Exclusive Interview with

Irial O'Farrell

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When did you start writing?

I think I've always enjoyed the process of writing. There are times when I crave just picking up a pen and writing. I don't have opportunities to write with a pen nearly as much as I'd like to. By the time I wrote my first book, in 2011, I had been starved of my usual outlets to write and the urge to write a book became too strong for me to ignore.

Irial O'Farrell
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What makes writing your passion?

I never really realised that writing was a passion. I've always loved books and I love words, and clever phrases. When I wrote my first book, in 2011, I still didn't see myself as an "author". However, when I started writing articles, as a way of promoting my second book, it dawned on me that perhaps I am actually an author. It's starting to sit better with me.

I do love crafting words into meaning that people "get". At the moment, I'm sticking to the non-fiction business and management genre but I think there might be a couple of novels lurking inside me. I've taken a few creative writing courses and loved them, so who knows...

Irial O'Farrell
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How long have you been writing?

I remember my first attempts where when I was about 11 or 12 years old but I'd put them in the category of "everyone did that!" There was nothing special about them. I have always been curious about the process of writing a book and the need to loop around and make sure it all makes sense. In terms of really writing books, I've been writing since 2011. However, I did write training manuals prior to that, which I think met my writing needs.

Irial O'Farrell
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What was the feeling when you published your first book?

It's so long ago, it's hard to remember. There was definitely a sense of achievement and a sense of pride. I had written the book I wanted to write. Interestingly enough, I originally was going to write a book on Performance Management but my original approach didn't feel quite right. When I hit upon the idea of writing about Values, I knew it was the book I was mean to write. I've now circled back and my second (and third) book(s) is in the performance management space.

Irial O'Farrell
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What’s the story behind your choice of characters?

As it's a non-fiction book, the characters are only developed so far as necessary to share the points around objective setting. I find using stories and examples make what can often be very dry topics, a lot more engaging.

Irial O'Farrell
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What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?

It's not so much about what annoys me but about the part I least like, about writing books and that's the editing part. I find that tedious. Necessary but tedious. For my upcoming book, which I'm hoping will be launched in May/June of this year, I had written about 8 chapters and then edited them. I then finished the majority of the book and edited the whole book and there were still loads of things I found needed changing in the first 8 chapters, even though I had already edited it!

Irial O'Farrell
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How do you get over the “writer’s block”?

I haven't found "writer's block" to be a bit issue for me, so far. Since I write about content I've had endless discussions about, for me, it's more about how do I best present the information, to make sense of it while also keeping the reader's attention.

Irial O'Farrell
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We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?

For me, what keeps me going is that I have seen so many managers want to do the right thing, by their teams, but don't necessarily know how to go about it and I know that my knowledge can help them.

Again, I write in the non-fiction genre, but for all writers, I'd say to understand what is driving your writing and keep drawing on that, during the tough times. It can also be about doing a little each day, so that one day, you'll get there.

Irial O'Farrell
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If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?

I'd say "stop being so black and white, and find the grey"

Irial O'Farrell
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Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?

I do read my book reviews and so far, I haven't had to deal with any bad ones. When I do receive a bad one, I hope I'll philosophically say to myself "oh well, you can't please all the people all the time" but who knows?

Irial O'Farrell
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What is the feeling when you get a good review?

It's a great feeling, when I get a good review. It makes it all very worthwhile and I'm delighted that I can help make someone else's life just that little bit easier.

Irial O'Farrell
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Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?

Irial O'Farrell
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Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?

Irial O'Farrell
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What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?

I think the book cover is important to attract readers to buy the book. A book can't be read, if it's not seen or bought. So, as a driver to getting the book into someone's hands and that hopefully they read it, yet it is important.

Irial O'Farrell
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Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?

Oh, I love to hear from readers about what they took from the book and how it has made their life a little bit easier. That's a huge part of why I write.

Irial O'Farrell
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How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?

When people appreciate my work, I feel that it makes sense and that it makes a difference. I haven't been recognised in public yet but I was listening to a podcast recently and the interviewee mentioned my own podcast interview (with the same podcast host) and referenced both my books, at two different points. That was kinda special!

Irial O'Farrell
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Who is your favorite author? Why?

I love a Michael Connelly, for Bosch, and I'm a huge Marian Keyes fan, for humour. I'm also a huge Harry Potter fan and read the books every 2-3 years.

Irial O'Farrell
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What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?

Ah, the dream...in the business book world, I noted that Adam Grant published a book recently and was selling 1,000+ books a day. I'd love to be that big that my book launches go that well!

Irial O'Farrell
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Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?

It's not so much that I'd re-write my first book but what