Olive Collins

Posted by Sue Leonard on Thursday 6th October 2016

After dropping out of college, Olive managed a lab in Thurles before moving to England. From there it was off to Israel to work in a Kibbutz.

“That was horrendous, so I went to Tel Aviv, which I loved. I worked, amongst other things, as a  plasterer on a building site.”

Back in Ireland, Olive worked in telesales. Then, successfully working in advertising  in different magazines, she bought a house in Naas. Once the recession hit, she worked in KFM Radio, but left last January for I Radio.

“Then I got my book deal. I couldn’t do that job, and write my second book, so I let out my house, and moved home to Thurles.”

The debut took about three years. “The job, and life got in the way. I’d put it away for a few months at a time.”

Who is Olive Collins

Date of birth: 14th March 1972 in Thurles.

Education:  Presentation Convent, Thurles; Limerick Institute of Technology, Chemistry, for 2 years.

Home:  Thurles.

Family: Mother. “My father, a Garda, died 11 years ago.”

The Day Job: Marketing for a wedding company.

Interests:  People. Food. Conversation. Humour.

Favourite Writers: Elizabeth Strout; Edna O’Brien; Jennifer Johnston; William Trevor; Ngozi Adichie Chimamanda; John McGahern.

Second Novel: It’s based in Jamaica in 1810.

Top Tip: Put your bum on the seat. You have to write the words.

Twitter: @Olivecollins

The Debut: The Memory of Music. Poolbeg: €16.99.   Kindle: €5.81. 

Betty O’Fogarty has high expectations of married life in Dublin; but her violin maker husband, Seamus, rents a tenement, and gets pulled into the 1916 rising. She must live by her wits if she is to flourish during the following turbulent years.

Her daughter, Isabel, is troubled. She has witnessed violence, and has a difficult relationship with her mother. Can she put the past behind her? A century on, Betty’s descendents uncover the truth.

 “My grandmother’s father was involved in the civil war, and war of independence; as a child she was a runner for the IRA. She was reluctant to talk, but researching I was struck by how much people sacrificed.”

The Verdict: An enjoyable, deftly written debut, bringing history to life. It shows what the rising and war of independence was like for women.

Published in the Irish Examiner on 1st October, 2016. 

© Sue Leonard. 2016 

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