Eva Dolan on embracing rejection

This week, to mark the end of our How to Write a Book series, we have a daily Q&A with a debut author

Author Eva Dolan

Author Eva Dolan


Eva Dolan is an Essex-based copywriter, who was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger for unpublished authors as a teenager. Her first novel is Long Way Home and the second book in the series will be published in 2015. What was the first book to make an impression on you? The Witches by Roald Dahl.

What was your favourite book as a child? The Chrysalids by John Wyndham.

And what is your favourite book or books now? Zola’s Rougon-Macquart novels.

What is your favourite quotation? “Life is a gamble, at terrible odds – if it was a bet you wouldn’t take it.” Who is your favourite fictional character? Becky Sharpe.

Who is the most underrated Irish author? Molly Keane’s books deserve a wider audience.

Which do you prefer – ebooks or the traditional print version? Ebooks for paperbacks, print for hardbacks.

What is the most beautiful book you own? An illustrated edition of The Odyssey I was given as a child.

Where and how do you write? Heavily caffeinated in my study, at a desk facing a blank wall to minimise distractions.

What book changed the way you think about fiction? Mrs Dalloway.

What is the most research you have done for a book? The subject matter of Long Way Home was completely new to me so needed a lot of research.

What book influenced you the most? Harrington on Hold ’Em – fixed some major leaks in my poker game.

What book would you give to a friend’s child on their 18th birthday? Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates as a warning against conformity.

What book do you wish you had read when you were young? The Catcher in the Rye. Suspect the impact was lost on me in my 20s.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author? Embrace rejection; it hurts but it’s inevitable and you will learn from it.

What weight do you give reviews? Depends who the reviewer is . . .

Where do you see the publishing industry going? It will adapt and survive, as always, but I think it will become increasingly polarised.

What writing trends have struck you lately? Cross-genre fiction is throwing up some interesting books.

What lessons have you learned about life from reading? Reading probably isn’t the best way to learn life lessons.

What has being a writer taught you? That a suspicious mind is a valuable asset.

Which writers, living or dead, would you invite to your dream dinner party? Elmore Leonard, Al Alvarez, Christopher Marlowe, Agatha Christie and Martin Amis.

What is the funniest scene you’ve read? Nonfiction, but the mention in Tim Moore’s Gironimo about a rider in the 1914 Giro being accompanied by his mother on a penny farthing, feeding him porridge and hitting hostile fans with an umbrella, made me giggle.

What is your favourite word? Rambunctious.

If you were to write a historical novel, which event or figure would be your subject? Rasputin has always fascinated me.


Take the first step to your debut novel with the Irish Times How to Write a Book series.

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