Caroline Grace-Cassidy – Q&A

Caroline Grace-Cassidy’s novel The Unexpected Love Story of Lexie Byrne (Aged 39 1/2) was published by Black and White on 12 August 2021.

Caroline kindly answered a few of my questions.

1. Tell us a little about The Unexpected Love Story of Lexie Byrne (Aged 39 ½)

The book is about a woman who has made her decision never to just ‘settle’ for less than the man of her dreams – despite her procreation years slipping away.

Lexie refused to say “I do” just because “He’ll do”

It’s ok for men to age in society and still be seen as a ‘catch’ well into their sixties! But not for women. However, Lexie is very happy and content on her own, she doesn’t ‘need’ a man she ‘wants’ one and will wait forever to find her Johnny Castle … ok she’s also obsessed with Dirty Dancing. Lexie is a true romantic but also a fiercely loyal best friend. We meet AnneMarie in the book – Lexie’s work mate at Silverside Shopping Centre and her BFF. Underneath the romance is a best friend story every woman can relate to.

2. What inspired the book?

I finished writing the book during lockdown – I was inspired to write about the closeness of people – about packed pubs – jammed nightclubs – flights across the Irish Sea – all the things that had stopped in the real world. Kissing strangers for starters!

I was also inspired because I’d been watching friends hit the big 4.0 and just suddenly seem to panic marry (like panic buying only you can’t get your money back in 28 days!)

I wanted to write Lexie as a strong, empowered single woman who was perfectly content on her own!

3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?

I’m very much bum on seat and see what happens! I’ve never been able to plot a novel! I honestly don’t know what is going to happen to the characters until my fingers take me there! It’s an exciting way to write as I’m always as surprised as my fabulous readers are!

4. Is there anything about the process of publishing a book that still surprises you?

I’m so glad you asked this question. This is my 8th novel – it use to be you wrote the book and that was your job done. These days the author needs to do a whole lot more after writing – the market is so very busy that you need to up your profile on social media to be seen – it’s ok for me because I genuinely love connecting with people and especially my brilliant readers but a lot of my author friends are very quiet people who don’t like the sing and dance routine and therefore their books don’t get the same exposure. It’s a very different playing field these days the publishing business.

5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?

When I’m not writing I’m reading! It’s my favourite thing in the world to do. I have two young daughters so I love to go to the movies with them or just try spend time with them.

I love the theatre (If it ever comes back!) and generally going for a nice walk and lots of red wine and cheese whenever I can!

6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?

I have to say GONE WITH THE WIND. It’s such a sweeping love story set in a tragic and horrific war saga – it really has it all.

And it’s so LENGTHY! I have a podcast called BookBirds where we re-read the books we loved – it’s on our list so I can’t wait to re-read it again.

7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?

Oh great question!!

Do you make a great living from writing?

In a word. No. I have to have another job on top of my published novels I’m afraid. Maybe one day …

About the Book

Meet Lexie Byrne. The big 4-0 is looming, but she’s perfectly content without a man. How else could she watch movies on repeat and eat crisp sandwiches in bed? Finally free of her love-rat ex, she’s never settling again. Nothing less than ‘The One’ will do.

Then, after an electrifying encounter on a wild St Patrick’s Day, Lexie takes a leap of faith and a flight across the Irish Sea. But as sparks fly, Lexie’s dreams take a serious nosedive. Until an arrival no one anticipated . . .

Will the unexpected love story of Lexie Byrne have a happy ending after all?

About the Author

Irish writer and actress Caroline Grace-Cassidy is the author of seven novels. Alongside her husband Kevin, they own Park Pictures, a film and television production company, with whom she has written and directed seven short films. She has been a regular panellist for The Elaine Show on Virgin Media One since 2012. She can often be spotted in dark sunglasses and a cap at the bottle bank – but mostly she is a very proud Mammy to Grace & Maggie Cassidy.

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