The Cougar Diaries Part III by Aoife Brennan-Review, Interview and Giveaway
The Cougar Diaries
by Aoife Brennan
Release Date: December 17, 2013
Genre: contemporary, romance, erotic
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 17, 2013
This is the third and final chapter in Aoife Brennan’s THE COUGAR DIARIES series focusing on the fictionalized account of her life and struggles following the demise of her marriage. Aoife will take us on a journey of sexual experimentation; love and loss; betrayal and expectations. In the end, she will discover that being happy is easy but staying happy is another quest all together.
REVIEW: THE COUGAR DIARIES Part III is the culmination of one woman’s journey as she endeavors to push forward when the world is trying to bring her down. Aoife Brennan is a woman whose husband walked away-never to be heard from again. She has struggled with unemployment and loss of income in a country where the people are struggling right along beside her. And the one bright light in her life-the man with whom she had fallen in love- walked away when he perceived something better for the future-or so he thought.
Part III follows Aoife (pronounced ee-fa) as she struggles with depression and a broken heart. We watch as she finds solace in wine, writing and taking on the next political cause. Aoife will discover and explore a different sexual reality –one that focuses on the pain and resulting pleasure; and she will also learn that to keep her head above the proverbial water, she must push forward when, in reality, she wants to curl up and go back to sleep. Along the way, well meaning family and friends, will take her on adventures and explore people and places she would never have done before. From the world of BDSM and role playing to plaster casting her body, Aoife will find that there are many ways of expressing your inner most thoughts and desires.
Aoife Brennan has written a wonderful series about one woman’s struggles with divorce; single parenthood; financial disasters; and betrayal. The character of Aoife is strong but vulnerable, especially where her heart is concerned, and in the end, she will focus on healing her emotional health as well as her heart. There is a mix of heartbreak and sorrow; humor and fun; friendships and love. The storyline will take you from the mind of a woman lost in a world of hurt to a place where she is able to look forward to a future – with or without the man that she loves. Aoife is a woman pulled between the past and the present but knows that her future will mean making choices that will not be pleasant for all.
Copy supplied by the author.
Reviewed by Sandy
THE COUGAR DIARIES Part I by Aoife Brennan
Click HERE for our review of THE COUGAR DIARIES pt 1.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 2013
The Cougar Diaries is a year in the life of Aoife Brennan, A newly single woman, Dubliner and mother to two teenage boys – she has to fight for her way of life, overcome the antiquated legal divorce system, secure a fair future from her estranged ex and LIVE! This is about a woman living and loving again, making mistakes, embracing life and giving it lots of welly!
THE COUGAR DIARIES Part II by Aoife Brennan
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 17, 2013
Click HERE for our review of THE COUGAR DIARIES pt 2.
Aoife Brennan, 40-something Dubliner, carries on her madcap year battling the recession in Ireland, trying to find new love in Athens and overcoming austerity in Ireland
TRC: Hi Aoife and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the recent release of the third book in your COUGAR DIARIES series.
We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Aoife: Thank you I am delighted to be here. Thank you also on congratulating me on the completion of my trilogy. It took the guts of year of non-stop writing and I was delighted when I was able to write ‘The End’. Although I have to say I was also very sad. The project had consumed me for twelve months and I almost felt bereaved when it was finished.
I am an Irish woman in my forties from Dublin. I am divorced with two teenage children. I started off writing a non-fiction book on divorce with my literary agent when the bottom fell out of my world financially. So I segued into a fiction book full of fun, drama and sex. A book where the magic pen can alter the future.
TRC: What or who influenced your foray into writing?
Aoife: I have always written. I have a degree in English Lit and I have written professionally in my job ever since. From a very young age I always said I was an author but it wasn’t until I hit forty that I realised I had better start writing my fiction books. I started off writing children’s books, then a full length children’s novel. Then when my marriage and world fell apart I took courage and dipped into writing erotica. However, I was less influenced by the fifty shades juggernaut and more by writers such as Anais Nin, DH Lawrence and Erica Jong which is, I acknowledge, a strange mixture.
TRC: The Cougar Diaries is described as a fictional account of your life following the demise of your marriage. Would you please tell us about the series?
Aoife: The Cougar Diaries is a fast paced series of books charting the life of Aoife Brennan as she comes to terms with the end of her marriage, deals with the difficult legal issues, faces job insecurity and then repossession of her house. In the midst of all these problems she meets Chris, a younger man. The series charts their romance and deals with issues facing a love affair between an older woman and a younger man.
TRC: Are the secondary storyline characters based in reality or a culmination of fact and fiction?
Aoife: Everyone is a fictional character. I could not say one character in the books is based on a real person. But I have and frequently did steal lines and conversations from people around me without shame.
TRC: Has anyone recognized themselves in the storyline and if so, what was his/her reaction?
Aoife: Friends had said they see other people but they are only clutching at straws. However, one early character (the butcher) was called the same name as a real boyfriend who also happened to be a butcher in a previous life. It was only when a friend who read an early version pointed this out that I realised it could have been read as such. I changed his name but in all honestly I was surprised at the coincidence for it surely wasn’t on purpose!
TRC: Have you considered writing a series of novellas to keep the reader up to date on your continuing story?
Aoife: One of the things that I liked about writing the three books was that there was a beginning, a middle and an end. It is not my life, just my life if I could convert it into fiction. I quite like happy endings and find real life is a little short on such conveniences.
TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading characters in this storyline, which models or actors best represents your ideal image?
Aoife: For Chris I have no doubt that Mr Michael Fassbender would be wonderful. For Aoife, it’s a hard choice but I would say Irish actress Orla Brady – one of her most recent roles was in Dr Who when she got to kiss the last Doctor played by Matt Smith. I know I have chosen Irish actors but it is really hard to listen to actors try and do the Irish accent. If I mention Tom Cruise in Far and Away then you have an idea of what an ‘oirish’ accent sounds like.
TRC: How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?
Aoife: You know I actually think that real life is a lot more unpredictable than fiction can ever hope to be. If you will indulge me, may I quote from book three where Aoife is talking about coincidences with her brother George.
‘It’s like Edgar Allan Poe and his novel about Arthur Gordon Pym,’ said George.
‘I don’t remember that one,’ I said. ‘I only remember the one about being locked in the coffin.’
‘It’s Poe’s only full length novel but it was dissed by the critics,’ said George. ‘Poe called it a silly book at the time although it was supposed to have inspired Herman Melville afterwards. In the novel, there were four survivors of a shipwreck in an open boat.
As they ran out of food, they drew lots and killed and ate the cabin boy called Richard Parker. Poe said it was based loosely on reality, and it was. But this reality hadn’t happened – yet. For some sixty years later a boat called the Mignonette floundered with only four survivors left in an open boat. Eventually the three senior members killed and ate the cabin boy, whose name was also Richard Parker.’
‘Spooky,’ I said.
TRC: Are you a plotter or a panster (write by the ‘seat of your pants’)?
Aoife: A bit of both. Sometimes story lines overtake me, such as #strawberrygate in book one. There I was writing a serious sex scene and I started to giggle as I thought about an alternative ending. I was in stitches laughing as I continued to write the scene. It was certainly not what I intended. Other times I find I need to really think about the plot and where it is going. Then I go for a long walk and try and figure out what makes sense for the story.
TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
Aoife: Again, it is a bit of both. Sometimes the characters just march away with the story with little or no direction from me. Sometimes, I pull them up, especially if I need to move the story to a particular point.
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writers fail in this endeavor?
Aoife: I am no expert but I write from the heart. I truly believe in my characters and the story. If I believe then I have some hope that my readers will also believe. As I write, it is like watching a film, with muted volume, with the characters waiting for me to say ‘Action’ and then they start talking and moving around.
TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?
Aoife: I walk. I walk. Then I walk some more. Most days I walk two hours both for pleasure and head space.
TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular story and series?
Aoife: I feel like a human newspaper. I read everything that is happening – in print, online – then it forms the backdrop of my story. Small stories and big. The story is everywoman in Ireland in 2013.
TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?
Aoife: I don’t actually bounce ideas. When I have done so in the past, sometimes people have said it could not be done. I believe in the adage that whether you say you can or whether you say you can’t, you are right!
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Aoife: I am working on four projects now – all very separate. The first is editing a non-fiction book about a family where the middle child has severe celebral palsey. The impact on the whole family is devastating. Sometimes we only hear the success stories, but for every disabled person who is winning, there are ten who are not. The very same with able-bodied people. I think it is a very important story and needs to be told.
The second is the true life story of an amazing woman who founded the only equine charity in Ireland. Her own personal story and that of saving horses is better than any fiction.
The third is a new novel. Fiction. Only 1200 words in. It is a romance with a difference. I’m very excited about it.
Finally, I am writing with a friend, an erotic writer in the UK. We finished our first novella before Christmas. It is pure filth! We write paragraph about, each pushing the boundaries of the other. It is such fun. We hope to publish this soon under our joint names and then start number two!
Oh, I should add that I am also writing my autobiography. If you think Aoife’s fictional life has been crazy then you should see the real one! I think that will be the book out next.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Aoife: I just want to say that while walking kept me sane, writing saved my life. So for everyone who reads my book you are truly a life saver!
Death by chocolate
Favorite TV Show
Currently Breaking Bad – I’m in season three now so don’t tell me how it ends (I’ve seen loads of spoilers on Facebook but have avoided all so far!)
Last Movie You Saw
Favorite Place to write
In bed. My house is very small and I share it with my two teenagers. I want to earn enough money to buy a writing shed!
Dark or Milk Chocolate
Secret Celebrity Crush
Michael Fassbender (only it’s no secret)
Last Vacation Destination
Galway on the West of Ireland for the weekend.
TRC: Thank you Aoife for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of The Cougar Diaries 3 and the success of the series.
Aoife is offering the following prizes to four (4) lucky commenters at The Reading Cafe
GRAND PRIZE: 1 winner will receive ecopies of The Cougar Diaries Pts 1, 2 and 3-the trilogy.
RUNNER UP PRIZE: 3 winners will each receive an ecopy of The Cougar Diaries Pt 1.
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3. Giveaway run from January 26, 2014 to January 30, 2014
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