I must confess, I haven't read a single word by the Irish author, but I did hear an interview with her about the auction for the rights to her first paperback and I decided I liked her.
She'd bought a house and the mortgage was about £250 per month, but her and husband had fallen steadily behind in the payments, she said she dreaded the idea of losing it and just hoped that she would get enough to pay off her debts - about £5k. The hardback version had sold well enough to cover it's costs and she came out of it with a bit of money, but not enough. Anyway, her agent rang her up after the rights auction and asked, "Are you sitting down? No really sitting down." So she sat down and confirmed this with him, that was when he told her that her paperback rights had sold for more money than any previously published novel ever. At the time that was £56,000. Since then she has sold more than 40 million copies of her novels in 37 different languages.
Her advice to aspiring authors (Timmeh)?
"The most important thing to realise is that everyone is capable of telling a story. It doesn't matter where we were born or how we grew up."
And her secret was to write the way she spoke.
"I don't say I was 'proceeding down a thoroughfare', I say I 'walked down the road'. I don't say I 'passed a hallowed institute of learning', I say I 'passed a school'.
"You don't wear all your jewellery at once," she went on. "You're much more believable if you talk in your own voice."
RIP Maeve Binchy Snell (28 May 1940 – 30 July 2012).