Interview with the Character #5 – Dr. Esther Ryan and Annmarie Miles

Hello readers! Here we are with a brand new interview with the character. Don’t you love the fact that this has become a regular appointment? Because, hey!, I do love it.

Today I am happy to host an interview between Annemarie Miles and Dr. Esther Ryan. Annmarie is an Irish writer and you can know her better through her website: Dr. Ryan instead is a very important character in Annmarie’s latest novel “Dear Mel…”.

Do you want to know anything more? Of course, you do…

Carmel Graham, or Mel as she is called, is struggling to come to terms with the loss of her mother. Rather than time being a healer, time is revealing that Mel’s mum didn’t always tell her the truth. After losing control of her emotions while visiting her mother her grave, she attempts to attack a woman who comes to her aid. It seems she is starting to fall apart. Mel is ‘sentenced’ to a course of counselling sessions.
Esther Ryan, court-assigned counsellor & psychotherapist, attempts to help Mel navigate her journey to recovery. Part of the process is to encourage Mel to keep a journal that she addresses to herself. 
Mel’s inner journey also takes her on a physical one as she searches for the truth about her mother, her father and herself.

Now I want to know what Dr. Ryan has to say… so I’ll stop talking and leave you to the interview.

Annmarie Miles and Dr. Esther Ryan

Annemarie Miles
Annemarie Miles

Hi Esther thanks for talking to me

You’re welcome, although it feels a bit weird to be on this side of the questions

Well I’ll try to go gentle on you. I know that you can’t break Dr/patient confidentiality, but I believe Mel has given you permission to tell me a little about the work you’ve been doing with her.

Yes, she has. I was surprised when she told me. But I have to say that itself is a mark of how far she has come.

So how did you meet her?

Mel was assigned to me after she ended up in court charged with disturbing the peace and attempted assault. She’d been having a hard time; her mother had died and she had found some information about her own upbringing that was contrary to what she knew. She was distressed when visiting her mother’s grave. Someone tried to help her and she lashed out.

The judge wanted to incarcerate Mel to make an example of her, but the solicitor managed to get him to agree to a suspended sentence if she got counselling.

How is she doing now?

She still has a way to go. Recovery happens over time. She is not just grieving the loss of her mother, but in a sense, some of her own identity.

Can you tell me more about that?

I’m sorry, it’s really not my story to tell. What I can say is that Mel was raised an only child by a single mum; and she’s trying to find out who else she belongs to. What she is discovering is difficult for her. It’s a long road.

What about you Esther, I suppose Mel is just one of many clients that you have?

Yes I am a counsellor and psychotherapist. I have a practise but I also do some work at home. Mel is actually my first court -assigned client. I’ve only recently signed up to do that type of work. Most of my clients come to me via their GP. I work with adults and children alike.

Is there a particular ‘type’ of therapy you practise?

It depends on the person and the problem. When I have more than one person from a family I tend to use aspects of family therapy, but mostly I use cognitive behavioural therapy.

Can you explain what that is?

Well basically, it’s about changing how you think about a situation. If you think differently about something, you’ll tend to behave and react differently to it. That’s a very brief description though.

Are you hopeful for Mel’s recovery?

Yes I am. It was hard at first, but most cases are. Mel was looking for answers and she didn’t like the ones she found. She struggled to deal with that. Part of what I did was to help her to accept the new reality, while continuing to deal with the pain and sorrow of the loss of her mother. And of course the realisation that her mother had kept so much from her. Once Mel was able to accept the truth, she could keep going. It was a path that, once she’d started on, she couldn’t turn back.

She told me that she started to drink heavily; she thinks she would be dead without you. 

She’s stronger than she realises. Had it not been me, someone would have helped her. In the end, she made decisions that needed to be made, and took control of her life. The drinking was a temporary thing and actually, she realised herself that it was doing her no favours.
She’s a tough nut – she saved herself.

And found love in the process…?

Yes indeed. I was a bit concerned at first. People who are grieving tend to throw themselves into relationships; sometimes using romance, or just sex to cover their pain. But Fran has a good head on his shoulders. He didn’t want to rush Mel. They’re taking their time, and actually he has turned out to be one of the most positive influences in her life at the moment.

So are you and Mel lifelong friends now?

I can’t deny I have a soft spot for her. I have to be careful in my work, especially as the courts are involved. Mel is still coming to me, but by choice now. Eventually she won’t need me anymore; I can’t see us completely losing touch after that.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Just that there is a tremendous amount of job satisfaction in seeing people start to make positive changes in their lives. Mel needed help, but didn’t get any until she was forced to. I would encourage people who are struggling with grief and confusion to find someone to talk to. Mel is one of the many people I see in my work, who have benefitted greatly from talking about their problems.
No one has to be alone in sadness.


A really interesting interview! I would like to meet Esther Ryan.

I told you that we would have touched a lot of different genres. Don’t forget to check for next week interview! And if you are a writer and want to share an interview contact me at:

Leave a Reply

Content not available.
Please allow cookies by clicking Accept on the banner

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.