Exclusive Q&A with Sheila O’Flanagan

Exclusive Q&A with Sheila O’Flanagan

Sheila O’Flanagan is the award-winning author of The Hideaway and over twenty other titles, including the Sunday Times bestsellers What Happened That Night, The Missing Wife and If You Were Me. 

This Q&A is taken from The Hideaway. The full Q&A is only available in the paperback edition of The Hideaway, out on 7th March. Get your copy here.

What first inspired you to write this novel? And did the focus of the story change as you were writing it?

When I see news reports of certain events on TV I often wonder about the people in the background and what their stories might be. In this case, I imagined what it would be like to see or hear about someone who shouldn’t have been there, being caught up in a tragedy, especially when that person has a life that has been kept secret from you. I had a pretty clear idea of how I wanted to write the story so the focus didn’t shift, but of course the characters always take on a life of their own as the novel develops.

The description of the setting is so beautiful and vivid, it’s no surprise that you mention in your acknowledgements that you have spent a lot of time in this area of Spain. Could you tell us more about your love of the area?

I first stayed in this area of Valencia nearly twenty-five years ago and I was struck by the colours of the countryside. On the one hand, the zone is quite dry. But the vividness of the orange, lemon and lime trees against the backdrop of the blue skies, the mountains and the sea are simply stunning. Although there are a lot of tourists and ex-pats living in the area, it still retains strong links to both its Moorish and Christian cultures and the (almost daily) summer fiestas are a part of that.

The Hideaway

Read the rest of the Q&A in the paperback edition of The Hideaway, out 7th March 2019.

Jill Mansell's Q&A for #BFILoveFest Virtual Romance Festival

Jill Mansell's Q&A for #BFILoveFest Virtual Romance Festival

As part of the BFI and HarperCollins Virtual Romance Festival 2015, authors were asked to participate in a Q&A. Bestselling author of THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU, Jill Mansell, was one of those contributors, and we thought we’d share the Q&A on Bookends, because, let’s face it, you can never have enough Jill!

Tell us about yourself…

I’m a Bristol-based novelist, addicted to TV, stunning stationery and Twitter.

Tell us about your latest book

THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU covers both sides of the organ transplant story, that of the donor and recipient. Hallie has Cystic Fibrosis and doesn’t have long left to live, unless she receives new lungs. But whose…?

When did you start writing?

Many many MANY years ago.

Which romantic book do you wish you’d written and why?

Well, I’ll say Riders by Jilly Cooper – but if I’d written it, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy reading it, so I’m actually glad I didn’t!

Which romantic film do you wish you’d written & why?

Four Weddings and a Funeral. It’s pretty much perfect. (Apart from the bit where Carrie says, “Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed.” Bleurghh.)

Favourite romantic lead (film or book)?

In a book: Rupert Campbell Black. No contest.

When did you last kiss in a cinema?

Many many many MANY years ago.

Favourite screen couple?

Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin in It’s Complicated. God, I love that film. (Apart from the ending. Steve Martin? Nooo.)

Favourite romantic line from a film?

Don’t make me choose.

Which actress (actor) would play you in a romantic film about your life?

Julie Walters, please.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Roast potatoes.

Do you believe in love at first sight?


3 romantic books EVERYONE should read:

  1. Rivals by Jilly Cooper
  2. ONE DAY by David Nicholls
  3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

3 romantic films EVERYONE should watch:

  1. Sleepless in Seattle
  2. When Harry Met Sally
  3. It’s Complicated… Four Weddings
  4. Mamma Mia

Anything with Cary Grant and Doris Day… Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers… Sorry, can’t possibly narrow it down to just three.

Are you on social media?

I’m on Twitter too often, Facebook sometimes and Instagram when I’m tired of words and just want to look at photos.


Liked this? Why not read…

Our Q&A with Tracy Rees

Or this one with Katie Marsh