The story goes that at the 2014 Golden Globes awards, Guillermo Del Toro bumped into Sally Hawkins, sweeping her off her feet as he told her that he was writing a movie for her, “You fall in love with a fish man!” he added. Well, true or not, Sally’s character, Elisa, does indeed fall in love with a creature from the deep in this fantastical tale and thriller (of sorts!). With a stellar cast that also includes Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water is captivating, romantic and made wonderful by the remarkable performances from the cast. As you would expect from Del Toro, the production design is spectacular, and there are magical layers to the character ‘Elisa’ a young lady with no apparent family, who does not speak, yet can communicate with more articulation and humanity than any of the characters in her world. While it does not have the depth and darkness of Pan’s Labyrinth or The Devil’s Backbone, this film is a delightful fairytale for adults, worthy of the Oscar accolades it has received, and one I will watch again and again.
I am currently working on a new novel, an urban ghost story. More on that soon! I have always been fascinated with the complexities of human nature, specifically the unexplained, the uncanny, the strange and the magical. Real life is often frightening, and can be overwhelming at times. Horror fiction is escapism. We can explore the complex issues of life, death and everything in between – be frightened between the safety of the pages – but still control the level and intensity of that experience. With horror too, often comes humour, which allows us to explore the darker side of humanity with a safety net!
Gabriel is a drummer in a band. He is also bi-polar. To curb his erratic behaviour and tendencies towards arson, he is persuaded to join a football team. There he meets Christopher, the goalkeeper, a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome. An uneasy friendship develops between the two as each learn to understand the foibles of the other. Written and directed by Nick Kelly, this is a subtle observation of mental health issues, of living outside of what society views as ‘normal’ and of finding friendship where you least expect to. Praise too for the performances from Dermot Murphy and Jacob McCarthy. A lovely film, The Drummer and The Keeper delivers poignancy with just the right amount of good humour.
“If you had to be stranded on a desert island with three fictional characters, who would you choose, and why?”
I love this question, posed by book reviewer Emma Moyles on her excellent blog, BOOKS AND WINE GUMS
My reply? There’s a character in my novel, Lady Beth, called Roddy (no spoilers!) and he fascinates me, so he would have to keep me company, along with Dorian Gray, so we can discuss the pros and cons of eternal life, and Mary Poppins, because she is magic, and could dig into her carpet bag for food! You can read the full interview HERE
So, with thanks to Emma for the question, who would you choose, and why?
I was very happy to be invited to write a feature for the fabulous blog, Swirl and Thread.
Read it HERE
Many thanks to Mairead Hearne. Check out her wonderful Blog!
I had to give it some thinkage before posting the #metoo hashtag. I don’t think I know a woman who has NOT been affected or harassed at some stage in her life. Every single day we hear of murders, serious assaults, and abuse of women and girls. And I can’t help but wonder if the men involved in the incidents I encountered in my early teens went on to do worse things. That is a haunting thought. And let us not forget that boys and men experience all of this too. And it’s even more difficult for them to tell anyone, or to report incidents and assaults to the authorities. I’m only going to share a fraction of my experiences, but I’m sure that many women, and men, will relate to them.
When I was 13, I was walking home with a friend, when a grown man overtook us. He disappeared and we paid no attention, until a little further down the road, he appeared again, fully exposed and w*nking off, his eyes fixed on us. My friend became hysterical and we ran all the way home, me chasing after her to calm her down. I was so angry, but I didn’t tell anyone. Why? I don’t know.
When I was seventeen, I said a very polite ‘No thanks’ to – again – a grown man, who asked me to dance, up close and rubbing up against me. He didn’t like that I said no, and grabbed me by the neck, pushed me up against a wall, and with his hand still gripping tightly to my throat, spit obscenities at me – until his ‘friends’ pulled him away, though not one of them checked to see if I was okay – I wasn’t! There were other incidents of course, lewd remarks, gropes, but again, I never told anyone. We all just carried on, didn’t we?
Another almost, but really NOT funny incident was when, still a teenager, I was out for a walk in broad daylight, pushing my infant son in his pram, when I passed a gang of boys (8 -10 year olds) and they were wolf-whistling at me. I almost laughed until one of them starting to rub his crotch and asked me to give him a blow job! That’s worrying! Where the fuck does a little boy learn to do that!
Like most women, I am blessed to know some amazing male friends. I am proud of my sons, love my brothers, and cherish my most amazing better half (long-suffering, some might say!) but we all, men and women, know that there are predators out there. That there are cretins out there. We need the good guys to help weed them out. Not through violence, but through calling out the bad behaviour and derogatory talk of their mates and work colleagues. And if that’s not possible, then at least remove these fuckers from your social circles. Diminish their warped sense of power. And, maybe we should consider creating a more inclusive hashtag — for women and men — in solidarity and support of all victims.
I am delighted to announce that Lady Beth has been shortlisted for a CAP Award 2017 for Best Novel.
The Carousel Aware Prize, launched in 2016, aims to provide a platform to showcase the cream of Irish Independent Authors, bringing them to the attention of book shops, distributors and the media in Ireland and abroad. All money raised goes to AWARE, a charitable organisation that undertakes to create a society where people affected by stress, depression, bipolar and mood disorders are understood, supported, free from stigma, and are encouraged to access appropriate therapies. Learn more on AWARE at aware.ie
LADY BETH is available from Kenny’s Bookshop, Galway. O’Mahony’s Book Stores in Limerick, Ennis and Tralee. Alan Hanna’s Bookshop, Dublin, and all Amazon Stores.
Caroline E. Farrell is a writer and filmmaker from Dublin, Ireland. Also an award-winning screenwriter, Caroline has had two of her short films produced, ADAM (2013) and the multi-award winning IN RIBBONS (2015). She is the author of the novels, LADY BETH and ARKYNE, STORY OF A VAMPIRE and is currently working on her third novel.