• Maya Linnell

Ellie O'Neill on Irish charm, trampolines and mic drops

There’s a particular brand of warmth, wit and humour that seems to run through the veins of Irish writers and the new novel by Ellie O’Neill has all three in spades. Family Matters was told from multiple viewpoints within the McCarthy family. I loved meeting Evie, Yvonne, Molly and Rosie McCarthy and immersing myself in their lives. It was impossible to pick a favourite as each character was as complex and charming as their story was compelling.

If you’re a fan of Monica McInerney, Maeve Binchy and Esther Campion, you’ll love snuggling up with a steaming mug of tea, a warm blanket and this Irish family drama. Family Matters is out now in all good book shops.


Author spotlight with Ellie O’Neill


Do you have a good luck charm or a special token that sits on your desk/in your office?

Nope, I have a very messy workspace. If there was a good luck charm here it would be well hidden under papers and books!


Favourite exercise to counteract all the hours sitting at the keyboard?

I run 5k regularly and slowly.


What’s your go-to weekday dinner dish?

A roast chicken, easy and always a crowd pleaser.


Which career would you choose if money wasn’t a factor and writing wasn’t an option?

If talent/age/any basic physical ability including rhythm etc. wasn’t a requirement…I’d love to be a back-up dancer on a Janet Jackson tour.


Chocolate, potato chips or cheese?

Chips – salt and vinegar please and thank you.


Have you done anything special with any of your advances?

I bought my kids a giant trampoline for the back garden. (It’s a rock and roll lifestyle – I know!)


Spot where you seem to get the best bursts of inspiration?


Taking the dog for a walk around the block, ten minutes from the front door an idea often hits, and I never have anything to write it down with.


Agent or no agent?


I have an agent that I’ve been with for a long time now. I’m very grateful for her, she fights my battles and navigates the publishing world on my behalf, leaving me to focus on writing.


Do you have a writing ‘uniform’ (mine’s big earrings, cardigan and jeans)?


I’m normally in work out gear, I write in the morning and squeeze a run in early afternoon before school pick up.


Aussie novel you’re most looking forward to in 2022?


I’ve just finished The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer. I loved it, I’d never read her before, so I am looking forward to diving into her backlist.


Best one-line sentence from one of your book reviews?


‘O’Neill’s writing is sharp, funny and authentic.’ I felt like that was a mic drop moment – that’s all I ever want my writing to be.


Share a quirky habit or something readers might be surprised to discover about you.


I am terrified of birds.


Where can people find you online?


Ellieoneill.com.au


Instagram - @ellieoneillrc


Family Matters


For the first time in her life, Evie McCarthy sees Death coming for her. Clear as day. She just wants enough time to help her family realise the important things in life. Her big-hearted granddaughter Rosie is in love again. She falls in love too quickly and this time it's serious. Rosie's married sister, new mum Molly, is sleep deprived, exhausted and wondering what happened to her life. Rosie and Molly's mum, Yvonne, is hiding her own devastating secret. Something so shameful she can't face the consequences. Between the jigs and the reels, they pull one another up and over and come to understand that sometimes you have to give up the life you planned to get the life that's meant for you. Funny, poignant, real and engaging, Family Matters is a thoroughly captivating story of three generations of women, each facing down their troubles to find the power of family.


Ellie O’Neill


Ellie is an Irish Australian bestselling author. She writes commercial fiction and is the author of four books. Her new novel, FAMILY MATTERS, published with Allen & Unwin was released in June 2022. Her writing has been described as charming, whimsical, funny and touching. To date all of her books have been set in Ireland and she’s not entirely sure why. Australia has been home for over ten-years but her storytelling blooms from the streets of Dublin. Her 2014 novel, Reluctantly Charmed, was a top ten Australian debut and a bestseller. After completing every book, Ellie announces to anyone with ears, that she’ll never write again. She is currently working on her fifth book and looks forward to dramatically throwing in the towel once more.



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Head to the WIN page for your chance to win a copy of Family Matters, thanks to Allen & Unwin. Contest closes June 12. Aussie addresses and newsletter subscribers only, please.