In the summer of 2016, the Irish author Joanne Woodward took a break from her fiction writing to write a short story for The Irish Independent.
The short story is called ‘Wicking’, and tells the story of a girl who wakes up in a castle and is sent back to her homeland, where she is hunted down by the vampires she knows and loves.
‘She doesn’t like being alone,’ Woodward told the Irish Independent in 2016.
‘I wrote the story about the night I woke up in the castle, and it’s about the feeling of loneliness, the feeling that you don’t belong.’
Woodward is one of the most prolific novelists in Ireland, and her works have been translated into more than 100 languages, including The Hobbit, Moby Dick, The Canterbury Tales, and Lord of the Rings.
The Irish author, who lives in Dublin, is a writer of short stories and short stories of short duration, often of the same length.
She is also a passionate advocate of the bookworm genre.
‘Books can be very boring if they’re written in one sitting, and they can be incredibly dull if they aren’t,’ Woodward said.
‘The idea of sitting down and being able to read the same thing over and over again is incredibly satisfying.
I’m not saying I hate reading a book; I just think it’s not the most rewarding thing to do.
‘A lot of the books that I read are in a way about the journey, the process of moving from one place to another, of living, of learning and of feeling that something new is going to be brought into your life.
‘These books are not about the end, they’re about the beginning.
And they’re very much about what it is to be human.’
Woodward said she was drawn to the book after her family was in the war and her father was sent to Auschwitz.
‘He went through hell in a box,’ Woodward recalled.
‘It was an awful place.
He’d never been there, he was too young, but he was in a horrible situation, and he’d been there for a while.
‘But then one day he was coming home, and my father had a book, a very beautiful book that he’d read before the war, and we were talking about it.
He was sitting there reading it in a chair, and I remember reading it and thinking, ‘Wow, that’s a really beautiful book.”
And then my brother and I looked at each other and said, ‘Well, what does it say about our family that it’s all in a book?’
I think that’s the way I think about books and how they relate to us, how they make us feel.
‘And when I started to write fiction, I was really drawn to that, I think because I was very lucky that my family had gone through hell.
‘They were forced to leave their home, their country, their lives, and their families, and that was just incredibly traumatic.
‘That experience was very, very real, and you just can’t imagine what it was like for somebody who was just living on the edge of death, being the last of their family to do that.
‘My family was the last people in Ireland who had done that, and to be able to write that story, and be able see that same kind of tragedy happening to another family, that was a great, great experience for me.
‘When I started writing fiction, the stories that I wanted to write about were people that I had lived with and loved.
‘There was no time for me to think about family, because I had to write stories that were about people I’d grown up with.
‘In the end I was writing about myself, because that was the story that I’d wanted to tell.’
In her book, Woodward recounts a time in which she was told that she could not write a novel in Ireland.
‘Everyone I knew who worked in fiction was saying, ‘No, Joanne, you can’t write a book in Ireland’.’
That was the only time in my life where I didn’t want to write anything,’ Woodward continued.
‘Because it was such a huge part of my life.
The thing that I didn´t want to do was write a movie about my life or a novel about my family.
‘As an adult, I am so lucky to have been able to do what I do and have a lot of people in my family who are in it.
And so it was really difficult to write for them, and the thing that really bothered me was that I knew that I was supposed to be writing fiction.
‘At the end of the day, I didnít want people to think that I wasnít writing a book.
It was just a very personal and very personal decision, and for me, that meant that I could not have a career writing a novel