Interviewed by Sue Leonard.
Published on 8th November, 2014
Beginner’s Pluck Justine Kyle McGrath.
As a child Justine kept a diary. In boarding school she’d tell stories to the other girls, and in her twenties she attended creative writing classes. But studying languages at college, she got sidetracked.
“I worked in marketing, in software and internet companies, using my languages. Then I became a freelance teacher of French and Spanish, teaching adults in various colleges. I still do that, and teach privately, giving grinds.”
Always close to her father, Justine was delighted when he agreed to let her write his story.
“I loved the process. I learned most from the editing; that taught me so much.”
Who is Justine Kyle McGrath
Date of birth: 17th June 1971 in Zambia.
Education: A’Levels at Methodist College Belfast. Sterling University; French and Spanish.
Home: Lusk, County Dublin.
Family: Husband, Conor. One brother, Caleb.
The Day Job: A freelance French and Spanish teacher, and a career coach. “I help Leaving Certificate Students, and those in work. I’ll work with anybody.”
Interests: Trying to keep fit. “I love reading about psychology, human behaviour, and emotional intelligence. And being a linguist, I adore French cinema.”
Favourite Writers: Barbara Kingsolver, Edna O’Brien, Douglas Kennedy.
Second Book: I’ve already started my own memoir of growing up in Zambia, and going to boarding school in Hollywood, near Belfast. At nine, a girl told me Belfast would be bombed the next day. I thought it was my last day of life!
Top Writing Tip: I’m learning my craft, but I am helped by studying great writers. But you don’t copy them – you find your unique writing voice. And write every day to get it flowing.
Web: www.equilibria.ie Twitter: @scarlettjustine
The Debut: Conversations with my Father: Jack Kyle. Hachette Ireland:€17.99. Kindle:€6.38.
A Rugby giant, Jack Kyle is much more than a sporting legend. Whilst contributing to Ireland’s Grand Slam he was studying to be a doctor. This delightful account shows the doctor in Zambia, and as a family man. It comprises conversations with his daughter, the author, Justine.
“I learned that his life wasn’t always easy. The medical exams took effort – he didn’t just sail through.”
The Verdict: Much more than a sports book, this is a nostalgic look at a full life wisely lived.
©Sue Leonard 2014