Nuala Reilly has been a writer of sorts for as long as she can remember.
She grew up the second oldest in an Irish family with six siblings. There are thirteen months between her and her older brother and fifteen years between her and her youngest one. That’s quite an age gap but it meant that, as one of the oldest and as the oldest girl, she was always on the scene for birthday parties and sleepovers and other kid related events. It was not unusual to find her holding down the fort with the kids while her parents kept the practical things ticking over. More often than not, she wound up keeping guests entertained with made up fantastical tales.
By the time Reilly hit high school, she was writing poetry, short stories and plays. She had also turned into a hardcore reader, often staying up until the wee hours of the night with a flashlight and whatever book she had her nose stuck into. Once she found an author that she liked, she tended to read as much of their work as she could possibly get her hands on. She still does so today, meaning that her book collection is ridiculously large.
She married at nineteen and had five children in eight years. The year that her youngest was born and the two years following his birth were difficult; he was premature by nearly two months and the birth was a dangerous one. While he spent his first year of life in and out of the hospital, she went through a deep depression and some terrible health of her own, resulting in two surgeries in the space of a year and finally a hysterectomy.
The space of time that Reilly was ill was awful, but it did get her writing again after years of running after babies and toddlers. She sent in a funny story to her local paper, The Cambridge Times, and they ran it. This kicked off nearly five years of being a regular contributor.
In 2006, a friend of Reilly’s suggested that she send in an article to The Toronto Sun, which was holding a contest for new columnists. She beat out over four hundred others and won it, and then wrote freelance for the Sun for a year.
After her success at the Sun, those same friends were telling her to try writing a novel. She found the idea completely daunting a the time; a whole novel?
In December 2009, her first novel, Autumn Violets (featured at Fog Lit Festival 2017),was released by Crackjaw Publishing. She has since written a second, third and fourth book and is in the middle of her fifth.
After living in southwestern Ontario for her whole life, Nuala Reilly is now happily an East Coaster. She lives with her family in southern New Brunswick.
Autumn Violets (summary):
Moira Ryan is a woman for whom love has never seemed to work. She has bad luck with men and has seen too many broken relationships in the lives of those she loves. She lives in the shadow of her beautiful and vivacious sister, Sloane, for whom everything seems to come easy, and whose upcoming wedding is only making her feel worse about her lonely life.
Jack Wallace can’t remember the last time he felt truly happy. After losing his mother as a teenager, he has treated women as an escape from the pressures of life and hasn’t committed to one for more than a few dates in years. Now his father is dying of pancreatic cancer, and his only wish for his son is to find someone to share his life with.
Their worlds collide one day and neither can deny the growing attraction between them. The story follows these two as they deal with life, death, weddings and love. It’s a story about relationships between parents and children, sisters and friends, and most of all finding love when all odds are against it.