Tell us about yourself. Who is Gillian Duffy? Hi Everyone. I’m Gillian, I’m from Dublin, I’m the author of The LA Commandments, and I’m studying English and History in St. Patrick’s College, Dublin. Reading, writing, film, and music pretty much sum me up.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? No, not always, but I’ve always loved stories. When I was younger my mam brought me to the cinema almost every weekend and bought me lots of books (George’s Marvellous Medicine was my favourite), so storytelling has always been a big part of my life. I wrote some poetry when I was a teenager (that’s probably best kept at the bottom of the drawer forever), but I didn’t begin writing seriously until the end of 2008 following a trip to Los Angeles.
How long did it take you to write your first book? I finished the first draft of The LA Commandments really quickly (once I started I didn’t stop), but with rewrites and edits it probably took about eight months in total, spread over a couple of years. When I finished the first draft I moved on to my next novel almost straight away, so I didn’t begin rewriting The LA Commandments until late 2010 and it was published in August 2011.
How did you celebrate when it was published? After the launch I went for a meal with my family and friends. I couldn’t believe that my book had been published (I still can’t sometimes). It takes a while to sink in.
What inspired “The LA Commandments?” In 2008 I went on a family holiday to California, and my time in Los Angeles inspired the novel. We stayed in Hermosa Beach and Santa Monica during our stay, two of the main locations in the book, and I enjoyed it so much that it motivated me to begin writing again. It’s one of my favourite places and I hope to revisit next year.
What was the writing process like for you? Plot and character development are my favourite parts of the process, but editing can sometimes be tough. You become so attached to your work that it can be difficult to be objective. Thankfully we have editors for that impartial view.
If this were turned into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters? A movie – wouldn’t that be brilliant. How about Kristin Stewart for Jo, Zac Efron for Marc, Emma Stone for Suzie, and Eddie Redmayne for Paul. They would have to be able to deliver a convincing Irish accent or some re-writing would be on the cards.
Will there be a sequel? I have no plans for one at the moment, but who knows?
Which authors inspire you? I’ve just finished my second year in college, so I’ve been reading writers like Joyce, Conrad, Wilde, Plath, and Moore. Joe Dunthorne, Claire Keegan, and Sean O’Reilly are some contemporary writers that I really admire.
The Gift by Danielle Steel is one of my favourite books from the women’s fiction genre. I remember reading it when I was about eighteen on a beach in Cyprus, and the characters and plot stayed with me for a long time after I’d finished. That’s my sign of a good book.
Do you have any stories about how people react when you tell them you’re an author? Not really, I’m afraid. Irish people are generally laid back, so there hasn’t been any overzealous kissing, hugging, or screaming. All my family and friends are very supportive, though (in a passive kind of way).
What is the best advice that you’ve been given? Just be yourself and write what comes naturally.
Are you working on anything now? If so, can you share a little bit with us? I’m working on my second novel at the moment, which should be published in September. It’s a suspense/thriller also set in California. Let’s hope that you’ll like it.
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**Click HERE to read my 5-start review of “The L.A. Commandments!”