‘Life is about ups and downs’ - Marian Keyes turns the pages of her new novel about ‘love and middle age’

Virgin Radio

11 Apr 2024, 13:13

Marian Keyes talks to Chris Evans at Virgin Radio.

Huge-selling author Marian Keyes joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with webuyanycar to talk about her brand new novel, My Favourite Mistake, and how we “forgive ourselves for the things we did when we didn't know any better.”

The Irish author’s sixteenth novel is out today (11th April) and follows Anna, who seemingly has a life to envy, with a well-meaning partner and a high-flying job. “She's Irish, she's living in New York, her family are 3000 miles away. So, she decides to surrender to the universe, and she took that jump. And yeah, she binned the lot. The man, the job, the flat, and moved to Ireland,” Marian said. 

However, Anna discovers that leaving New York doesn’t mean escaping her mistakes and is forced to face them. “She is brought back into the part of this man, Joey. Narky Joey, they used to call him, because he was just one of these silent men who glowered a bit and just looks a bit kind of sexy and mute.”

Marian continued: “Nothing ever really happened, but they were always kind of at the wrong time for each other. And then they both went off, they married other people, and they both hurt each other as well. And then 20 years on, they've both ended up in the same place, they're single. And they are having to deal with their attraction to each other, but also, that thing of when you're middle aged, and you suddenly realise, ‘Oh, I wish I'd handled that thing a bit better in my past,’ or, ‘Oh, I have so much regret about the way I was in that situation.’ So, it's about love and middle age. And it's also about how we forgive ourselves for the things we did when we didn't know any better. 

“If we had known better, we would have done better.”

The writer told Chris: “My feeling is we're never too old. That for as long as we're alive, we're alive. 

“And why should we deny ourselves, even the choice to explore situations. What's the worst that can happen? The older I get, the more I know that my emotions continue to be as intense. The capacity for joy or curiosity, or friendship or love, they're still as vital as they ever were.”

My Favourite Mistake is part seven of The Walsh Family series, which explores the lives of various members of the family. The books stand alone, meaning you don’t need to have read any previous books in the series. Speaking about Anna, she said: “Of all my characters, she’s probably the most grounded. And also, she's quite independent, she's courageous. And I love that for her. Because I love what she does with her life. She never wanted to have children. She never wanted to get married. From really young, she wanted to travel the world. That kind of happened, and then she stopped in her 20s. But now, that passion has come again. 

“Life is about ups and downs. We can be steady for a long time in her life. And then either we change or our circumstances change, and it's about how we respond to those changes.”

Speaking more about the new book, the author said: “I needed to write a little bit of Covid, because it's a post-Covid life pivot that she’s done, like so many people did. It's incredible, really, that out of something so horrific, a lot of people thought, ‘You know what, life is fragile, life is fleeting, I don't like how I'm living. And I'm going to live in a different way.’ And that was the only reason I put it in. But I moved briskly through it.”

As her chat with Chris came to a conclusion, Marian - who has shifted over 35 million books over her career - said: “Thank you to anyone who's ever bought my books over the years. I am so grateful! Really, really, I'm still pinching myself.”

My Favourite Mistake is out today (11th April).

For more great interviews listen to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with webuyanycar weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.