Thursday, 27 September 2012

Lifesaving For Beginners by Ciara Geraghty

Some of you may have read one of Ciara Geraghty’s books Finding Mr Flood, Saving Grace and Becoming Scarlett but for me Lifesaving For beginners is the first of this authors books which I have read. I usually always read the first chapter of a book that is sent to me to get a taster of the book but reading the first chapter of Lifesaving for Beginners just wasn’t enough I had to leave the current book I was struggling with and just had to carry on reading this book.

Kat Kavanagh has just had a miracle. After being involved in a car crash on a motorway and being cut out of her car she comes out of it barely touched which is not what could be said for little Milo’s mum who was in the same accident but lost her life.

Faith now has to look after her brother Milo but Faith soon finds some hidden papers which carry a hidden secret which turns Faiths life upside down. Milo having lost his mum doesn’t want to lose his sister to this secret.

Kat only wants life to go back to normal after her accident but it becomes clear this is not going to happen. Partner Thomas wants to take their relationship to the next level and settle down and have children but this is not the life Kat feels she wants.

I flew through the 438 pages of this book it was impossible to put down. Straight from the first chapter I was drawn into the storyline and the book held my attention from start to finish. The book is told alternately by both Kat and Milo’s points of view which I loved as with Milo being only ten and such a quirky little character, his side was a little more fun and fresh after reading Kats point of view which is more grown up and more serious but both of the characters brought very moving emotions to the storyline.

Milo was by far my favourite character he came across as one of those little boys who has an old head on his shoulders which I adore but another character whom I took to quickly was Ed who is Kat’s brother. Ed has Down’s Syndrome and Ed also has a big humorous character, I love that the author brings in a character with a disability and manages to write his character so well that you enjoy his character rather than feel sorry for him and just see the disability.

I loved the sudden twist that came in this story that eventually brings these characters together I had fallen right into the storyline and yet I didn’t even have the slightest clue that this twist was just around the corner so when it was revealed I was even more eager to turn the pages to see what happened next.

 I love Ciara Geraghty’s easy style of writing and how she manages to create such a beautiful warm and moving storyline. I cannot wait to read one of her previous books I have definitely got on the Ciara Geraghty fan train!

Paperback               Kindle

We are lucky enough to have the talented Ciara Geraghty on the blog with us today for a little chat.

1) Lifesaving for Beginners is the first book of yours I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it but I would love to know what gave you the inspiration for this book?

I got the gem of an idea from a friend of mine who, one night, told me the story of her father’s unmarried sisters, both of whom died within months of each other. Her father was going through their personal effects afterwards and found a birth certificate. One of his sisters had given birth to a baby years before and had given the child up for adoption. The child was adopted by an American couple. He never knew. The minute I heard the story I knew I wanted to write it. The idea of a woman who gives her baby away and gets on with the living of her life, never referring to it, never talking about it, perhaps never even thinking about it. It is almost as if it never happened. And although my story begins many years later, in 1987, things in Ireland hadn’t really changed. I mean, in 1984, Ann Lovett, a 15-year old girl, gave birth to a baby boy, all alone, in the grounds of a church. She had a scissors with her. To cut the cord. It didn’t matter. They both died. I was fourteen then. I never forgot it. The loneliness of it. That kind of loneliness stays with you.

2) There are a great mix of characters in your book but Milo has to be my favourites as his character based around someone you know?

Milo is my favourite character too! And no, he’s not based on anyone I know although – coincidentally – I did live with a nine year old boy (going on ten) when I began writing the book. He’s my son Neil and while the circumstances of Neil’s life are very different to those of Milo’s, I’d have to say that Neil definitely inspired the writing of Milo’s character.

3) Are you currently working on your next book and is there anything you can tell us about it?

Yes, I just began another story. It’s about a taxi driver called Joe (have no surname yet!) who is struggling to raise his teenage daughter and young son on his own. It’s at that tentative, shaky-legged stage at the moment so I don’t want to say too much more about it, other than the fact that I’m excited!

4) Are you a Kindle convert ?

So strange that you should ask me that today because, just a few hours ago, I managed to finally finish a book on my Kindle. I’ve had the kindle since last Christmas (it was a present, I’d never have bought one, being a lover and keen smeller of new books). The first book I downloaded was ‘How to be a woman’ by Caitlin Moran and while the book is fantastically funny and deeply poignant, it’s taken me months to read it, only because it was on the kindle and I just couldn’t come to terms with the device (for example, I hate the way you don’t know what page you’re on, only what percentage you’ve read). I’d say in the future, I will use the Kindle but if I really love a book, I’ll buy the old-fashioned version for my bookcase. And then I can smell it whenever I want to….

5) What was the last book you read and would you recommend it?

Apart from ‘How to be a Woman,I’ve just finished reading ‘The China Factory’ by Irish writer Mary Costello. It’s a debut collection of short stories and has recently been longlistedforThe Guardian First Book Award. And yes, I’d recommend it. The stories are quiet and careful and have the ability to thump you in the face, while gently stroking your hair. I love the short story form; the way it offers the reader a brief glimpse into a life that you would otherwise not know. Short stories are short on resolution which I like because that’s real life, isn’t it? Novels, by their nature, are expected to provide resolution and most of the time, they do and it makes them satisfying to read. A good short story leaves you wanting, and can linger in your mind long after you’ve finished the tale. I like that.

6) How will you be celebrating on publication day? 

There’ll be a book launch on the 10th of October in Dubray Books in Grafton Street (Dublin) and a few drinks afterwards at McDaid’s on Harry Street. That’s one of the many Dublin pubs where Brendan Behan drank in his day. If it was good enough for Brendan….

7) If you were stuck on a desert Island what would be your 3 must have items?

Only three?
That’s harsh….
 1) Frank MacLochlainn. He knows how to do useful things like make fire using flint and sticks. He’d dance around the flames and roar ‘I MADE FY-AGHHH’ much like Tom Hanks in Castaway. I’d say he could erect some form of shelter too, in case the weather is inclement. And it’d be nice to have someone to talk to: Me: When are we going to get off this God-forsaken island? Him: Will you stop asking me that, I haven’t got a clue. Me: Typical! Him: We’re on a desert fecking island and you’re still nagging me…. 

2) A guitar. I’d finally have the time to expand on my guitarprowess, which currently consists of three chords: G, C and D. First thing I’d learn would be the guitar solo in Stairway to Heaven. There I’d be, headbanging around the FY-AGHHH, wearing coconut shells for a bra, him, dancing away with the hide of some exotic animal wrapped around his bottom. 

3) My laptop. So I could tweet about my adventures on the desert island (@world tropical islands aren’t as much fun as you’d think #creepiecrawlies). Post a few pics on my Facebook page. Maybe one of MacLochlainn dancing in the firelight with theanimal pelt wrapped around his bits and pieces. Something atmospheric and desert-island-esqe. But the battery on my laptop isn’t what it used to be. Perhaps MacLochlainn could harness some electricity during one of those tropical storms you hear about. A bit like Marty and Doc Brown, in Back To The Future. He could probably try his hand at making a Flux Capacitor while he’s at it. We could head off to the swinging sixties, since I missed it the first time around….

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us Ciara I for one can not wait for your next read!
The lovely people at Hodder have kindly given us another copy of this fantastic book so you can be in with a chance of winning your own copy. All you need to do is enter the rafflecopter below. The publishers have asked for this to be a UK ONLY giveaway and excludes Ireland (as you have your own beautiful cover being released!) 

Good Luck

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I loved your review. Sounds like a real page turner and is now on my wanted book list. It would be fab to win a copy

    1. Good Luck Rainie you should get extra points for how quick you were to enter ;-) xXx

  2. Thanks for a lovely review and interview, and for the giveaway!

  3. I would love to win a copy, I haven't read anything by this author, but cannot wait to read this!

    1. This was my first by this author too Kat a great book to start with so good luck xXx

  4. Great review, would love to win this book as it's on my wishlist.

    1. Good Luck Sharon would be another one to add to your TBR list ! xxx

  5. I would like to thank you for a fantastic book giveaway, that i would love to have the oportunity of reading. My attention was caught instantly with what sounds like a most origonal and distinctive storyline, that covers some poignant issues that touch on human emotion. I am most intregued, as it sounds like something that requires much deep thought with messages that are touching.
    It would be a real privalige to be able to read 'Lifesaving for beginers', hence i want to thank you for this oportunity. x

    Email: lfountain1(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk
    GFC Follower: lfountain1
    *apologies i am not on facebook or twitter*

    1. A big Good Luck to you Lucinda not to worry about the fb or twitter you have a whopping 10 entries with your GFC so you are in with a good chance! xXx

  6. Thanks so much for a fab giveaway! I would love to win this book, because Ciara is one of my favourite authors, and this book has been on my wish list for ages! :D

    1. What has been your favourite of Ciara's books so far? I want to pick another one up so will go by what you say ! xx

    2. Ooh that's a tough one! But I would say 'Saving Grace'.. loved that book :) 'Becoming Scarlett' is also good, and I'm currently reading 'Finding Mr Flood', which is just getting started, so far so good :D

  7. It sounds interesting if a little disturbing.

  8. This sounds like a fantastic and deeply emotional story which I'd love to read. Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. Hi there. Just to let you know that you are now one of Carole's Chatter's five Featured Book Blogs. I review these every couple of months. Have a nice week.

  10. Very interesting. I so love the cover - it tells of the poignant content.