Today we talk about In the days of Ford Cortina, a book by Patricia Walsh published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author Patricia Walsh to get to know her better and what she wants to communicate with her book In the days of Ford Cortina.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- What are the crucial themes of this novel?
The main theme of this novel is being yourself and having the freedom to be yourself. In the initial chapters of the book, Marie has a stranglehold on every move Cortina makes, trying to make her the ‘perfect’ student and the model stepdaughter, In addition to using her as a guinea pig for her research for a postgraduate degree. The second crucial theme is that of family. As is said, swallows always return home. The best scenario to compare In The Days of Ford Cortina to with is the practice in the Amish community of ‘Rumspringa’. It is when the Amish send their children away to the big city to see if they return after a while. As often as not they don’t, but Cortina does, even if it is under duress, the guilt of seeing her father in intensive care, however vicarious her part in his near-demise. There is the eventual reconciliation between Cortina and her father. Hiram and Eilís, extended family, look after Cortina while her Father convalesces. It is Hiram who, after much research, finds Cortina outside the library and tells her Marie is dead, and her father is in hospital with serious injuries. When she herself is in hospital, Cortina’s father is at pains to ring her three times a day, if only to make sure she is still around.
- Is there a particular moment in your life that led you to the writing of your book?
As Maya Angelou once said, “there is no greater agony than having an untold story inside you”. There was no one instance when I decided to write this book, it just consistently evolved, and eventually snowballed. Cortina was one of those stories that I had to get out of my overgrown teenage system, whether it was trying to get a ‘private detective’ off my back, or planning my next escapade, or my next cigarette break. It was down to the fact that I was a bit of a tearaway at school by all accounts, not to the extent that I would steal a DVD player, as Cortina eventually does, but down to the fact that my various jokes weren’t funny anymore and everyone wanted to knuckle down and work towards their Leaving Certificate. All of the characters bear some relation to me, if I had to categorize, the characters are one-third personal experience, one-third research research and one-third imagination. I had to reconcile myself with my own past, and probably apologize to everyone at school for my actions, on mature reflection. Take up your cross and follow me, at least that’s what the people at the Christian hostel say to Cortina as she makes an exit. Not to mention navigating upstairs with difficulty, on crutches, going to the ambulance-chasers office.
- What message did you want to send out with your book?
As Oscar Wilde once said; ‘Be yourself, everyone else is taken. Accept yourself for who you are and others will accept you for who you are. Cortina is the classic prodigal daughter at the end, he doesn’t exactly have a fatted calf ready for her, but he is so delighted to see her again he can forgive her anything, even the odd swing of poitín. Conversely, Richareta tells Cortina of her efforts to be the perfect wife for her husband, only for him to kick her out of the house with no good reason or apparently any fault of her own. Richareta didn’t get anywhere until she played herself, with the artwork (bearing a passing resemblance to Tom of Finland), that she has sold to the various wards and units of the buildings of Pearses Park, and various card and computer games. As Frank McCourt said in Angela’s Ashes, might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.
- Is there a particular audience you think of when you write?
I would like to think that the book would appeal to a wide audience. In particular, if you could categorise it, you could say it caters to teenagers/young adults. There are the adult themes of alcohol, cigarettes and transgender issues, which may be beyond the remit of most teenagers, even if they are discovering these nefarious things for the first time. There’s also the stock theme of running away from home, losing whatever you have got, and discovering yourself in the process, in this case, the gamble pays off. At least, the people at the Christian hostel in which Cortina finds herself would agree. Or Cortina stumbling on Philip’s front door by mistake. It’s all part of growing up, whatever stage of life you’re in. There’s also the freedom of learning from your own mistakes, especially when you eventually come out in one piece.
- Are you planning to write more books?
Certainly! I already have finished another novel, Hell for Beginners, a book about a ghost writer who becomes a ghost writer, or more to the point, a spiritual guide to an agoraphobic budding writer. I am also working on a novella, The Lamb Ran Away with the Crown, a story about a girl who resurrects herself at her own funeral, and the mayhem that ensues with family and friends. In addition, I am constantly working on new poetry, having published a collection, titled Continuity Errors, and propose to publish another collection in March 2022. At present, I attend the Ó Bhéal poetry night every month in the Long Valley bar, under the auspices of Mr Paul Casey, and the Blue Monday poetry night in the Triskel centre. I have also written a number of plays. As I always say, I am not employed, but I am working!
Europe Books thanks the author Patricia Walsh once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside her on the editorial path that led to the publication of her book In the days of Ford Cortina. We wish her the best of luck for this novel and for her future works.
To you, my dear reader, I wish you that, somehow, some of the main characters’ lives could resonate with yours and could let you see things from new perspectives to put into practice in your everyday life. I also want to greet you with this wonderful wish, as I quote the author Patricia Walsh: “’Be yourself, everyone else is taken. Accept yourself for who you are and others will accept you for who you are”.
So, my dear reader, I just have to wish you to enjoy this reading!!!