With book sales upwards of 33 million and counting - alongside a string of awards and other accolades - Irish literary heavyweight, Marian Keyes is one of the most successful female authors of all time.
“Watermelon”, “Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married”,“This Charming Man” - just a few of the titles that have topped the best-seller lists during a career spanning more than 20 years.
And now the author is back with with her latest offering - a collection of autobiographical observations entitled, “Making It Up As I Go Along.”
Last summer I went to Italy will all my brothers and sisters and their kids and various in-laws - there were 17 of us in total. We stayed in a beautiful villa in Tuscany, which had its own vegetable garden and pizza oven.
I remember my sister and I went to a flea market - which I love - so I was in my element, rummaging through bric-a-brac. The weather was beautiful, we were all together and everyone got on so well. Even though it wasn’t a very exciting holiday, it was such a happy week.
Television or books. I went to Antartica because I’d read a book, which was set there and currently I’m obsessed with countries in the frozen north because I’ve been watching so much Swedish and Danish television!
I always take Earplugs. Firstly, they’re great for flights - and I sleep a lot on the plane! Secondly, traveling so much for various book tours and speaking engagements means staying in noisy hotels. They’re an essential item.
Going on a walking holiday. Myself and my husband do something called ‘flashpacking’, which is where a company takes all your luggage and drops it at the next hotel, while you spend the day walking there, through vineyards or whatever. To walk is always fairly meditative and I find being away from TV and emails is great.
Saying that, I’m open to most types of holiday, but a beach break has to be my least favourite - and my least relaxing. I’m so not a beach person. It’s good that I live in Ireland, because I don’t do well in the heat. It makes me feel uncomfortable and panicked…and really bored!
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It may be a cliche, but Barcelona is pretty fabulous. Also, speaking of Spain, San Sebastian is the most incredibly fabulous place. I didn’t really know anything about it, but after I went I was truly won over. It’s so beautiful and the food is amazing. I was so happy when I was there. If you’re into food then it has so many world renowned restaurants dotted around its beautiful squares and streets.
I don’t watch movies and I’m not sure why - I just can’t seem to concentrate. Even on the long flight over to Australia, I just couldn’t watch a movie. Instead, I’ll read a book - usually something I’ve saved for a flight, which I know will be gripping and not too demanding - and just get engrossed in that.
This sounds like I’m a right show off, but the Le Cinq restaurant in Paris is where I had the most amazing meal of my entire life. It’s a three Michelin-star restaurant, which sounds very intimidating, but it’s so not - the waiters behave like your grandfather!
There are so many beautiful touches there, but my favourite is at the end of the meal when they come around with an old fashioned sweets trolley and fill you up a cardboard box of different desserts. The food is fab, but it’s really that feeling of being taken care of that makes the place stand out for me.
Be enquiring. Get out there and take those extra few steps, go down that alley and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
I’d like to go to China, mainly because I haven’t been and it’s changing so quickly. I’d like to still see it while there’s still part of the old China there. For similar reasons, I’d also love to go to Burma - or Myanmar as it’s now known. That’s another one that’s changing so quickly. I’m very responsive to political situations - as places change due to regimes changing, I’ll go or not go to a place.
Marian’s new book “Making It Up As I Go Along” is out now.
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