Arts Q&A: Actress and author Claudia Carroll on David Bowie, ABBA and Jane Austen

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, novelist and Fair City actress Claudia Carroll...

1. When did you think about a career in writing and what were your first steps into it?

Writing is something I'd always dreamt of, but was never quite brave enough to give it a try. But with heartfelt thanks to tremendous encouragement from the late, great Anita Notaro, I submitted my little idea for a book and a few chapters to my now (wonderful) agent, Marianne Gunn O'Connor, who I'm delighted to say, signed me up. Seventeen happy years on, and I'm still having difficulty believing I'm doing a job I love so much.

2. Best gigs you've been to?

David Bowie in Boston in the 80s on The Glass Spider Tour. What a showman, what a show. U2 in Croke Park, pre-pandemic. Breathtaking, as ever. And Paul McCartney at the RDS a few years ago. He put on a fabulous spectacle of a show.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

A reunited ABBA. Why not? All four are thankfully alive and well... just saying.

4. The record you'd take to a desert island?

The Beatles live at the Hollywood Bowl. Gets me every single time.

5. And the book you'd take to a desert island?

Pride and Prejudice. To think Jane Austen wrote it at the age of 21? It's the most perfect novel ever written.

6. Top three films?

Casablanca, because of that electrifying scene where the French and German anthems clash. Some Like It Hot, because every single line of it is perfect. And All About Eve, because I love a good, scene-chewing anti-hero. And who doesn't love Bette Davis?

7. Worst film you've seen and why?

The movie of Brideshead Revisited. I'm a massive fan of the iconic 80s TV series, so the movie was such a massive let-down.

8. Favourite authors?

Audrey Niffeneger, Roddy Doyle and Nancy Mitford.

9. Sport(s) you most enjoy and top team(s)?

Wimbledon. As they say, it's a sport for people who don't really like sport. That's essentially me.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

Anywhere hot and humid please.

11. Pet hates?


12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? I got far too fond of take-outs in the lockdown.

Dessert? The more chocolate-y, the better.

Drink? Loving a nicely chilled Chardonnay these days.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

Clelia Murphy. We met in the dressing rooms of Fair City and to this day, we talk approximately 15 times a day.

14. Is there a God?

I hope so. There are greater things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy.

:: Claudia Carroll's new book The Fixer is published by Zaffre and is out now. You can follow Claudia on Twitter @carrollclaudia