Holly Seddon is a freelance journalist whose work has been published on national newspaper websites, magazines and leading consumer websites. Try Not To Breathe is her debut novel and has already been hailed as ‘the most original psychological thriller of 2016.’ While according to Tess Gerritsen, one of my favourite authors, this novel has: ‘A razor-sharp, fast paced plot and wonderfully complex characters. Not since The Girl on the Train have I been so captivated by a work of suspense.’
Naturally, my expectations were high and I was delighted to find that Try Not To Breathe delivered:
Alex is sinking. Slowly but surely, she’s cut herself off from everything but her one true love – drink. Until she’s forced to write a piece about a coma ward, where she meets Amy.
Amy is lost. When she was fifteen, she was attacked and left for dead in a park. Her attacker was never found. Since then, she has drifted in a lonely, timeless place. She’s as good as dead, but not even her doctors are sure how much she understands.
Alex and Amy grew up in the same suburbs, played the same music, flirted with the same boys. And as Alex begins to investigate the attack, she opens the door to the same danger that has left Amy in a coma…
I’m interested to know where the idea for Try Not To Breathe emerged from. Seddon tells me that it was while cooking dinner, some years back, when a health programme on the radio caught her attention. They were “talking about persistent vegetative states. Listening to the stories from loved ones left behind – unable to grieve but still having lost the person they loved – really floored me. And that’s where the character of Amy came from. Amy was a vibrant, brave 15-year-old in 1995. In 2010, she’s in the same hospital ward she’s been in for 15 years. A hot mess of a journalist called Alex stumbles upon her and becomes obsessed with working out what happened all those years ago.”
You can catch the full interview over on writing.ie by clicking here.
I’m delighted to have my flash fiction piece, Remember Me, published on Spelk along with so many fabulous writers from across the globe:
“All these years later and she still attended mass. That was where she saw the young child with the teddy bear. It was hugged close, appearing like a child peeping over its mother’s shoulder and looking right at her.
Kate closed her eyes tight. The priest was talking about forgiveness. Ironic, she thought, tears pricking her eyelids. She blinked furiously, before running the side of her fore-fingers beneath her long lashes in a vain attempt to prevent her mascara running.
“Will I tell you a secret?”
The golden-haired bear with the black eyes stared.”
Spelk is a new platform for the very best flash fiction on the web. We post three stories a week, from both new and established writers, from the UK and overseas.
A spelk, in northeast England, is a splinter of wood – a tiny little sliver or shard embedded under the skin. Without getting too pretentious, we think there’s probably some kind of analogy there – we like flash fiction that’s short and sharp, that gets under your skin and leaves an impression. That, and we just happen to like the word.
Then it’s over to YOU for the open mic!
STACCATO is Dublin’s latest Spoken Word event. The idea is to showcase both established and emerging talent in prose and poetry.
FREE admission to Toner’s, Baggot Street from 7.30pm tonight, Wednesday, 30 December 2015.
Look forward to catching up with you all.
According to Peter James, Graham Masterton is “one of the most original and frightening storytellers of our time.” And who could disagree? Masterton was a bestselling horror writer who has now turned his talent to crimewriting. His experience of life in Cork, where he lived for five years, inspired the Kate Maguire series.
Masterton has written more than a hundred novels, across multiple genres, including horror, thrillers, historical sagas, sex manuals and crime fiction. Awards include a Special Edgar by Mystery Writers of America and the prestigious Prix Julia Verlanger in France.
I had heard that Masterton took less than nine months to write his 750 page second novel but I was amazed to find that his first novel, The Manitou, was written in a week! “I generally write quite fast because I was trained as a newspaper reporter from the age of 17 and then went on to become a magazine editor, so I am quite disciplined when it comes to writing and I have never had so-called “writers’ block”. I also imagine “writers’ block” to be some run-down apartment building where sad uninspired would-be writers sit in front of paraffin heaters and wrack their brains trying to think of something to put on paper.” Speaking of his second novel, Rich, he tells me that the reason it took much longer was “because it is a very lengthy historical saga and needed considerable research. By the time I wrote that, however,” he goes on to explain, “The Manitou had sold heaps of copies and movie rights had been sold, so I had the luxury of taking more time to write it.”
It is fascinating to hear this master storyteller explain how he writes and he offers plenty of advice to writers currently struggling through plot lines. “Some days I will write only a couple of pages, other days anything up to ten. It depends on the scene involved and the amount of research necessary. Sometimes it’s worth taking it slowly because it gives your brain time to work out a complicated plot and to ask yourself if your characters would really do what you had originally planned. The last crime novel; about Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire that I have just finished – Buried – took about eight months. I had to do a lot of research into cigarette smuggling in the Republic, as well as Irish history and Garda politics. I love it, though, no matter how much or how little I complete in a day. All I will ever say is, real writers write something almost every day, if they can. They simply can’t help it!”
You can catch the full interview, which includes plenty of tips for writers, over on writing.ie by clicking here.
About Blood Sisters
DS Katie Maguire hunts a serial killer who is targeting nuns, in this gruesome new thriller set in Cork.
In a nursing home on the outskirts of Cork, an elderly nun lies dead. She has been suffocated. It looks like a mercy-killing – until another sister from the same convent is found viciously murdered, floating in the Glashaboy river.
The nuns were good women, doing God’s work. Why would anyone want to kill them? But then a child’s skull is unearthed in the garden of the nuns’ convent and DS Katie Maguire discovers a fifty year old secret that just might lead her to the killer … if the killer doesn’t find her first.
It includes work from a number of guest writers, including (in alphabetical order):
As well as a number of Platform One writers, many of who have won or been shortlisted for writing awards including:
the Hennessy Literary Award, the Listowel Writers’ Week Short Fiction Award, the Cecil Day Lewis Award, the Jonathan Swift Short Story Award, the James Plunkett Short Story Award, the RTE/Penguin Short Story Competition, the Patrick Kavanagh International Poetry Award and many more …
Trish Best, Annette Bryan, Joan Power, Niamh Byrne, Eileen Casey, Susan Condon, Doreen Duffy, Gavan Duffy, Brigid Flynn, Marie Gahan, Sue Hassett, James Hyde, Vivienne Kearns, Brian Kirk, Aine Lyons, Mae Newman, Trish Nugent, Tony Shields and Michael J Whelan.
“To open Circle and Square is like entering the sort of fascinating cafe which every shopping centre should ideally possess: a cornucopia of engaging voices and fascinating stories that any reader would happily eavesdrop on. Eileen Casey has deftly knitted together a compelling ensemble of poets and prose writers whose stories complement each other, as they ripple outwards in increasingly imaginative circles to explore the multiudinous facets of everday living. This is an anthology where a shopping expedition or a Luas journey can also bring you on a succession of intriguing and inventive voyages into the past and future. Prepare to be entertained.”
– Dermot Bolger
There will be a sneak preview of Circle & Square at the RED LINE FESTIVAL
on Tuesday the 13th October, 2015
at RUA RED Arts Centre
from 7.00 pm – 8.30 pm.
Guest writers Joan Power and Kevin Power (Bad Day in Blackrock) along with Eileen Casey will be in company with representatives from local trader organisations. The evening will feature the lyrics of WB Yeats put to music by Tony Bardon together with brief readings from Circle & Square (Fiery Arrow Press).
Admission is FREE, but booking is required via (01) 451 5860 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The official launch of Circle & Square is due to take place in November – details to follow soon!
Ian Rankin is one of the world’s greatest crime writers, creator of the hugely popular Inspector Rebus novels, as well as a string of standalone thrillers, and we are delighted to welcome him for a first visit to Pavilion Theatre.
Presented by dlr Library Voices Series
on Thursday 26 November, 2015 – 20:00 at Pavilion Theatre
Even Dogs in the Wild, the twentieth Rebus novel, brings back Ian Rankin’s greatest characters in a story exploring the darkest corners of our instincts and desires.
Full Booking Details available here
My eyes scan the luxurious Westin Hotel’s, Atrium Lounge in Dublin and land on the bearded guy in the corner, dressed in black. If it wasn’t for the fact that we’d already met, Stuart Neville would have appeared more rock star than author and my eyes would have moved on. I find later, that if he hadn’t caught the writing bug, that’s who he may have become. Although then he may have swapped his pot of tea for something a little stronger – in keeping with that rock image!
When we get talking about his life before writing he agrees that “it seems to be quite a common thread among writers that they’ll have done a lot of odd jobs over the years before they finally end up as writers. I worked in a music shop and I worked for a long time trying to break into writing music for film. I studied music in college” he tells me, “and then I did score one low budget feature.” He grins, “sort of a musical director – for want of a better word – on a short film with Ardhal O’Hanlon.” It appears that Stuart Neville’s hands have a claim to fame all of their own. In a scene where O’Hanlon has to play the guitar, it’s actually Neville’s hands that appear on screen!
Many readers have authors they admire and would relish an opportunity to chat to them about their craft. And every writer has a number of writers they feel the same way about. I was delighted to find that we were both fans of Stephen King who Neville actually met up with last year. “It was a bit of a thrill to meet him actually,” he says.
You can read the full interview on writing.ie by clicking here.
About Those We Left Behind
Those We Left Behind is the new DCI Serena Flanagan novel from the King of Irish Noir:
When 12-year-old Ciaran Devine confessed to murdering his foster father it sent shock waves through the nation.
DCI Serena Flanagan, then an ambitious Detective Sergeant, took Ciaran’s confession after days spent earning his trust. He hasn’t forgotten the kindness she showed him – in fact, she hasn’t left his thoughts in the seven years he’s been locked away.
Probation officer Paula Cunningham, now tasked with helping Ciaran re-enter society, suspects there was more to this case than the police uncovered. Ciaran’s confession saved his brother Thomas from a far lengthier sentence, and Cunningham can see the unnatural hold Thomas still has over his vulnerable younger brother.
When she brings her fears to DCI Flanagan, fresh back at work after treatment for breast cancer, the years of lies begin to unravel, setting a deadly chain of events in motion.
Those We Left Behind is in bookshops now, or pick up your copy online here.
From The Front Row:
at The Launch of Freedom’s Child
One of 2015’s Hottest Books
At 6pm last Thursday, Dubray Books, in Dublin’s cosmopolitan Grafton Street, became a world filled with crime. But not the usual kind – this was a room buzzing with goodwill and anticipation as published and yet unpublished crime writers, crime readers and friends and family of Jax Miller (Áine O’Domhnaill) came together to celebrate her Dublin launch of Freedom’s Child.
Stacks of her orange and black debut novel are quickly snapped up, like prized possessions, as staff replenish them while topping up glasses of wine and prosecco. The cover is a haunting affair showing a lone figure walking towards you with the tag line:
All She Wants Back Is Her Daughter
Two powerful quotes are emblazoned across:
‘Original, compelling and seriously recommended’
‘A terrific read from a powerful new voice’
There are shouts, hugs and cameras flashes as introductions are made between old friends and new, until suddenly an eerie silence encases the room and all eyes turn.
Jax Miller has arrived!
Read the full article here on
The crowd hushes as Miller reads the prologue from Freedom’s Child.
“My name is Freedom Oliver and I killed my daughter …”
Freedom’s Child by Jax Miller
‘A terrific read from a powerful new voice.’
‘Original, compelling and seriously recommended.’
A heart-stopping debut thriller about a woman named Freedom, who will stop at nothing to save the daughter she only knew for two minutes and seventeen seconds.
Call me what you will: a murderer, a cop killer, a fugitive, a drunk…
There’s a lot people don’t know about Freedom Oliver. They know she works at the local bar. They know she likes a drink or two.
What they don’t know is that Freedom is not her real name. That she has spent the last eighteen years living under Witness Protection, after being arrested for her husband’s murder. They don’t know that she put her two children up for adoption, a decision that haunts her every day.
Then Freedom’s daughter goes missing, and everything changes. Determined to find her, Freedom slips her handlers and heads to Kentucky where her kids were raised. No longer protected by the government, she is tracked by her husband’s sadistic family, who are thirsty for revenge. But as she gets closer to the truth, Freedom faces an even more dangerous threat.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
Check out the Killer Reads TEASER TRAILER here.
Over the years, I’ve read and enjoyed all of Alex Barclay’s books. Darkhouse, up until now, would have topped my all-time favourite books. As an avid reader, that’s high praise indeed – but that was before I read Killing Ways. Don’t worry – I guarantee no spoilers – but if you enjoy your crime fiction gritty with plenty of twists and turns then look no further. Engrossed in the story and the characters, about half-way in I had my first of many “oh, my God” moments, as the tension, along with my blood pressure, ratcheted up.
Sitting on the Luas I nearly missed my stop and couldn’t wait to dive between the pages again on my return journey; half of me wanted to race through the pages to the end while the other half wanted to savour every moment.
It was reminiscent of reading childhood books where I became so engrossed in the story that my real world virtually dissolved. The characters were alive and I felt as if I knew them as intimately as close friends and family; my mind already worrying about their future, long after that final page. Barclay is, most definitely, at the top of her game!
About Killing Ways
In the game of vengeance, he holds a killer hand.
In her most shocking case yet, FBI Special Agent Ren Bryce takes on a depraved serial killer fuelled by a warped sense of justice.
A master of evasion, each life he takes ramps up Ren’s obsession with finding him. Then one victim changes everything and brings Ren face to face with a detective whose life was destroyed by the same pursuit.
Together, can they defeat this monster?
Or will he take them both down?
Dreaming of writing a bestseller?
Five leading agents are looking for you!
They are looking for 75 top quality authors to pitch their work to 5 leading literary agents keen to sign new talent on 16th May 2015.
Submissions to the event will be assessed by Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin and a team of consultants from The Inkwell Group. Experienced literary scouts Inkwell have assisted award winning and bestselling authors to publication and will be reading every application, matching the selected authors to agents including:
- Simon Trewin, Partner and Head of Literary at WME
- Sallyanne Sweeney of Mulcahy Associates
- Clare Wallace, Darley Anderson Literary, TV and Film agency
- Julia Churchill, AM Heath
- Paul Feldstein, Feldstein Literary Agency
Don’t forget the closing date for submissions is midnight, Friday, 27th March.
Full details available here – and don’t forget to drop back
and share your news . . .