Interview: Cecelia Ahern, author

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IT could have been a twist in one of her own romantic tales. When guests turned up to best-selling novelist Cecelia Ahern’s daughter’s christening last year, little did they know that they were actually attending Ahern’s wedding to long-time partner, actor David Keoghan.

“It wasn’t a total lie, because it was a christening, but we decided to say our vows as well. So we had 20 members of our family at the church and they all knew what it was,” the bubbly blonde author recalls.

“The 150 guests who came to the reception afterwards didn’t know. Some people were totally shocked because they thought we’d never get married.

“One of the most fun parts was standing at the door in my wedding dress to welcome everyone. The reaction was fantastic.”

The happy couple had been together for nine years and their daughter, Robin, was born in 2009. So what changed her mind about marriage?

“Eventually it was the simple fact that it felt right.“

Married life hasn’t changed things, the 30-year-old author of PS, I Love You, The Gift and The Book Of Tomorrow reflects. She didn’t change her name and she didn’t want her father, former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, to give her away. Ahern’s books are difficult to categorise, as they all have a magical, fantastical quality, but she’s not keen on them being called ‘chick lit’.

“I hate that phrase because I don’t think it’s fair to anybody. It’s a horrible term for readers and writers. They are not literary fiction - I’m not in any kind of denial about that - but calling them chick lit, or commercial fiction or women’s fiction, is the lazy way out. There’s always a quirky element involving ordinary characters.”

Her eighth novel, The Time Of My Life, is the story of Lucy Silchester, a young woman who is sent an appointment card to see ‘her life’.

When the man she meets introduces himself as ‘her life’, her stubborn half-truths are revealed and she finds herself having to face up to life instead of hiding from it through lies and avoidance.

Ultimately, the novel has a positive slant. Ahern says it’s important for her to write uplifting books.

“I always want my books to reach a positive point in the end. It’s not about finding Mr Right, or that sort of conventional ending, but I do want my characters to have hope - and that’s what I do with all my stories.”

The Time Of My Life by Cecelia Ahern is published by HarperCollins, £16.99