Eldest child of a journalist and a pharmacist, Maura loved the Arts at school.
“We had a drama festival and a musical every year.”
She took drama A ‘level and played the fiddle in a traditional band, but she only discovered her penchant for writing during a college year in San Diego.
“I did a short fiction course and loved it.”
Graduating, Maura worked in an Irish bar in Santa Monica for 18 months.
“I wrote sporadic features on my interactions with various characters I met in the bar for some of the Irish free papers.”
She spent the rest of her twenties going to and from America and Ireland.
“I did a writing MA in Galway, then it was back to the states for another three years.”
In 2017, receiving a Kildare County Council Arts Grant, she wrote her debut.
“I was 20,000 words in, when a publisher contacted me. I wrote most of it on my commutes.”
Meanwhile, she has been working in Dublin.
“It started as a Tech start-up. I’m still here six years later, but my job has chopped and changed.”
Who is Maura McElhone?
Date of birth: 1983 in Portstewart, Northern Ireland.
Education: Dominican College, Portstewart. Stirling University, Film Media and English, included a year in San Diego. NUI Galway, MA in Creative Writing.
Home: Maynooth, County Kildare.
Family: Husband, Sean. Parents Paul and Eimear. Brother and sister.
The Day Job: Customer Success Manager.
In Another Life: “I always wanted to be a vet.”
Favourite Writers: Sally Rooney: Rosie Walsh; Patricia Scanlan; Marian Keyes; Paul Howard; Mitch Album. Elin Hilderbrand.
Second Novel: “I’m writing fiction. I’m 20,000 words in.”
Top Tip: “Get the words down; then come back and edit.”
Website: www.fallingforafarmer.com Twitter: @maurawrites
The Debut: Falling For a Farmer. Mercier Press: €13.49. Kindle: €4.32.
When in 2014, Maura returned from America she felt rootless. Moving to Dublin, she secured a job, then a one-roomed apartment, but she still felt unsettled. Enter ‘Jack’ – a farmer from County Kildare. This delightful memoir details all the trials, tribulations and utter joys as Maura acquaints herself with country life, and transforms from a townie, to a full-blown farmer’s girlfriend.
The Verdict: A gorgeous read. It made me laugh, and cry.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 23rd November.
© Sue J Leonard. 2019.