Author Chat with Emma Donoghue (author of ROOM)

Just yesterday I finished reading the newly released book by author Emma Donoghue, ROOM.  Now today I am delighted to have her here at Book Journey to share with us a bit about herself and the book that’s being talked about everywhere.  Please give a super warm welcome to Emma Donoghue.

Emma Donoghue

Welcome Emma!  I am so delighted to have you here today.  First off, it is a tradition that I ask you how you take your coffee?


Emma:  Caffe latte only.  Which means that when staying in luxury hotels, as I am on this US book tour, I have a lot of trouble getting hold of my morning brew, because a latte is the one thing most hotels can’t provide!


You are right Emma, being a plain black coffee drinker,I hadn’t thought about that!   When did you first find your love for books?


Emma:  A male babysitter (a ‘spoiled priest’, meaning one who dropped out of the seminary) read me the entire CHRONICLES OF NARNIA when I was about four.  Bless him for ever!



Oh, I love that!  What a great memory!  What would you consider to be a favorite book you have read and why?


Emma:  Recently… SKIPPY DIES by Paul Murray, the other Irish writer on the Man Booker Prize long list.  I’ve no idea why it didn’t make it onto the shortlist because it’s the most dazzling study of an Irish boys’ boarding school with some of the funniest dialogue I’ve ever read.


ROOM is such a powerful read.  Where did you get the idea to write such a book?


Emma:  From being a mother, really.  Because when I heard about the Fritzl case in Austria, the idea for ROOM sprang fully formed into my mind: a child’s story of growing up in a single room and mistaking it for the whole world.


I remember that story Emma, it was horrifying.   Was there any part of this book that was harder to write then the rest?


Emma:  I had to sweat over the middle section (I’m trying to avoid spoilers here!) to make it plausible in every detail, and to capture the sensory shock of it for Jack.


What would you hope that your readers experience when they read ROOM?


Emma:  Utter involvement, not just in Jack’s consciousness but in that of Ma – and to achieve that they have to do all the work of figuring out what Jack doesn’t know yet.


Emma you have written several novels.  I have only had the pleasure of reading ROOM so far, what would you suggest I read next of yours?


Emma:  Well, they’re all very different, but my 2008 novel THE SEALED LETTER is quite a page-turning courtroom drama about a notorious Victorian divorce.


Thank you Emma, I will take you up on that, it sounds good!   Where do you enjoy doing your writing and do you have any sort of rituals that go with it?


Emma:  No, I just flip open my cracked-screen laptop wherever I happen to be and go to it. My only ritual is, get the kids off to school and daycare first!


Is there a fictitious character  that you would like to be friends with and why?


Emma:  I’d love to meet Emma Woodhouse, heroine of Austen’s novel, partly because I was named after her but mostly because she’d be a sparkling conversationalist.



Great pick!   It is customary that I ask each author I chat with to share a little known fact about themselves.

Emma:  Well, all that springs to mind is a negative fact, but it’s unusual given that I’m Irish: I can’t stand the taste of alcohol.  So I’ve never had a drink, which on the plus side means I’ve never lost a day to a hangover, but on the minus side means I have to ask friends for advice whenever I’m writing a scene with any kind of intoxication in it.


Emma thank you so much for time today!  I appreciate you chatting and sharing here with us at Book Journey.


Readers, you can see more of what Emma is up to here at her website.  Also – for those of you who have read this book, I had one more question I asked Emma, but that is going to have to go on the spoiler page.  If you have read the book, be sure to check that out.

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29 thoughts on “Author Chat with Emma Donoghue (author of ROOM)

  1. I have “Room” on my Fall Catch-Up Challenge reading list .. which means that I need to get it finished by SUNday! EEK! I’ve been dying to get to it, because I’ve read nothing but positive. Thank you, Emma, for sharing with the community!

  2. I haven’t read this yet, but I will soon, even if I have to buy it (gasp!) I just finished a book called “Asta in the Wings” that sounds so much like Room. Two young children are raised by their mentally ill mother in a boarded up house. She tells them they can’t go outside because they’ll get the plague. One day she disappears and the kids reluctantly venture outside to find her. It was sooo good! Anyway, can’t wait to read Room so I can compare the two.

  3. I finished Room yesterday as well! I had already been a faqn of Donoghue, so I am glad she is getting the recognition she deserves. I want to read Skippy Dies, so I am glad to hear she liked it!

  4. librarypat

    Interesting interview. How lucky to have had such a great babysitter. I’m sure it made his job easier. He was probably thrilled to have a charge interested in something other than cartoons.
    Luckily not everyone who drinks gets intoxicated. I’ve seen enough people get there and have a good idea what the symptoms are. Thankfully, I’ve never let it go that far. I’ve never understood getting falling down drunk and making yourself sick.

    Good luck with your writing career, Emma. It sounds like you are writing good books on widely varied topics.

    1. Lisa I would have loved to have been introduced to Narnia at Four…. I dont think I really discovered these books until my High School Years. 😀

      I like to ask authors who have several publishings what they would recommend I read next of theirs.

  5. Once I get out from my current reading load of obligation (less than 6 days), I might pick this one up. It’ll be interesting to see if I actually read much at all in October (or the rest of the year), though — I’ve been pushing myself so hard!

    1. Hannah is fall more of a fiber arts season for you or do you do that all year around? When I see how talented you are with that I wonder if you ever enjoy audio while you work on this?

      If I had any sort of craft talent (and believe me – I do not :razz:) I would listen to audio as I worked.

      Dont push so hard – I cant imagine not reading the rest of the year but I totally understand slowing down and I have seasons where I just have to do that. 😀

      1. I … just … have … to … make … it … a … few … more … days. A. few. more. books.

        I’ve got my hands in fibery stuff year round. :p I’ve thought of trying audio while I knit or spin, but usually I’ve got a movie or TV show on while I work. And apparently: My audio situation is a bit difficult. I’ve got an iPod, which isn’t a problem, many systems and libraries have to deal with that, right? But I also have a Mac, and the number of files available that actually play nice with both is very slim indeed.

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