Q&A with Miriam McGuirk

Today I’m joining the blog tour for Second Chances. I’m sharing my Q&A with the author with thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the tour and to Miriam McGuirk for answering my questions!

Have you always wanted to write?

Yes. As a little girl I was the storyteller and script writer, creating and staging plays at my grandparent’s house in Kinsale, Co. Cork. Relatives would arrive from America, England, and Australia over the summer holidays and happily paid an entrance fee to watch our plays and shows.

What were your previous jobs? Have they helped you with your writing process?

My careers were setting up and managing restaurants in the UK and Ireland. After which I made the transition into the health club industry. I believed I would eventually write about health and well-being and create cookery books, both being my absolute passions.

Boudie, one of the characters from my new book, Second Chances, is relatable to me and my work experiences.

What was your inspiration for Second Chances….?

I wanted to write a novel that embraced the human spirit, across generations, with humour, poignancy and feel-good at its heart. Second Chances began with me observing a forlorn looking woman walking her dog every morning on the same route as myself. What happened in this woman’s life? Curious, they prompted me to write a short story. I knew I could develop the theme into a novel that became Second Chances.

How do you construct your characters? 

My process to construct the characters is, making copious notes. Once I can visualise them, I give them appropriate names with their distinctive personalities.

Their backstories become intertwined to create the complete novel. 

With Second Chances, Florence and her dog Lulabelle are based on that sad looking woman. Florence is older, taller, and I decided the dog was an Irish Wolfhound.

Do they have traits of people you know?

Yes. Some may have a few of my traits or are people I have known in my past. Others, I create and develop until they become real and my friends.

What does your writing process look like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I am two thirds a planner and the rest – panster. I believe in spontaneity and the transition from pen to the computer too. 

How did you research? Did you enjoy it?

I researched some of Second Chances, by talking to my husband as his father was in the Indian army and had a pivotal role during Partition in 1947.

Some of my research took me back to when I first arrived In London. Google is a great resource. Having conversations with my brother-in -law who owns a vintage Morgan helped. I gave my character Florence, a 1936 Morgan gifted to her by her father. Great fun.

Who are your favourite writers? Are you influenced by them?

My favourite writers over the last years 

Rachel Joyce, Ruth Hogan, Dinah Jeffries. Don’t know that I am influenced, but I believe we catch glimpses of our lives through beautifully written books.

If you could invite three people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be and why?

My adorable Grandmother-She was my biggest cheerleader. At this stage of my life, I have a lot of questions for her.

Marian Keyes – What an entertaining character and renowned author.

Love her gift of humour and her personality. 

Stig Abel – Times Radio Presenter, Journalist, Avid and passionate reader, and author. I would enjoy chatting with him because of his different outlook on life, people, and his thoughts on the books he reads.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?

Boris Johnson- I think many of us know that one!

Who would play the main character/s in a film version of Second Chances? 

Do I have to choose! Keeley Hawes, Kate Winslet, Nicola Walker, Reese Witherspoon, or Sienna Miller …. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Walking daily especially along the beach or coastline. Equally swimming in the healing sea water, only ten minutes from my home. I meditate, and do daily yoga stretches, Cook and Bake when I am able. Reading a diverse range of books. I enjoy the cinema when I get a chance to go to Kino in Rye, East Sussex.

What is next for you? 

I am currently writing a new collection of short stories. And I welcome more opportunities for speaking events, sharing my words, and engaging again with my audience.


Book? The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce 

Film? Beaches 

Band/Singer? Sting, 

TV show? Any documentary about authors and creatives or 

Would I Lie to You- brilliant laugh out loud moments.

Colour? Coral 

Place? Whether I am in South West Turkey, Rye, or Ireland, the sea is my happy place every time.

Biscuit? I have never been a biscuit kinda gal. Unlike Colonel Bryce Beckwith and Florence from Second Chances, as kids in India, they enjoyed custard creams and digestives sent over by friends from England.


Second Chances is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:

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