Caroline Busher graduated with a First Class Honours MA in Creative Writing from UCD. She is the Irish Times best-selling author of The Ghosts of Magnificent Children (Poolbeg Press) and is represented by Trace Literary Agency (USA). She is the recipient of many awards and was appointed the Reader in Residence with Wexford Public Library Services (2016-2017). Caroline is the Vice Chair of Wexford Literary Festival. Her forthcoming novel The Girl Who Ate The Stars will be released in October (2017) and is published by Poolbeg Press.
Q. Caroline, we are so happy to have you back on the programme for Dublin Book Festival this year. Your event for 2017 is The Ghostly World of Gothic Fiction which will take place in Raheny Library. Can you talk a little bit about this event?
Yes, well first of all thank you for having me back. I’m delighted to be taking part in the Dublin Book Festival again this year. So with The Ghostly World of Gothic Fiction, we’re going to delve into Gothic Literature, look at all the classics such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and we’re going to look at how Gothic Fiction writers created the Gothic World. We’ll be looking at things like atmosphere, how they created suspense, how place features as a character in Gothic Fiction as well and we are going to be creating a villain and looking at characterisation.
Q. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of your new book which is due for release in 2018. Can you give us an idea of what to expect from your second novel, The Girl Who Ate The Stars (Poolbeg Press)?
Yes, The Girl Who Ate The Stars, is set in the 1940’s during World War II. A girl called Lottie and her brother Albert are evacuated from Manchester to Wexford. During this time, a bomb is dropped on Wexford and it’s partly inspired by the true bombing of Campile Village in Wexford by Hitler in World War II. When this bomb is dropped it opens a portal to another world and Lottie and Albert enter this world called ‘Wolfland’. When they get there, they discover that the children who live in Wolfland are Werewolves. They have two hearts, the hearts of wolves and the hearts of children. There is one character called Cuán who has to ask Lottie’s help to escape. So it’s really about their relationship. There’s a lot of Gothic Fiction in there, I’m very excited about it.
Q. Your favoured genre of writing seems to be a unique mixture of historical fiction and sci-fi. I’m sure some budding authors watching are curious to know, how do you come up with these fantastical stories? Do you have any advice on how to write within this genre?
I love dark, twisted fairytales. One of my favourite authors would be Angela Carter, she was an amazing writer. My advice for those who want to write in this genre is to read as much as you can. I also love Folklore. My work is steeped in Folklore and History. When I’m not writing I’m going around Vintage Clothing Shops looking at historical objects. I absolutely love anything with a story to it or that could be a story potentially. So I suppose to keep your eyes open, allow your creativity to take over and never stop yourself. I always find that the first draft of a story is where you get all of your beautiful creative ideas and you can always go back and edit afterwards. Just go with what feels natural to you.
Q. Are there any other genres or themes that you think you might like to explore or venture into with your writing in the future?
I love poetry actually. When I was doing my MA I really enjoyed the poetry element of the course. When I’m writing I read a lot of poetry so perhaps in the future, I might like to write some more poems. I also love short stories and prior to writing my novel I got a few awards for short story writing so I might venture into doing a short story collection. All of my work tends to have a historical slant to it. I love looking at the past and the conversation between the past and the present is very rich to me. There are lots of themes and a lot of scope there so I think those themes will always run through my work.
Q. It’s coming up to my favourite time of year, Halloween. I’m sure you have a good recommendation for a fitting Halloween novel. What is your favourite spooky story?
There are so many that I love. I just adore that genre completely, anything to do with horror. Bram Stoker’s Dracula obviously is at the top of my recommendations. I love Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Wuthering Heights is another beautiful book that’s perfect for this time of year. If you’re looking for a classic novel that’s a little bit more on the scary side, I’d really recommend The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.
This interview was recorded in ‘The Wilds’ café in Enniscorthy, with thanks to Paula Asple for her hospitality. Watch clips from this interview on our Instagram page here.