Q&A With Regina McBride

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Q&A With Regina McBride 

I am delighted to be doing this Q&A with author Regina McBride. Regina is the author of The Fire Opal, The Nature of Water and Air, The Marriage Bed, The Land of Women & her recent release Stranger From Across The Sea. 

Q: Regina, would you please give a brief description of your books starting with Stranger From Across The Sea? 

A: Stranger from Across the Sea is a novel about passionate friendship and about the thin curtain between the living and the dead. American teenager, Violet O’Halloran, goes to Ireland with her mother to meet her grandmother who dies unexpectedly. Violet’s mother leaves her in a convent school, empty for the summer except for the nuns who live there, and Indira Sharma, a blind girl from India. The two girls grow very close but after the other girls return for the school year, something catastrophic happens and Violet returns with her mother to New York. She remains haunted by her friendship with Indira. Thirteen years later she meets an Irishman, Emmett Fitzroy, at a party in New York City and after she becomes involved with him, finds out that he has an unexpected connection to Indira. Violet returns to Ireland to stay in Emmett’s family house, which he has inherited. At her time there she unravels secrets related to Indira, that had remained until then, mysterious.

My memoir, Ghost Songs, focuses on my childhood and young womanhood. My parents each committed suicide, 5 months apart when I was a teenager and this book is my attempt to piece together what happened, as well as an account of my journey to Ireland as a young woman, a place my parents dreamed of going. 

The Fire Opal is my Young Adult novel that takes place in the late 16th century. It is the story of Maeve O’Tullagh, who sets off on an unimaginable quest to a world filled with fantastical creatures and a web of secrets, braving danger to recover the souls of her loved ones and bring them home.


The Marriage Bed is about Deirdre O’Breen who flees the Great Blasket Island off Ireland’s southwest coast as a teenager. She has a stunning secret and when she eventually marries into a wealthy family she asks herself: “How much of our parents do we carry? Do their sins and frailties shape who we become to our own children?”

The Land of Women is about love and betrayal between a mother and daughter who work as dressmakers in Ireland. 

The Nature of Water and Air is about Clodagh Sheehy, who is determined to secure her mother’s elusive love and to learn about her past. Clodagh finds herself swept into a passionate relationship with a handsome, isolated man and discovers herself at the heart of her mother’s story.

Q: When did you realize being an author was your calling in life? Would it be fair to say that the characters and places within your novels are taken from bits and pieces of real places you’ve seen and people you know?

A: I started writing poetry as a teenager and in my 20s began to publish my poems. I went to graduate school for poetry and published a collection. At a certain point, I found that a poem could not contain the kind of detailed worlds I wanted to explore. And I wanted to create characters. So I began to write fiction. I think it’s true of every writer that some of what we write about has been influenced by our own experience and some comes from the imagination. But I think both things are intricately connected.

Q: What lessons do you hope readers learn after they finish reading your books? 

A: The great Russian writer, Anton Chekhov, said that authors are neither preachers or philosophers. The job of the writer is to present human beings in their struggles. Good stories raise questions but it is not a writer’s role to answer them. I don’t try to teach lessons or offer morals. 

Q: How long does it take you to write a book? 

A: For me that’s an impossible question to answer. Every book has its own timetable. I write many iterations of each novel before I finally feel it is what it’s meant to be. I wrote several iterations of Stranger from Across the Sea. It had four or five different titles over a five year period. I eventually left it for a while to write something else. When I came back to it, I think it took about two and a half years to write the book it is now.

Q: New York Times Bestselling author Margot Livesey said I was captivated by this gorgeous and evocative novel. Regina McBride is a master of suspense and Stranger from Across The Sea is a deeply satisfying story. How does it feel knowing that a New York Times Bestselling Author gave rave reviews of Stranger from Across The Sea?

A: I am very pleased that various wonderful writers have responded so positively to this novel.

Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to Stranger from Across The Sea & any of your other work? The entertainment industry needs original content again instead of remakes, reboots, sequels, prequels & spin offs. Who would be your dream cast to play the characters you created?

A: No, Hollywood hasn’t called for this book. One of my novels was optioned for a film for several years but nothing came of it. I don’t have a dream cast in mind for this novel. I see the characters in my mind very clearly and I don’t know of actors that would match.