Derbhile Dromey is an Irish writer from County Waterford who has just published her first novel, The Pink Cage, with Book Republic. She’s on a blog tour this week to promote the novel and today she stopped off here for an interview about the book, her writing and the music that inspired it.
Derek: Hi Derbhile and welcome to the blog. First off, would you like to tell us a little bit about your new novel The Pink Cage?
Derbhile: It’s about a 26 year old freelance proofreader and DJ called Astrid Johnson who has hair the colour of day old snow. She finds herself on a ski trip for the visually impaired, which prompts an avalanche of memories, of the time she spent in a school for visually impaired girls – the ‘pink cage’ of the novel’s title and of Jazz, who is not quite her brother and not quite her lover.
Derek: Because this blog is about writing and music, I wanted to ask you about both the writing of this book and about the music that inspired and runs through it. Firstly, do you have a writing regime? A particular place or time of the day when you write?
Derbhile: I write whenever I can. I tend to believe you can’t wait for the right time – you just get on with it. The Pink Cage was written when my professional writing duties were finished, in the evenings and at weekends. But I do find mornings a better time to write.
Derek: When you were writing The Pink Cage, did you plot it all out in advance or just write as you went along?
Derbhile: I wrote it as I went along. Then in further drafts I gave it a structure.
Derek: Looking at the The Pink Cage playlist on YouTube (link: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?p=PLC148C67E381FF987), there’s a lot of ‘90s dance music on there (Orbital, The Prodigy, etc.) Were you a ‘90s raver?
Derbhile: I was a bit young and a bit too much of a geek to be a raver during its heyday. But I did get a glorious high listening to the music on my walkman in my bedroom. Then I went on a French course the summer I was 15 and let loose on the dance floor.
Derek: In relation to the last question, how much of you is in, Astrid, your main character?
Derbhile: She’s me with no conscience! Yes, there is a fair bit of me in her, but I’d like to think I’m a small bit nicer.
Derek: Who would be your favourite bands and what would be your favourite songs from that era?
Derbhile: Music is more about songs for me than bands. But The Prodigy and 2 Unlimited stand out. That’s who I liked at the time. I discovered great songs afterwards that were from that era, but they passed me by at the time, sogs like Loaded by Primal Scream and of course, Unfinished by Massive Attack.
Derek: What contemporary music do you listen to?
Derbhile: I’m in a bit of a musical rut at the minute. It’s a sad fact that as you get older you have less time to seek out exciting new music. So I’m not really listening to anything, but I don’t expect that to last.
Derek: Did you listen to the music as you wrote the book or was it more an indirect influence?
Derbhile: I did. I do believe in matching my music to what I’m writing and then it just seeps in. For the sequence where Astrid and Jazz listen to Unfinished Sympathy in the shed, I listened to the tune over and over again and tried to imagine what it would be like to listen to it over and over again.
The Pink Cage is available from the following outlets
(paperback book can also be found here)
Or my publisher: http://www.bookrepublic.ie/books-p/188-the-pink-cage