The Walsh Family

The Walsh family was the first family I ever wrote about, over 20 years ago (!) for my first book Watermelon. ‘They’ say that everyone’s first book is autobiographical but the Walshes aren’t the Keyeses. Not exactly… But there are some similarities – there are five Walsh siblings and coincidentally there are five Keyeses. But the Walshes are all girls, whereas the Keyeses are made up of three girls and two boys.

I wish I could say that I did this deliberately, that when I started writing I had a massive plan of campaign for a long writing career, that I operated out of an underground bunker with massive tables, with huge character maps of all five of the Walsh girls spread out. But alas, that’s not the case.

An upright freezer full-to-bursting with Magnums

Basically, I was familiar with the dynamic of a five-child family, it was what I’d been brought up with and so it seemed like the 'right' thing to recreate for the Walshes.

None of the Walshes are based on me or any of my siblings but the dynamic of a big, noisy family full of big personalities was something I was very comfortable with, it was what I thought a family should be like, so I recreated it automatically.

Mammy Walsh has some similarities with Mammy Keyes – most particularly their fear of cooking and their pride in having an upright freezer full-to-bursting with Magnums at all times.

I’m very fond of the Walshes and it’s been lovely to revisit them as I’ve written the stories of all five of the sisters.

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