Aisling Ever After authors Sarah Breen and Emer McLysaght talk to Her.ie about Ireland’s favourite fictional cailín.
The final book in the Aisling series was published this week and the nation has said goodbye to our favourite cailín. You won’t walk by a bookshop in Ireland this week without seeing Aisling Ever After proudly displayed in the windows. It’s the one book all our friends are talking about and the one that is bound to fly to the top of the bestseller list.
Her.ie chatted to authors Sarah Breen and Emer McLysaght about all things Aisling and the love Ireland’s readers have for her.
Following the first book’s publication in 2017, the Aisling series became one of the most popular book series in Ireland, but Sarah and Emer never expected the reaction. “I mean it really took off in ways that we couldn’t have imagined and in ways that it’s just not normal. I mean it doesn’t really happen that often since I’ve been in publishing, “Sarah shared.
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“I haven’t seen it like outside of say Sally Rooney but I haven’t seen a series of books become popular like this before it’s mind-blowing.
Not only did the Aisling series capture bookworms across the Emerald Isle, but it also connected friends through reading. So many Irish women were glued to the novels, whether they were in New York, Galway, Australia, or Clonakilty. Aisling became our universal friend in a way and that’s because she’s such a loveable character.
Speaking about the inspiration behind Aisling, Emer said, “Even when I’m writing scenarios for Aisling that I’ve never personally experienced. I tend to go ‘how would I react in this situation or how do I think I would feel if I was Aisling?’
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“There’s definitely some of me in there with a good bit of Aisling on top of that and then obviously Sarah is also writing the same characters, so she’s putting some of her in so it’s kind of a mixture of the three of us.”
Both authors said they were beyond happy with Aisling’s ending, but will they ever revisit Aisling in the future? Sarah said there are no concrete plans, but never say never. “We have absolutely zero plans to do anything further with Aisling at the moment, but maybe we will return to it and that’s kind of comforting.
“Aisling will text when she gets home and she’ll make sure everybody else text when they get home.”
Emer added, “Who knows, in 10, 15, or 20 years’ time we might sit down and be like there’s too much Aisling in our heads. We need to get her on a page.”
Aisling is the kind of character that will stick with a lot of Irish women long after they finish the fifth book. She’s become a national treasure and a fictional friend to many, but what is it that makes Aisling so special? Sarah and Emer managed to create a character that every Irish woman relates to in some way, shape, or form. She’s such a special character because she reminds you of your old school friend, or your aunty, or the girl you met when you moved to New York.
“Aisling is so loyal, she’s so dependable. She will text when she gets home and she’ll make sure everybody else texts when they get home. She is the friend that you can count on for pretty much anything. She is someone who puts a lot of time and effort into their female friendships and myself and Emer are like that as well we take our friendship very seriously,” Sarah said.
Aisling Ever After is available in all good bookshops now. Aisling Ever After is Her.ie’s Book of the Month for September. You can read our review here.