Episode 6

Finding characters, PS I Love You and lessons from 18 novels with Cecelia Ahern

Cecelia Ahern almost needs no introduction. She is the best selling novelist at 21 when her first book PS I Love You was published and later made into a hit film. Since then she has published 17 other books, sold more than 25 million copies of her books in more than 40 countries. Her highly acclaimed collection of stories, Roar, is being adapted for Apple TV and stars Nicole Kidman and several other huge names. Her latest, and 18th novel, Freckles is out now. 

Our interview begins at 18 minutes. 

Mini book club: It's Not You, It's Me by Gabrielle Williams

A fun and unique time-travel/body switch story catapulting a 40-year-old woman from 2020 back into the body of a 1980s teenager. 

We’ve previously interviewed Gabrielle when her book My Life as a Hashtag was published. You can listen to that here (or search the podcast feed)

*Note: We both received PR copies from the team at Allen & Unwin. 

In this interview, we chat about:

  • The conversation which sparked the premise for Freckles based on the idea that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with
  • Why Cecelia felt drawn to developing a character who was a parking warden and how Allegra’s voice came to her
  • Why Cecelia chose to set part of the book on Valentia Island in County Kerry
  • How Cecelia knows an idea is worth being a book (and the high that comes with it)
  • Cecelia’s writing process and  what she has to get right before she starts a draft (and the advice she ALWAYS gets from her editor even after 18 books)
  • Reflecting on her debut novel PS I Love You and its wild success
  • Why Cecelia re-visited the world of PS I Love You with Postscript
  • The advice Cecelia would give to her younger self as a writer and person
  • The Apple TV adaptation of her short story collection Roar

Books and other things mentioned:

  • Australian Reading Hour (check them out on social media here)
  • Space Hopper (which we chatted about in  episode 4 of this season)
  • Friends
  • Back to the Future
  • Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

Follow Cecelia @official_ceceliaahern. Freckles is available now.

Follow us on Instagram @betterwordspod

Please note that Caitlin's job at HarperCollins Publishers did not affect our decision to invite Cecelia to be a guest, we're delighted to have her and hope you enjoy this episode. Michelle also read a PR copy.

About the Podcast

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Better Words

About your hosts

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Caitlin Toohey

Hi, I'm Caitlin! I've been on bookstagram since 2016, a podcaster since 2017, and worked in publishing since 2019. So books and reading are my entire life. When I'm not reading, I like listening to Taylor Swift, watching sitcoms, and generally being a theatre kid.
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Michelle Gately

Hi, I'm Michelle! I'm an Aussie living in the UK, working as a bookseller at Waterstones. I'm obsessed with storytelling in all its forms – I spend as much time watching TV or listening to podcasts as I do reading. Other hobbies include bouldering, hiking and generally obsessing about my pug Percy.