What this anniversary means to me by Sheila O’Flanagan – Guest post

Today I’m pleased to welcome Sheila O’Flanagan to the blog. To celebrate the publication of her 20th book, My Mother’s Secret, Sheila tells us what writing her book anniversary means to her.

I’m often asked if I ever dreamed that I’d be a published author – and of course I did, all the time! It was always an ambition to write a book and have it published. I remember my first editor, the late Kate Cruise O’Brien telling me that anyone could write one book, but not everyone had it in them to write a second or a third. She wanted to know if I thought I could do that, and I was so terrified that if I said no she wouldn’t take on my first book that I said ‘of course’ even though I hadn’t a clue how I was going to write a second book! I never in my wildest dreams expected to write twenty! Even now I can’t believe I’ve written that many. The best part about being a published writer is bringing the same joy and excitement I get from reading a favourite author to my own readers. With social media, readers can be in much closer contact with authors than ever before, and I love engaging with people about all sorts of books. It’s always lovely to hear from readers who’ve identified with certain characters or who say that reading one of my books has got them through a difficult time in their lives, or simply that they’ve enjoyed the book. That communication with readers is probably the nicest thing that’s happened for me over the course of writing my twenty books – whenever I’m feeling doubtful or unsure of what I’m doing (and every author is plagued by self doubt) I look at messages from my readers and feel inspired again. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished but each book is an individual journey for me as a writer. I always try to learn from the one that’s gone before so that the book I’m writing is the best it can be. Ten, twenty, thirty….who knows! I’m still writing and still learning.

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About the book:

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“From the No. 1 bestselling author of BAD BEHAVIOUR and IF YOU WERE ME comes an engaging, warm and thought-provoking new novel about a secret that can’t be kept under wraps any longer – whatever the consequences. Not to be missed by readers of Jane Green, Lisa Jewell and Marian Keyes.

When Steffie helps her two siblings organize a surprise wedding anniversary party for their parents her only worry is whether they’ll be pleased. What she doesn’t know is this is the day that her whole world will be turned upside down.

Jenny wants to be able to celebrate her ruby anniversary with the man she loves, but for forty years she has kept a secret. A secret that she can’t bear to hide any longer. But is it ever the right time to hurt the people closest to you?

As the entire family gather to toast the happy couple, they’re expecting a day to remember. The trouble is, it’s not going to be for the reasons they imagined…”

My Mother’s Secret was published by Headline on 2nd July 2015.

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