herald

Monday 20 August 2018

High-flying author reveals the nightmares of her exam days

A BEST-SELLING Dublin author has revealed that a recurring dream about sitting her Leaving Cert exam forced her into writing.

Howth native Michelle Jackson, who has penned the hugely successful Three Nights In New York and Two Days In Biarritz, is still haunted by her Leaving Cert.

The mum of two has urged her students not to get too bogged down in exams and said there is much more to life and college.

And she said that she is living proof that a good Leaving Cert is not reflective of your future career.

She 'failed' her English exam after panicking, but is determined to spread the message that it is not the be all and end all.

"I had a recurring nightmare every six months, that it was the night before the English exam and I hadn't studied. It was English paper 2 and I hadn't studied prose and poetry. It was this sense that I had mitched from school, which was really awful.

"It was my inner voice, telling me to do something about it. It went on until I began to write. I dropped down to pass English on the day, because I didn't have the confidence to complete the honours exam.

"But I hadn't studied anything for the pass exam, so I wound up failing. I flunked it as far I'm concerned, because I got a C and I could have done much better. I was just so anxious and didn't have faith in myself.

"But I am living proof that it is not the end," she added.

Ms Jackson said that the birth of her daughter Nicole (7) also helped release her inner creativity.

"I don't think I was ready until I had life experience behind me, had met enough people and had my own children. I wouldn't have been comfortable writing about experiences without having them."

Number one author Michelle is a part-time art teacher at Malahide Community School, when she's not jetting across the globe researching the destination for her next book.

"The plot will always reflect the place I'm writing about," she said. "My new book One Kiss In Havana is slower than the New York book, which was about shopping, eating and buzzing around.

"I like to contrast my plot from book to book."

One Kiss in Havana will be available this month.

cmcbride@herald.ie

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