Interview Q

Author Interview with Lamorna Ireland

In our author interview with Lamorna Ireland, we get an insight into how her rich Cornish heritage has influenced and shaped her writing today.

Tell us a little about yourself

I am a Cornish writer and teacher, living in the heart of Cornwall with my husband, my son and my crazy whippet, Rupert. I am very proud of my Cornish heritage, with our family history deriving from Cornwall all the way back to the 1500s, so I could not base my stories and novels anywhere else in the world other than my beautiful home county.

With a BA(Hons) in Music Theatre and a PGCE in English & Drama, I am now a full time teacher of English at a local secondary school. I am a dedicated wife to my wonderful husband and mother to my beautiful son, so there’s never a wealth of time to write. However, writing to me is like breathing so I find myself squeezing in the writing time whenever I can. We are a family of walkers, so this is also a fantastic time to mull over ideas with my husband. I love how invested he becomes in my characters – we really do make a brilliant team!

I’ve recently fallen in love with blogging, particularly blogging about visits to all my favourite tearooms and coffee shops, which was an alternative way to tour my debut novel ‘Unexpected Beginnings’. My working life is fast paced and chaotic most of the time, especially with juggling my three year old, so I just love to sit and ponder over a cup of coffee, watching the world go by, whenever I get the chance.

  • I write what I love to read, so it'll come as no surprise that I love to read contemporary romance and women's fiction. My absolute favourite book would have to be Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, with Lou Clarke being the most fascinating female lead. It was such a touching story and broke away from the traditional mould of what you tend to expect in a romance.

  • It depends. If you asked me in the thick of a typically chaotic school term, I would have laughed and said, 'yeah, I barely get the childcare drop off, the meetings and the lessons resources prepared in time in the mornings, let alone breakfast.'If you ask me on a weekend or during my holidays, I will be able to confirm that my son and I have this really cool arrangement where he wakes me up at 5:30am and we eat chocolate spread on toast together in companionable silence. There's a lot of coffee involved too - for me that is. I'm calling it an arrangement by the way, it makes me sound in control of my early bird toddler.

  • I am a total sucker for a good romance story. Mostly I love contemporary romance, but I'll also enjoy a good historical or fantasy romance.

  • I am a rather average UK size 6. I love being bare foot whenever I can, but if I have to wear footwear then I'll just shove my feet into sandals or trainers. You will never, ever see me in heels, else I'll be flat on my face.

  • Writing, for me, is like breathing. I find it so therapeutic. If I'm not writing, then my stories and characters are constantly playing little film reels in my head, so I feel like I must get them down in some way at some point. I write romance because I love the idea of my writing making people happy. The warm, wholesome feeling I get from reading romance novels or watching Richard Curtis films on the TV, that's what I aim for people to experience in my writing.

  • Yes, I did. I have always had a fascination with the written word and the way it has the power to trigger such emotions and empathy. It's one of the reasons why English teaching became my vocation, to spread that joy for reading and writing in our young people.

  • My sister suffers from a neurological condition known as trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia (more commonly known as ‘cluster head aches’). It’s a condition often misunderstood by a lot of people because of the word ‘headaches’ in the nickname, so firstly I’d wanted to find a way of raising awareness of the condition and show the realities of its crippling symptoms. From there my main protagonist, Emily Miller, was created, a fictional Cluster Head who could show my readers exactly how the condition can alter and complicate your lifestyle, not to mention can cause the most excruciating pain. Eventually, Unexpected Beginnings kind of just turned into this big romance story, with an unexpected twist into the complicated tangles of family troubles, grief and love. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing Emily’s story and my sister has played a bit part in this.

  • Oh, absolutely the heroine. My husband and I have quite the love story to tell, so I think the last fourteen years together would make quite a lovely romance. Yes I know, I'm soppy!

  • I alternate between writing at my desk, writing in my conservatory, or writing on the sofa next to my husband whilst he watches TV - it depends how close a deadline is. All of this is done on my trusty laptop. In the early days of a WIP, I'll jot ideas down on paper or create big spider diagrams, but once I've started actually committing to and fleshing out the story, I can only concentrate on my laptop, as my typing is much faster than my hand writing and can keep up better with my brain. I think a part of me fantasises over the idea of being one of those writers who can sit in a coffee shop and be super productive, but I end up getting far too distracted with the people-watching and the coffee-drinking and the cake-eating.

  • Oh my goodness, there is so much about Cornwall that inspires me. I feel a deep connection to the county, and I can thank my mum for this as she is a keen amateur family historian and has brought the history of Cornwall to life for me in her research. Cornwall is simply rich with myths, legends and folklore - it's such a magical place with the whisperings of a promising story. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the world.

  • For me, it's the characters. I enjoy fabricating new fictional lives from scratch, but I just love to see them develop into what feels like real people. Emotionally, I invest a lot in my characters, so when they succeed in something I celebrate. When they make a gargantuan mistake, I want to shout at the laptop 'what are you doing, you idiot?'Honestly, I don't have a huge amount of control over my characters when they get to this stage. Of course, being a romance writer, I then love to see how relationships between my characters grow, and how their individual stories intertwine.

  • Living in Cornwall, there is a sense of community, and, in a way, that way of living has helped shape my writing. I have been fortunate enough to grow up in the countryside, to appreciate nature, and to delight in the simplicities of life. All of this tends to come through in my writing, as I like to focus on the smaller thriving communities of country, coast and creek.

  • Right...OK. This might be a little embarrassing now. When I was a young girl, a relative made me the most beautiful Pocahontas outfit. I was a bit of a wild child, so instantly fell in love with the idea of running barefoot through the open fields of my family estate, letting the wind blow through my hair and becoming one with nature. Yeah...pretty sure these days it would make a great 'what I think I look like'/'what I actually look like' meme.

  • I'll be honest, I'm not a great lover of cooking. I inherited the gardening gene from my family, but I certainly haven't inherited the rich culinary gene which runs through my family. Don't get me wrong, I am a capable cook in the kitchen and can make a pretty mean roast. My husband would say that my signature dish is lasagne. But I much prefer the eating part of it all, rather than the cooking part.

  • I can remember writing being a big part of my life from a young age. It was the task I looked forward to the most in school, it was stereotypically my emotional outlet during my teen years and it's something I have dreamed of making a living from. I had been working on 'Unexpected Beginnings' for a few years before I finally braved sharing it with the world this April 2020. I still have to remember sometimes to confidently declare myself a writer and to put my inhibitions to one side when speaking to people in person about my work. But my confidence grows every day, with a wonderful community of readers now following my writing journey.

  • Write as often as possible, and treat reading as part of the process. My own writing voice and style has only developed due to the sheer volume of books I have read over the years. I mostly read books from my own genre, simply because that is the type of book I enjoy, but I also read across other genres sometimes to, just to sample a different style and learn new techniques.Writing is an art and you need to study your craft through other writers' work.

  • I do. His name is Rupert and he's a gorgeous blue whippet. We are part of a whippet community in Cornwall, where owners and their whippets often meet up for large 'zoomies' on the beach. We've been known to invade Perranporth beach, during the winter months, with over fifty whippets in one go. Rupert (AKA Roopy-Poopy, Poopy, Poopster, Roops) is the most gentle and good-natured dog I have ever known - and I used to work as a dog groomer, so I've met a lot of dogs in my lifetime - and we just love him to bits. He's also really spoilt, has his own armchair and would happily lounge in it for the entire day. Oh, and he has his own superman pyjamas for the winter because whippets don't have an insulating layer to their coat.

  • I think I'd probably have to be a little song bird, so I could fly high in the sky and sing merrily in the tree tops.

  • I love music. Listening to certain types of music is a great way to mull over ideas and to bring visuals to my mind, to awaken and revive the emotions that are needed for the writing task ahead. However, I cannot listen to music once I begin the writing process. I don't mind the gentle murmur of background noise or distant instrumental music, but apart from that, music would just be a huge distraction for me and would stop me from being able to hear my writing voice.