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Hello everyone! This week’s Guest Star is a delightful lady whose feet just hit the literary pavement.

I’ve invited her over to commiserate this hard, uphill battle we writers fight daily. Especially, newer writers who need loads of cheer leading and encouragement.

There’s the doorbell! I’m sure my famous Chocolate Chip cookies and a shoulder to cry on will perk her up.

Kristi:            Welcome Hazel Gaynor, come in! Don’t you look gorgeous, would you like some tea?

Hazel Gaynor: Aren’t you kind – I’d love some.

Kristi: (pours Hazel tea) So how are you holding up, dear? I hear you’ve started writing not too long ago? That’s lovely.

Hazel Gaynor: Actually I am a mum first and foremost but I try to make a living as a writer – when I can find the time or the route to the computer among all the toys!

Kristi: (offers Hazel a cookie) It isn’t easy, is it? I’m here for you, dear. Have you started a blog yet? That’s a great way to get your name out.

Hazel Gaynor: Yes, my blog is called Hot Cross Mum.

Kristi: Excellent, adorable name! Don’t worry if you go for days or even weeks on end with no one bothering to read it, including your own family…these things take time.

Hazel Gaynor: I’m rather pleased, actually. It’s been listed in the Top 100 UK Parenting Blogs since September 2009, The Independent’s Top 50 Parenting Blogs and Websites in October 2009. I even got my 15 minutes of fame last December being interviewed on TV3’s “The Morning Show” as part of a programme on blogging. Great experience!

Kristi: (smile freezes) Oh.

Hazel Gaynor: I’m really fortunate the way it’s taken off.

Kristi: (pours own tea) Yes, you’re making my head spin…of course Blogging’s not the same as REAL writing…

Hazel Gaynor: Yes, it’s a lot more taxing to write my “It Wouldn’t Happen to a Celebrity Mum” weekly column for the Leinster Leader, and my features for The Examiner and Modern Mum magazine.

Kristi: (drops tea pot) How long did you say you’ve been at this?

Hazel Gaynor: (helps clean up tea) I’ve been a mum for 4 years and 3 months, and a writer for almost a year, so very much a newbie.

Kristi:  (grabs last cookie from Hazel’s plate, downs it)

Hazel Gaynor: Are you OK?

Kristi: (gulps tea) You got a column, several blog awards and a TV spot in under a year!? How the heck–

Hazel Gaynor: (Freezes at Kristi’s violent outburst)

Kristi: (smoothes frazzled hair) Sorry. I mean, as a NEWBIE, are you sure you want to continue writing? With all this…uh…hardship?

Hazel Gaynor: Yes, I love the escapism of writing, and the freedom it gives me to put down on paper everything that has been swimming around in my head–

Kristi: But I do that, too, my head’s constantly swimming! Why don’t I have a—

Hazel Gaynor: Don’t worry, Kristi, you will – just keep at it.

Kristi: Worry? Haha, I was just…er…never mind. What do you write about?

Hazel Gaynor: I write mostly about motherhood so it’s actually great therapy as well.

Kristi: Are you suggesting I need therapy?

Hazel Gaynor: No, I didn’t mean that. It’s just amazing how you find perspective in a situation when you write about it. As a blogger, I also get great comfort from reading comments which empathise with my story or can relate to it.

Kristi: (baffled) Perspective? …Empathy?

Hazel Gaynor: I suppose it gives me a much-needed extension to what can sometimes be a lonely existence as a Stay At Home Mum and a writer.

Kristi: You’re so right. I am lonely… behind the keyboard all day…

Hazel Gaynor: You poor thing, here can I pour you some more tea?

Kristi: (dabs eyes with napkin) Thanks. So what makes you suited to being a Write-from-home Mum?

Hazel Gaynor: I sometimes wonder if I am actually qualified at all to be a mother – but then again, who really is? I think we all bluff our way along at some point or another. As a writer, I guess the only real quality/skill you need to make you suited to the job is a passion for and a belief in whatever you’re writing about.

Kristi: (imagines own passions: honking at people who stop at yellow lights, having the last word…) Maybe that’s my problem.

Hazel Gaynor: Whether a good day or bad, I have absolute passion for my children.

Kristi: (…buying rain coats for her toy poodle, drive by splashing of bicyclists on rainy days) I’m passionate about things on bad days, too!

Hazel Gaynor: See? That’s great! I suppose as a mum and as a writer, you need plenty of resilience and patience, so maybe those skills help me in both my jobs.

Kristi: Have you developed your writing skills recently or from previous experience?

Hazel Gaynor: I have no prior experience as a writer, at least in a professional capacity, so am very much learning as I go. Fortunately, I have connected into some excellent resources to guide me and point me in the right direction when I am floundering.

Kristi: Where did you work before now?

Hazel Gaynor: I worked for a large law firm in Dublin. I could tell you which one, but then I’d probably have to kill you.

Kristi: Haha…you are kidding, right? Anyway, did working in the law firm lead directly to being a stay-at-home Writer/ Mum?

Hazel Gaynor: In a roundabout sort of way, yes, I suppose it did. To be blunt, I was made redundant.

Kristi: You poor dear! Here, have another…oh…I seem to have eaten all the cookies.

Hazel Gaynor: It’s OK, you don’t have to feel sorry for me – I’m over it now! To be honest, it was a complete blessing in disguise. If I hadn’t lost that job, I would not now be doing the two jobs I have loved the most in my life – looking after my children and writing about them!

Kristi: What did you do before that?

Hazel Gaynor: I suppose I’ve had a pretty un-exciting career really, having worked in the corporate world for as long as I care to remember!

Kristi: Oh, such a pity. Do tell!

Hazel Gaynor: Moving to my first job in London was a real buzz for a young twenty-something originally from a small Yorkshire village. Oh, and the PriceWaterhouseCoopers office I worked in when I lived in Sydney was the most memorable location; looking right over the harbour. I used to get a ferry to work past the Opera House – beats the Dublin commuter trains doesn’t it?!

Kristi: Yes, but those exciting, heady days are all over aren’t they?

Hazel Gaynor: Well…what I do now is even more exciting.

Kristi: Do you feel you’ve gained a valuable life experience? Such as Good things never last… or Always remember to bask in the glow of your previous experiences…?

Hazel Gaynor: Uh…not exactly. I know I am totally biased, but in my opinion, children are the most valuable life experience. Apart from that, every experience in life is a valuable one, is it not?

Kristi: Absolutely! I hope our little chat made you feel better, Hazel. I know it did a world of good for me!

And, as always, Hazel, Thank You For Playing!!