Ruth O’Leary Interview

Áine Goulding

Ruth O’Leary’s debut novel The Weekend Break gives you a glimpse into the lives of different women. The relatable novel is a brilliant gift coming up to Mother’s Day this Sunday.

The newly released novel The Weekend Break tells the story of four friends; Vivienne, Helen, Clara, and Miriam who goes away on a weekend trip to Galway. Their friendship is tested with each of them having a big secret.

The novel follows Vivienne who wants out of her ‘perfect life.’ Helen, whose drinking is beginning to threaten her marriage; Clara, who feels like she cannot be honest with her husband; And Miriam, who wants a change and even with her supportive friends, there is a secret that cannot come out.

O’Leary began writing in 2013 when she was told about an easy-going and fun writing group.

“I immediately loved the exercises and started writing a short story each week for ‘homework’. Everyone was very encouraging, so I sent one of my stories off to Ireland’s Own and they published it! I was shocked but it gave me the confidence to send another one to Woman’s Way and they published a story of mine too,” says O’Leary.

She decided to write a novel when a friend of hers in her writing group, Writer’s Ink, was doing the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge. Their task is to write “50,000 words of a novel in thirty days,” according to NaNoWriMo.

O’Leary had never imagined writing a novel, but completing NaNoWriMo “unblocked” her doubt:

 “…I realized if I could do that then surely I could write 80,000 over a year, and that’s what I did right after that,” she says.

The idea for The Weekend Break was brought about in November 2020. O’Leary and her friends could not travel anywhere for the weekend in Spring, so she wrote a novel surrounding the idea instead. According to her:

“… we don’t always know what’s going on in someone else’s life and you don’t have the time to find out on a night out but a weekend break provides space for conversations to happen for people to open up about any problems they might be having.”

O’Leary brought elements from her life into her novel, such as making Galway the location of the women’s trip, where O’Leary lived for 6 months in the ‘80s and giving the character Vivienne a career in the travel business as well, a career the author had for over 20 years.

With Mother’s Day on March 10th, The Weekend Break is a fantastic gift for mothers who want to read about women facing relatable challenges:

“I have had women in their 80’s say they felt they knew or have met women with these issues in real life and I have had women in their 20’s relate to the relationship dynamics of friend groups.”

The Weekend Break is now available online and in stores.

Book Cover: The Weekend Break: Four Friends, Four Secrets, One Explosive Weekend eBook : O’Leary, Ruth : Kindle Store

To find out more about Ruth O’Leary, her work, and The Weekend Break, visit:

Áine Goulding