After a short spell teaching, Justine became a journalist, working in TV. Starting as a researcher, she worked as an Associate Producer, and in 2007, presented a series based on her own book, High Society. In 2009 she was the ghost-writer on a memoir. She now reports for the Sunday Business Post.
Her debut started life as a short story.
“My daughter has a mild disability, and that started me thinking about the effect of a visible difference. The story was shortlisted for a competition at Listowel. After that the characters grew and the story gained momentum. I really enjoyed writing it. It was a way of untangling my own thoughts and feelings.”
Who is Justine Delaney Wilson
Date of birth: 2nd September, 1974 in Dublin.
Education: Mount Sackville, Dublin. Trinity College Dublin, English. DIT: Post Grad in Journalism.
Home: Celbridge, County Kildare
Family: Husband Matthew, Morgan 17, Reuben 9, and Lily Rose, 8.
The Day Job: Writer journalist and mother.
Interests: Film. Eating Out. Doing things, like cycling, with the children.
Favourite Writers: Belinda McKeon; Anne Enright; Nuala O’Connor; Rachael Cusk; David Sedaris; Joanna Walsh; Claire Kilroy.
Second Novel: “It a standalone book, but it follows the same characters.”
Top Tip: “Just get the words down. It’s easy to work with them once they are there.”
The Debut: The Difference. Hachette Books Ireland: €17.99 Kindle: €10.99.
Beth and Steve are delighted at the birth of their daughter, Ismae. She is beautiful, but when it becomes clear that she is different, they are confused, and struggle to cope with their new reality.
Love grows, but the reactions of others accentuate Beth’s growing unease with her suburban surroundings. Then she makes a discovery that threatens to break her.
Ismae elicits love; but will the pressures of having a child with a visible difference drive her parents apart, or can she be the catalyst to allow them to change and move on?
“The book is not ‘about’ a girl with Down Syndrome; it’s about families, and feeling at odds with things, and trying to break free of the walls you have built for yourself as you change.”
The Verdict: This is a stunning debut, with subtle, realistic characterisation. Ismae will win reader’s hearts.
Published in The Irish Examiner, 21st May
© Sue Leonard. 2016