Writing, Motherhood and…wait for it…Happiness!

Yeppers, kids, it’s possible to have a baby and still love writing. (All it takes is a nanny.) How a bestselling Irish author survives thrives:

BLONDE, beautiful, happily married mother-of-two and bestselling author Cecelia Ahern has had the private and public success many of us dream about.

The Dublin-born daughter of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was just 21 when she penned her first novel, PS, I Love You, which became a bestseller and saw her life change in 2007 when the movie adaptation, starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler, became a box office hit.

Now Hollywood is knocking at her door again, as Warner Bros has already optioned the movie rights to her forthcoming young adult series, Flawed And Perfect, due out next March.

“It’s very exciting,” she enthuses. “It feels like a new beginning and a fresh start, as it’s a whole new audience. Getting the film deal was a real boost. It’s the same team that made PS, I Love You.”

Ahern, 34, has plenty to smile about. She is published in nearly 50 countries and has sold more than 25 million copies of her novels worldwide. Yet she has had dark times too, and recently spoke publicly about the panic attacks she suffered for years.

“I don’t know how many panic attacks I actually had, but I think the fear of having them is greater than the attack, because you’re afraid of having one, and so that fear is constant and it’s always there,” she told Gay Byrne on his show The Meaning Of Life this year.

Today, she is more reluctant to talk about the issue.

“It’s a story I don’t want to keep going on about. I was trying to explain where I was at when I wrote PS, I Love You. People couldn’t understand how I could write a book like that at 21. At that time, I was at a vulnerable stage and very much trying to figure out who I was.

“It was something that I struggled with for a couple of years that made me very introspective and really made me think about what’s going on in other people’s minds — but everything’s fine now.

“I don’t get the panic attacks any more, but if somebody has them, the anxiety of having them is quite terrifying. It’s more about being anxious about having panic attacks than actually having them.

“I’ve never had a character in my novels who’s had panic attacks, but as a result of the experience of going through them, I’ve been able to put what you go through when you have them into my characters,” she adds. “I always want to take them from somewhere dark and bring them to a lighter place….”

Read it all at Irish Examiner