Sarah Breen: ‘I get excited when I see turf being cut. If I can see turf it means I’m on my holidays’

Breen, co-author of the Aisling series, talks about the west coast, being an only child and her phobia of blimps

Sarah Breen, originally from Borris, Co Carlow, lives in Dublin 7 with her husband and three children
How agreeable are you?

Extremely. If the people around me are happy then so am I. Life is less stressful when you’re easy-going.

What’s your middle name and what do you think of it?

Jennifer, which I always thought was quite glamorous for an 1980s child in rural Ireland. It could easily have been Bernadette.

Where is your favourite place in Ireland?

I am obsessed with the west coast. My kids tease me because I get excited when I see turf being cut. But if I can see turf it means I’m on my holidays. We were just in Achill for a long weekend and it was heaven. When I win the Euromillions I’ll buy a little house there or in Connemara and just look at the sea all day.

Describe yourself in three words.

Agreeable. Turf-loving.

When did you last get angry?

I lose my mind when people drive or park their cars on the footpath. It’s rampant in my part of Dublin, so several times already today.

What have you lost that you would like to have back?

The ability to sleep in at the weekend. Someone always wakes me at the crack of dawn and then I’m up for the day. It’s very unfair.

What’s your strongest childhood memory?

My grandmother, my mother and my aunts sitting around the kitchen table in a cloud of smoke, cackling. I used to climb into a press in the kitchen so I could earwig on their conversations. I think I was about four.

Where do you come in your family’s birth order, and has this defined you?

I’m an only child. Everyone assumes I must have been spoiled but I don’t think I was. All I ever wanted was a sibling. I’m very invested in my friendships as a result.

What do you expect to happen when you die?

I think you get to do it all again. I was dealt a pretty good hand this time so just hoping for the best really.

When were you happiest?

I turned 40 two years ago and it was the best weekend of my life. I’m an Oasis obsessive and Liam Gallagher’s record company sent me and my good friend and collaborator Emer McLysaght to see him play in Knebworth. Then I came home and had a little party with my family and best friends. The next day my husband surprised me with a night in the Merrion. I cried multiple times because how did I get so lucky?

Which actor would play you in a biopic about your life?

I would like to see Drew Barrymore attempt a Carlow accent.

What’s your biggest career/personal regret?

I wish I’d stayed on in college and got a degree. It’s not that I need one in my line of work, I’d just like to have it because everyone else does. I’d happily take an honorary one if it was going.

Have you any psychological quirks?

I’ve had a phobia of blimps since I read about the Hindenberg disaster when I was about 11. It doesn’t affect my day-to-day life but you’d be surprised where they pop up. My legs go funny when I see one.