Interview With Ella Griffin
Every flower tells a story . . .
From the window of her shop, Blossom & Grow,
Lara watches those who’ve bought her flowers head
off to face all manner of life-changing occasions.
Bridal posies, anniversary bouquets, surprise deliveries
from secret admirers, new-baby bunches – Lara arranges
them all. And then there are the sadder occasions – the
memorial wreaths, the ‘I’m sorry’ flowers.
No stranger to heartbreak herself, Lara knows that
flowers can say more than words ever can. Beneath the
twinkly fairylights, surrounded by buckets filled with
cooling water and heaving with flowers, customers spill
their secrets, the things they want to say, the things
they wished they’d said. Lara can always find a way
to bring their message to life.
I’m almost at the end of Ella Griffin’s gorgeous new book, The Flower Arrangement. This is such a sweet, fun, beautiful book and I’m loving every second of it! I had the opportunity to ask Ella a few questions online…
R: Hello, Ella! It is a pleasure to virtually meet you. I’m very excited to read your new novel,The Flower Arrangement, and I am honoured to be part of your promotional tour. How is it all going in the run-up to P day?
It’s been such an exciting few weeks. I’m over half way through my Blog Tour (Yay!) and I’ve been getting some gorgeous reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. The first ones always mean so much!
I’m launching the book in Dublin, tonight, so it’s manic here today. I am busy painting my nails, emailing journalists and collecting handmade biscuits with sugared rose petals! But I had a wonderful relaxing celebratory lunch with my editor yesterday, so I am ready for all the action!
R: The Flower Arrangement is your third novel and we often hear writers talking about how difficult it is to write a second book, but what was it like planning and writing a third?
I definitely had ‘difficult second album’ issues with book 2, though my amazing editor Kate Mills pulled me through and I was very happy with the book in the end. Planning book three was a joy and writing it was wonderful. I got to open a flower shop in my imagination and work there for over a year. I can’t think of anything nicer!
R: How important is the Irish setting to your novels?
So far, it’s been really important. I was born and raised here and it has a really special place in my heart. I loved bringing it to life in The Flower Arrangement, finding places to tuck away scraps of my past. I’ve climbed the granite steps to the maternity hospital that Lara dreads visiting. Fallen in love in the snug of The Palace Bar like Mia. Skidded on the bridge in Portobello where Phil almost loses his life. I’ve set Lara’s flower shop on my favourite stretch of Camden Street, a jumble of hat shops and tarot card readers, jewelers and pubs and street stalls. There’s even a funeral parlour!
R: What does a typical ‘writing day’ look like to you?
There is no typical day but my favourite kinds of days are the ones where I get up early, walk the dog and get to my desk by 9. If I do that I can sometimes get 500 words written by lunchtime. When I do that, I almost always have a productive afternoon as well. I think it’s a self-esteem thing!
R: Any great books that you could recommend to us?
This year, I loved reading ‘Us’ by David Nicholls and ‘Capital’ by John Lanchester, ‘The Woman Who Stole My LIfe’ by Marian Keyes and ‘It Started With Paris’ by Cathy Kelly and I’m about to begin a wonderful book called “The Dress’ by my friend Kate Kerrigan.
R: Have you got anything exciting ‘in the works’ that we might hear about in the future?
I’m full of ideas for book four but I’m superstitious so I won’t say anything yet! I would love to write a Christmas novella as a follow up to The Flower Arrangement. So watch this space!
R: Does your furry friend help or hinder your writing? I have two furry friends and sometimes they can’t handle not having my complete attention 24/7!
Today is a manic day but I’ve already managed to have a paddle on Blackrock Beach with my lovely deerhound, Haggis. I’d taken him to the vet earlier so we both needed cheering up! He’s a very laid back hound, he lies outside my office for most of the day sighing and snoring in the sunshine. But every now and then he’ll come in for a cuddle and a pat!
R: The Flower Arrangement is set in a gorgeous floristry shop – what is your favourite flower? And did you have to research floristry before writing the book?
I had to do a lot of research but I loved every minute of it. I got to talk to florists and hear all their happiest and saddest stories. And I got to work behind the counter in one of my favourite flower shops!
My favourite flower is jasmine. The white star-shaped flowers are small but their scent is incredibly powerful. I met my husband on a Greek Island. We were strangers on a writing course together and he showed up at my door with a bowl of water filled with jasmine. It only takes one tiny flower to change a whole life.
R: Where did the idea for writing The Flower Arrangement come from?
A florist never really knows what her next job will be. It could be a wedding or a declaration of love, a joyful new arrival or a tragic funeral. I soon realised that every single bouquet tells a story. I wanted to write all those stories and to weave them through the life of a florist who is as lovely as her flowers.
R: And, the most important question of all, what’s your favourite cake?
I’m not a chocolate fan but I love any of those Moroccan cakes featuring rose water and with almond meal instead of flour. Edible rose petals on top are a bonus!
R: Thank you so much for answering my questions, Ella!
It’s been such a pleasure, Rose! Thank you so much for inviting me!!!