A farmer’s daughter, and youngest of three, Sheila grew up listening to stories of the fifties when emigration was rife.
“My father was a seannachie, and the village I lived in was steeped in drama. I remember sitting on my father’s knee in the village hall watching Sive.”
Sheila applied to do journalism, but didn’t make it.
“I loved arts and makeup, so I trained as a makeup artist in Dublin, and went into beauty and alternative therapies.”
Starting work in Kilkenny, she then opened her own spa.
“I ran it for ten years, then I sold it, and we moved to County Wexford.”
Deciding to change direction, Sheila considered training to be a drama teacher, but instead, took a course in Creative Writing facilitated by writers Suzanne Power and John McKenna.
“They gave me confidence and said that I could do it.”
She published Making Lace, a contemporary novel, through a small digital company.
“Then my agent, Tracy Brennan, said, ‘Write what you really want.’”
Sheila started writing Kilbride House before the digital book was published.
“And in the big snow, of March 2018, when we were locked in, I immersed myself into the book. We lived on pancakes and Nutella, and by the time the thaw came, the book was finished.”
Who is Sheila Forsey?
Date of birth: 1970 in Wexford.
Education: Tech in Kilmuckridge.
Home: Kilmuckridge, County Wexford.
Family: Husband Shane. Children Ben, 15, Faye 13, and Matthew, 11. Two dogs, Memphis and Puppy.
The Day Job: “I give creative writing workshops.”
In Another Life: “I’d live in Rome, be a painter, and sit in coffee shops watching the world go by.”
Favourite Writers: Edna O’Brien; John B Keane; Douglas Kennedy; Nuala O’Connor; Caroline Busher; Kate Morton. “And I love memoir.”
Second Novel: The Jewellers Daughter.
Top Tip: “Don’t worry about marketing. If there’s a story in your soul, go with it.”
Website: www.sheilaforsey.wordpress.com Twitter: @SheilaForsey
The Debut: Kilbride House. Poolbeg: €9.99. Kindle: €4.46.
It’s the fifties in Kerry, when mixed marriage was frowned on, so when Victoria falls for a Catholic, they plan to elope. Fate intervenes. Two generations on, after her grandmother’s death, Lainey visits Kerry trying to untangle her family’s past.
The Verdict: A romantic family saga centred on secrets.