the big well-paid permanent and pensionable job :), I have lots of time in between directing gigs. So I love The fact I have the best of both worlds- either working 12 hour days on a shoot, or having lots of time to think, read, write, walk and ride a horse. I approach writing as a discipline, and try to write a little every day. Eventually you get to the end, it’s like running a marathon.

Ranting Beast

You are already working on your second novel, would you say you have caught the writing bug?

Anne

I think I caught the bug a long time ago. Once I develop an idea, it scratches around in my head and won’t leave me in peace until I work it out and get it down in print! I’m editing and restructuring the second novel, but secretly I’ve also finished a third….

Ranting Beast

What will it be about and how do you prepare for a book?

Anne

The second one is about a monk in an enclosed order who falls in love with a younger woman, loses her, then decides to go and find her again.  His quest takes him to Paris,….but I can’t reveal the end!
As for preparation, an idea just takes hold and germinates, until a pattern emerges, with characters who become very real to me. I might scribble a loose structure, know how it will end, but don’t know the details of the journey. I often use graphs to indicate points along the way. I learnt this in writing screenplays.

Ranting Beast

You like to write poetry, what poets inspire you and will we see a poetry book anytime soon?

Anne

I only write the odd poem for myself whenever I have an experience, usually in nature, like when I climbed the Ballycumber Loop in south Wicklow. So I wouldn’t be trying to publish poetry, not yet anyway, as the ideas for novels are piling up inside, like little parachutists ready to jump out. :)

 

Under The Avalanche is Anne McCabe’s first novel which has received rave reviews,

read all about the novel here…

 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
TV Director and Novelist Anne McCabe On Her TV Career and First Novel, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Tagged with: