Interviewed by Sue Leonard.
Published in the Irish Examiner on 12th October.
Beginner’s Pluck Virginia Gilbert.
Virginia’s father was a film director. As a teenager, she helped him make a movie on Oscar Wilde. She loved Ireland, and resolved to go to university here. After college, she worked for the film producer John Kelleher, and made a documentary on Lord Haw Haw for RTE.
“I was more interested in the writing and directing side, so I gave up my job and started writing short films and short fiction.”
Virginia’s debut feature film, based on her own short story, starred Brenda Fricker. Her short stories have been published internationally and broadcast on BBC and RTE.
“The novel seemed a natural progression. I set a daily word count and wrote the first draft in a month.”
Who is Virginia Gilbert?
Date of birth: 1980 in Harrow, London.
Education: North London Collegiate School; Trinity College Dublin. English and drama. “I directed a lot for Players.”
Home: Just moved to London having spent 15 years in Dublin.
Family: Husband, Keith Farnan a stand-up comedian from Cork.
The Day Job: Working writer and filmmaker.
Interests: Film, theatre, comedy, spending time with loved ones, and I’m a great walker.
Favourite Writers: John Fowles; Doris Lessing; Philip Roth; Ian McEwan; Claire Messud; Thomas Hardy; DH Lawrence; the Brontes; Dickens.
Second Novel: There’s an idea there.
Top Writing Tip: There’s no magic. Writer’s write. You need courage, stamina and strategies to push through when the critical inner-voices start.
Web: no. Twitter: No.
The Debut: Travelling Companion. Liberties Press: :€17.25. Kindle: Not available in Ireland.
On his first trip abroad, Michael finds himself alone on a touristy Greek Island. Georgie, there to relax and reconnect with her boyfriend, takes pity on him. She chats to him each morning whilst her boyfriend sleeps. But Michael, concocting an inner fantasy life, decides to test her loyalty – with devastating consequences.
“I’m fascinated by the disconnect between what we present to the world, how others see us, and what is really going on.”
The Verdict: A well observed debut with a terrifying twist ending.