Style Stories: Alice Ryan, Author
If a sun lounger in warmer climes is calling out to you, or you’re heading on a little staycation, you’re going to need a good book in tow. Alice Ryan – whose debut novel There’s Been A Little Incident scooped Newcomer of the Year 2022 at the An Post Book Awards – shares her writing process and her top summer reads.
My debut novel There’s Been A Little Incident is about family and the secrets we keep…I come from a very close and eclectic extended family and one day the thought occurred to me: what would happen if one of us ran away? The idea lodged and I wrote the outline for a madcap chase involving aunts, uncles and cousins while I was on a flight from Dublin to London.
My journey to getting published was brutal…There's Been A Little Incident is actually the second book I've written – the first never made it past the slush pile. I was working full time while writing and I still am. It is incredibly difficult to find the time to write, I find it only really happens in tiny bursts miraculously snatched from real life.
My pile of must-read books for summer is high…Firstly, please read Curtis Sittenfeld's latest book Romantic Comedy. It's about a famous pop star who falls in love with a staff writer at a show similar to Saturday Night Live. It's funny, smart and uplifting: I’d highly recommend it. I have just started Yellowface by R.F Kuang and I am totally gripped. It’s about a writer who steals another writer's unpublished manuscript and publishes it as her own. It deals with racism, cultural appropriation and it is razor sharp. Another book on my reading pile is Michelle Gallen's Factory Girls. It’s about a young girl who gets a summer job in a factory during the troubles in the North – I've heard wonderful things about it.
Some books are worth re-reading each summer…Last summer I re-read Nora Ephron's Heartburn on the beach in Kerry – it gets better every time. I might treat myself to it again this summer.
When it comes to jewellery, my taste is always evolving…I used to wear thin and understated pieces now I'm into more dramatic, geometric jewellery at the moment. That being said, I never leave the house without earrings, whether it's a simple stud, or a major hoop, my ears need to be dressed for the day.
Jewellery is about memory, too…My engagement ring is the one my dad bought for my mom over 40 years ago. I love being able to keep her with me.
My ideal summer day out… would involve a day at the beach with my husband and daughter – and a good book!
There's Been A Little Incident By Alice Ryan (published by Head of Zeus) is available in paperback now.