This week on Talk Learn Connect, Writer Yvonne Reddin asked well-known Irish Journalist and award-winning travel writer, Muriel Bolger to share some TLC(Talk Learn Connect)
You have spoken about meeting many memorable characters, who was the most memorable character you met and why?
I’ve been incredibly lucky in my career, in that it satisfies many facets of my personality, I love socialising. I love people, I love travel and I love to read, and journalism for me has fed into all of those needs, in bucketfuls.
As a result, I’ve encountered weird, wonderful and totally whacky people.
It’s inevitable that some facets or ingredients of the people I’ve met or interviewed will make their way into the characters in my novels somewhere along the line.
I can’t name a favourite person, but I do know I enjoyed meeting Jeffrey Archer, Robert Ludlum, Terry Wogan, Joanna Lumley and Peter Ustinov.
Could you write the title of your memoir/biography in three words and would you share a short summary of its content if you have started one?
No, I haven’t started a memoir yet. I’m too busy gathering things to put in one, should it ever materialise. What would I call it? In three words? Muriel – She Lived.
I suppose it would cover the eclectic parallel paths my life has taken as a happily married woman to being suddenly catapulted into single mum-hood with three petulant teenagers, to my five-star travel writing lifestyle.
Maybe Trains, Boats and Planes might be a better title.
Did you find it difficult to get your writing noticed or did male and female journalists have equal status while pursuing your Journalism career?
I didn't choose journalism or writing as a career. I came into it at 40, following my sudden marriage breakup. I had been a stay at home mother until then, which was the norm at the time.
I needed to work and a friend told me about an ANCO (now FAS) course, called Women into Writing. I was accepted on this and got work experience in the features department with the Irish Press Group. I remember being very surprised at the way women and men had equal status in the newsroom.
It wasn't the case in most work places then. I suppose my career path was shaped during that time. I was sent on Ryanair’s inaugural flight to Paris, before it became a budget airline, and all the editors of every magazine and newspaper in Ireland were on it and suddenly I had contacts.
In that overworked cliché - the rest is history. Writing books and novels came much later.
What do you think of the term ‘citizen journalist’ and has social media been good for new, emerging writers/journalists?
I am sceptical about citizen journalism. I’m not convinced that it doesn’t feed into that other term that I detest, ‘fake news.’
Social media has changed things dramatically in the past decades and I’ve seen it greatly devalue the work of those who are serious about making a living from writing.
It has broadened the competition ridiculously and not always with quality material or factual matter either.
Now, more than ever, we need to be able to rely on the source of our news, and that’s not the case.
"I did invite Prince Charles to tea at my gaffe, after meeting him in Powys Castle. He hasn't yet taken me up on my offer”
Can you share any words of wisdom that helped you in your successful career?
Starting out I was told, ‘If you want to get on, get a name for being reliable, for being open to learning new things, and for never missing a deadline.’
And I couldn’t agree more.
You can contact Muriel at firstname.lastname@example.org
Muriel’s seventh novel A Degree of Truth is cocooned in the bookshops right now, but is available on line.