Sarah Webb, best selling Irish writer of quirky novels.
It Had to be You is of the same quirky genre as 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith.
In 44 Scotland Street, quirky characters and their associates revolve around 44 Scotland Street in Edinburgh, but nothing really happens.
In It Had to be You, quirky characters revolve around their businesses in Burnaby, a sleepy fictitious hicksville in Ireland.
Molly runs a bookshop, recently purchased by a wide-boy with pots of money and big ideas. Her flatmate Kate has a part-time day job in a designer shoe shop, but at night and on her days off, runs her dating advice agency, a sort of consultancy for men on how to pull women. Molly's friend from school, Paige, is a councillor. Paige has an obnoxious brat of a son who should have been strangled at birth, but with a bit of care and attention, he turns out alright in the end.
Paige finds herself at her wits end, what with her obnoxious brat and too much work, then finds herself pregnant yet again. The obvious choice, an abortion, gets not a mention, but then this is Ireland. By the end of the novel Paige is pregnant yet again.
Kate, a font of wisdom to lost men, gets herself screwed senseless by an ex-boyfriend who she hates, but that does not work either.
Molly is a writer, but lacks faith in her own work.
Like Alexander McCall Smith, Sarah Webb draws heavily on her own background and experiences. She was a bookseller. A bookshop and literary festival feature heavily in It Had to be You. She is a children's writer and adviser on children's literature. Children feature heavily in In It Had to be You. Writers, book clubs, publishing, all feature in It Had to be You.
It Had to be You is very much a girlie book for boys.
Novels to date:
She has also written books for kids.
Sarah Webb grew up in Dalkey, a small village by the sea in south county Dublin. Although she no longer lives there, she still spends a lot of time in Dalkey as her parents and many friends still live there. She adores ‘The Exchange’ Bookshop on the main street, a second-hand bookshop which kept her reading when she was a penniless teenager.
Sarah Webb currently lives in Dun Laoghaire with her partner, Ben and her children, Sam, 11, and Amy-Rose, 2. Like Dalkey, it’s by the sea, and near the yacht club, which is handy as the family likes to go sailing. They live in a house which is over two hundred years old.
Sarah Webb is an avid reader and her love of reading led to a career as a writer. She wrote articles and reviews for the school newspaper, Out of the Blue. But she didn’t write much in college apart from essays. She studied History of Art and English in Trinity College Dublin, but spent far too much of her time sailing for the college and not enough time studying. After having her son Sam, she started to write children’s book reviews for Southside News, her first official published pieces. This led to other journalism and then to her first book.
Her first book was Kids Can Cook. Three Times a Lady came later as her first adult novel.
Her advice for aspiring writers
Yes, read! Read until your eyes fall out of your head. It’s the best way to learn the craft. Soak it all in and learn.
There are two books on writing that I have found useful: On Writing by Stephen King and Write Away by Elizabeth George. They are both very practical and accessible and a must if you are interested in writing commercial fiction.
And if you really want to write - write! Just grab a pen and paper and do it. Give it a go, you have nothing to lose.
For lots more information on writing see the Writing Coach section on the [Sarah Webb] website and read the author interviews in the Writing Tips section.
Advice that has strong shades of It Had to be You.