Blog Archives

Write That Novel

Writers, by-and-large, are a thoughtful, giving bunch, who do their best to impart nuggets of information that will spur you on to become the best writer that you can be. Crime fiction writer, Louise Phillips, goes out of her way to do that and more – and she succeeds. Two of her students have recently signed with literary agents, one (Jax Miller) with a major six figure publishing deal!

So if you are a writer with plans to start, finish or rework existing novel material (inclusive of memoir) then Louise Phillip’s, Write That Novel course, is for you.

Write_That_Novel_Louise_Phillips

It begins on 30 April in Carousel Creates and costs €120 for the six weeks – but be warned, it’s already booking up fast!

 

Here’s what Jax Miller had to say…

“There was nothing more pleasurable and informative than attending Louise Phillips’ Writing Courses at the scenic and serene enclave of Ireland that is Carousel Creates. Louise’s information and advice helped me to grow as an author and gave more confidence behind my pen. Learning from one of the best crime writers I know (and her reputation precedes her) was an experience I’d recommend to anyone I know who is looking to embark in the literary field, especially crime. I cannot vouch for her enough. She’s proven to be one of the best there is in the field and she certainly knows her stuff. It’s one course I’ll always remember.”

 

Louise Phillips is bestselling crime author of the psychological crime thrillers, Red Ribbons and The Doll’s House, Winner of the Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year 2013. Her work has been published as part of many anthologies, including County Lines from New Island, and various literary journals. In 2009, she won the Jonathan Swift Award for her short story Last Kiss, and in 2011 she was a winner in the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice platform. She has also been short-listed for the Molly Keane Memorial Award, Bridport UK, and long-listed twice for the RTÉ Guide/Penguin Short Story Competition. In 2012, she was awarded an Arts Bursary for Literature from South Dublin County Council.

Website: www.louise-phillips.com

 

Writing Events

There’s plenty of events to keep all avid readers and aspiring writers busy and plenty more to come.
I thought you’d be interested in these two for starters!

Something  Wicked presents:
Crime Writing Workshop with Louise Phillips

Something Wicked

Louise Phillips is the bestselling author of Red Ribbons and 2013 winner of Crime Novel of the Year for The Doll’s House.

This free workshop will cover all aspects of crime writing including: plot, character, tension, effective dialogue and so much more.

Click the poster for more information, including registration details.

Date:  Thursday, 13 March 2014
Time:  7.00pm – 8.30pm
Venue:  Manor Books, 3 Church Road, Malahide
Admission:  Free event but registration essential.
Email: info@somethingwicked.eu 


Writers at Smock Alley:
John Connolly

A celebration to launch The Wolf in Winter
with music from John Kearney & Lucy Farrell

John Connolly

Smock Alley are delighted to announce another event in their ongoing series of author talks with neighbours, the Gutter Bookshop.

Join them to celebrate the launch of the twelfth Charlie Parker thriller, The Wolf in Winter. John Connolly will be joined by musicians Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell in what promises to be a unique and thrilling evening. There will be a book signing after the event in The Gutter Bookshop.

Date:  Thursday, 20 March 2014
Time:  6.30pm
Venue:  Smock Alley Theatre
Admission:  Free ticketed event (€1 admin fee for on-line tickets)

 

Lady Killers: Ireland’s Leading Female Crime Writers

Lady Killers

Is crime your thing? Crime fiction, I hasten to add! Then mark Friday, 18th October in your diary and get your tickets for LADY KILLERS: Ireland’s Leading Female Crime Writers at The Civic Theatre before they sell out.

If you’re feeling lucky, you might even manage to WIN two tickets to this wonderful night – read on to find out how . . .

Whether you are a reader or currently honing your skills as a writer, this is an event not to be missed. A unique opportunity to delve into the minds of three prolific writers as they divulge the secrets (we hope!) to their success and how they manage to get into the minds of their characters: the victims and the killers.

Feeling lucky? Enter our free competition to win two tickets to Lady Killers. All you have to do is come up with the most intriguing question – so get your thinking caps on and post your questions here. Deadline for entries is 10pm on Sunday, 13 October. The winning question will be put to the panel, on your behalf, on the night. Better still, why not introduce yourself and ask it yourself – after all, dear winner, your seats are already booked and waiting . . .

Crime Writing by Leading Female Authors: Alex Barclay, Arlene Hunt, Louise Phillips and special guest former Boulder Coroner Joanne Richardson in conversation with Susan Condon

A killer evening not to be missed! Some of Ireland’s most popular female crime writers share insights into creating a gripping thriller. Special guest Joanne Richardson, former County Coroner of Boulder Colorado, brings an interesting element to the evening as she shares her experiences in this challenging role.

Alex Barclays first novel Darkhouse was a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller. Since then Alex has written several bestselling thrillers and won the Ireland AM Crime Fiction Award at the Irish Book Awards for her third novel, Blood Runs Cold, which was the beginning of the Special Agent Ren Bryce series.

Arlene Hunts dark and atmospheric stories perfectly capture the grimy underworld of Dublin and beyond. She is the author of a series of fast-paced crime-thrillers, featuring John Kenny and Sarah Quigley from Quik Investigations. Her sixth novel Undertow was nominated for best crime novel of the year in 2009. Her current novel – a stand alone set in the US – entitled The Chosen, was voted as TV3′s Book of the Month for November 2011.

Louise Phillips bestselling debut crime novel, Red Ribbons, was shortlisted for Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year (2012) in the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards. Her eagerly awaited second psychological crime novel, The Doll’s House was published August 2013

Joanne Richardson was County Coroner in Boulder Colorado from 2003 to 2012 and was responsible for determining cause and manner of death, which indicates whether the death was accidental, natural, suicide or homicide. Despite having what many would perceive to be a morbid profession, Richardson is upbeat, colourful and frank about her work.

Susan Condon is currently editing her debut novel – a crime fiction thriller set in New York City. Her writing career began in 2008. She has won many short story awards and was Longlisted in the RTÉ Guide/Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition 2012 and 2013.

Date:  Friday 18th October
Time:  8pm
Venue:  
The Civic Theatre, Main Auditorium
Admission:  €12/€10 concession

 

Don’t forget – the deadline for entries is 10pm on Sunday, 13 October. 

I’m looking forward to your killer questions!

Guest Blog: Louise Phillips

THE  DOLL’S  HOUSE  BLOG  TOUR

I am delighted to welcome friend and crime fiction author, Louise Phillips, as a guest as she continues on The Doll’s House Blog Tour.

Let me introduce you to the trailer:

When it went live, The Doll’s House book trailer, caused quite a stir.
You can be view it here, but be warned – it’s not for the faint-hearted!

Survived that? Check out the latest reviews:

THE DOLL’S HOUSE has been described by crime writer, Niamh O’ Connor, as ‘chilling, mesmerising. Gets under your skin and stays with you,’ and by Myles Mc Weeney of the Irish Independent, as, ‘A gripping, suspenseful story, peopled with well-drawn characters…’

And now, at last, the book itself:

The Doll’s House

The Dolls House

“Middle-aged male, multiple stab wounds, found drowned in the canal. You have my number. Call me.”

This is the message criminal psychologist Dr Kate Pearson receives one cold Saturday morning from Detective Inspector O’Connor, spoken in his usual curt manner. The middle-aged male in question is Keith Jenkins, the host of a popular TV programme, and as Kate and O’Connor begin their investigation, they find themselves faced with more questions than answers.

The past . . .

Following her mother’s recent death, Clodagh has begun to explore her past – her memories of her father, who died in a mysterious accident, and the dark tragedy that seeped through the cracks of her childhood home. When she begins to visit a hypnotherapist, scenes from her childhood begin to take shape, with interjections from a sometimes sinister cast of dolls.

. . . is waiting . . .

As Kate continues to investigate the disturbing details of the vicious murder, she is drawn closer to Clodagh’s unsettling family history. What terrible events took place in the Hamilton house all those years ago? And what connects them to the recent murder?

Time is running out for Clodagh and Kate. And the killer has already chosen his next victim…

 

Now over to Louise for some questions:

 

What do you feel makes for a great character – one that the reader will remember a long time after the final page?

Creating characters can be a bit like life, sometimes they can surprise you! And by that I mean that on occasions they can arrive practically fully developed on the page, and at other times, you have to dig quite deep. I think for the most part I know I have a strong character when their voice is constantly in my ear, so that when I go to write, it’s almost like you’re not the one doing the writing. We all have our favourite memorable characters from novels, but by and large the ones that stay with you are the ones that strike a strong emotional cord. I like a character that runs through your bloodstream the deeper into the novel you get. If at the end of a book, a part of you is already missing that character, then it is undoubtedly a memorable one.

There was quite an amount of research involved in The Doll’s House and part of it involved hypnosis and regression. Knowing what your character, Clodagh, uncovered, how did you feel while you were awaiting the countdown for your hypnosis session?

I think researching hypnotic regression for The Doll’s House reminded me how complicated our minds are. I was fully committed to the idea, and really believed it would happen. I had no idea that my conscious mind would block me from being regressed. Perhaps with the research I had learnt too much. The whole area fascinated me, which is why I chose to write about it in the first place. We all think we remember things as they happened, but we don’t. We constantly compromise our memory, as each time we recall an event, instead of going back to the original memory, we shortcut back to our last recall. So, getting back to your question, I was both nervous and excited. I hope to make further efforts to regress, and when I do, I’ll let you know how I got on.

It looks like The Doll’s House was a sell-out at its recent launch in the Gutter Bookshop.  Were you surprised to find an even bigger turnout than at your debut novel, Red Ribbons?

Surprised and delighted. I was thrilled to see so many people there, and I think in part it was a testament to RED RIBBONS that so many people were keen to pick up a copy of THE DOLL’S HOUSE. I was amazed that whilst signing copies, on a number of occasions I looked up and saw that people were starting to read the novel on the queue! So far it’s got some fantastic reviews, so fingers crossed. The story seems to have really struck a nerve with people, and as a writer, you can’t ask for more than that.

About The Author:

louise-phillips

Born in Dublin, Louise Phillips returned to writing in 2006, after raising her family. That year, she was selected by Dermot Bolger as an emerging talent.
Her work has been published as part of many anthologies, including County Lines from New Island, and various literary journals. In 2009, she won
the Jonathan Swift Award for her short story Last Kiss, and in 2011 she was a winner in the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice platform. She has also been short-listed for the Molly Keane Memorial Award, Bridport UK, and long-listed twice for the RTE Guide/Penguin Short Story Competition.

Her bestselling debut novel, Red Ribbons, was shortlisted for Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year (2012) in the Irish Book Awards. The Doll’s House is her second novel and has recently hit the book shelves with a vengeance!

I can promise, an enjoyable read awaits you . . .

The Doll’s House and Red Ribbons are available from Louise’s site here.

Available directly from Amazon: The Doll’s House and Red Ribbons.

www.louise-phillips.com

Louise on Twitter

Louise on Facebook

Red Line Book Festival 2013

There’s plenty of events to keep all avid readers and aspiring writers busy over the month of October and more to come . . .

Check out a selection below which includes LADYKILLERS – when, as part of the Red Line Book Festival, I have the opportunity to chat to some of my favourite crime fiction writers – Alex Barclay, Louise Phillips and Arlene Hunt – not a night for the faint-hearted!

Red Line Book Festival 2013:  Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About

Ireland’s leading performance poets take you on an emotional journey about what it really means to be a man. With Stephen James Smith, Colm Keegan & Kalle Ryan.

Venturing where few men have gone before they talk life, love, family and feelings in a show about universal truths, the things that make us human and the things that mess us up.

“…each of the men brings their own energy, tone and distinct poetic style to the composite structure…”**** The Irish Times

Contains some strong language, suitable 15+

This event is supported by Poetry Ireland

Date:  Wednesday 16th October
Time:  8pm
Venue:  The Civic Theatre, Main Auditorium
Admission:  €12/€10 concession

  


Red Line Book Festival 2013:  Against the Black Sky We Listen : an Irish Peacekeeper’s Poems

Michael J. Whelan is a soldier-poet, historian and United Nations veteran. Michael writes powerful, emotive poems of witness, tragedy, friendship & loss brought like baggage from war zones through which many Irish soldiers have passed; he is a voice of moments in the past.

In, Against the Black Sky, We Listen, he writes poems inspired by his experiences and memories as an Irish soldier with the peacekeeping forces during the conflicts in Lebanon and Kosovo.

Michael will read from his collection of poems placed 2nd in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Awards 2011, some of which have been published in New Irish Writing 2013 and other literary journals.

Date:  Thursday, 17th October
Time:  7.30pm
Venue:  RUA RED Arts Centre, Tallaght
Admission:  Free


Red Line Book Festival 2013:  LADYKILLERS

Crime Writing by Leading Female Authors: Alex Barclay, Arlene Hunt, Louise Phillips and special guest former Boulder Coroner Joanne Richardson in conversation with Susan Condon

A killer evening not to be missed! Some of Ireland’s most popular female crime writers share insights into creating a gripping thriller. Special guest Joanne Richardson, former County Coroner of Boulder Colorado, brings an interesting element to the evening as she shares her experiences in this challenging role.

Alex Barclays first novel Darkhouse was a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller. Since then Alex has written several bestselling thrillers and won the Ireland AM Crime Fiction Award at the Irish Book Awards for her third novel, Blood Runs Cold, which was the beginning of the Special Agent Ren Bryce series.

Arlene Hunts dark and atmospheric stories perfectly capture the grimy underworld of Dublin and beyond. She is the author of a series of fast-paced crime-thrillers, featuring John Kenny and Sarah Quigley from Quik Investigations. Her sixth novel Undertow was nominated for best crime novel of the year in 2009. Her current novel – a stand alone set in the US – entitled The Chosen, was voted as TV3′s Book of the Month for November 2011.

Louise Phillips bestselling debut crime novel, Red Ribbons, was shortlisted for Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year (2012) in the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards. Her eagerly awaited second psychological crime novel, The Doll’s House was published August 2013

Joanne Richardson was County Coroner in Boulder Colorado from 2003 to 2012 and was responsible for determining cause and manner of death, which indicates whether the death was accidental, natural, suicide or homicide. Despite having what many would perceive to be a morbid profession, Richardson is upbeat, colourful and frank about her work.

Susan Condon is currently editing her debut novel – a crime fiction thriller set in New York City. Her writing career began in 2008. She has won many short story awards and was Longlisted in the RTE Guide / Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition 2012.

Date:  Friday 18th October
Time:  8pm
Venue:  
The Civic Theatre, Main Auditorium
Admission:  €12/€10 concession

 

Whether you are a crime fiction reader or currently honing your skills as a crime fiction writer, this is an event not to be missed. An opportunity to delve into the minds of three prolific writers as they divulge the secrets (we hope!) to their success and how they manage to get into the minds of their characters: the victims and the killers . . .

At the end of the night, there will be a chance for you, the audience, to ask those burning questions that have been eating away at you. If you can’t make it on the night and that burning question will not go away, post it here. The most intriguing question will be asked, on your behalf, on the night.

Hope to see you there!

Crime Fiction Reviews

Crime Scene Book Club Reviewers over on www.writing.ie

Who could possibly argue with Louise Phillips, author of Red Ribbons, when she compared us – Joe McCoubrey, Mick Halpin, Triona Walsh and little ‘auld me – as similar to the X Factor panel!  Just as discerning – and possibly even more dangerous – all of this in our roles as part of the Crime Scene Book Reviewer Panel over at www.writing.ie . . .

As avid readers, I know this is a role we are all enjoying immensely.

Joe McCoubrey Mick Halpin Triona Walsh Susan Condon

You can find links to a number of my reviews below to whet your appetite:

The Doll’s House by Louise Phillips

Headstone by Ken Bruen

In The Darkness by Karin Fossum

The Chosen by Arlene Hunt

Bad Moon Rising by Frances de Plino

Crossbones Yard by Kate Rhodes

And don’t forget to check out what Joe, Mick and Triona are reading and reviewing.

Happy reading!

Photos from Dublin Writing Events

A selection of photos with writers, from all genres, that I have had the privilege to meet.

I admire them all, not only for for their work, but also for their attitude and their willingness to help fellow writers.

And lots more to be added soon, I hope!

The National Emerging Writer Programme
Dublin City Library and Archive
9 January, 2013:

Annmarie Miles, Vanessa O'Loughlin, Susan Condon
Annmarie Miles, Vanessa O’Loughlin, Susan Condon

Hazel Gaynor, Paul Fitzsimons, Carlo Gébler, Susan Condon, Declan Hughes
Hazel Gaynor, Paul Fitzsimons, Carlo Gébler,
Susan Condon, Declan Hughes

Vanessa O'Loughlin, Hazel Gaynor, Paul Fitzsimons, Carlo Gébler, Declan Hughes, Susan Condon
Vanessa O’Loughlin, Hazel Gaynor, Paul Fitzsimons,
Carlo Gébler, Declan Hughes, Susan Condon

#TXS2 at The Westin Hotel
November, December 2012:

Louise Phillips, Jillian Godsill, John Ivory, Maura Donaghue, Susan Condon
Louise Phillips, Jillian Godsill, John Ivory,
Maura Donaghue, Susan Condon

Susan Condon, Trish Nugent
Susan Condon, Trish Nugent

After Crime Night at the Civic Theatre
November, 2012:

533511_10151163759547911_320014214_n (1)
Susan Condon, Fergus Doyle, Trish Nugent,
Ruby Barnes, Louise Phillips

553695_10151163759772911_668106002_n (1)
Shay Condon, Susan Condon, Fergus Doyle,
Tanya Farrelly, Ruby Barnes, Trish Nugent,
Louise Phillips, Declan Kerins, Rhoda Kerins

Three Voices/Three Forms
Loose End Studio, Civic Theatre
14 November, 2012:

Susan Condon, Colm Keegan
Susan Condon, Colm Keegan

Susan Condon, Colm Keegan, Eileen Casey, Louise Phillips
Susan Condon, Colm Keegan,
Eileen Casey, Louise Phillips

Louise Phillips, Susan Condon
Louise Phillips, Susan Condon

Eileen Casey, Susan Condon
Eileen Casey, Susan Condon

Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Awards
Saggart Heritage & Arts Centre
November, 2012:

Susan Condon, Michael J Whelan, Doreen Duffy
Susan Condon 1st Prize Short Story
Michael J Whelan 3rd Prize Poetry
Doreen Duffy 1st Prize Poetry

Susan Condon, Michael J Whelan, Doreen Duffy
Susan Condon 1st Prize Short Story
Michael J Whelan 3rd Prize Poetry
Doreen Duffy 1st Prize Poetry

SDCC European Week Against Racism Poetry Competition
SDCC County Hall
27 March 2012:

Mayor of Tallaght, Susan Condon
1st Prize
SDCC European Week Against Racism Poetry Competition, 2012
Deputy Mayor of South Dublin County Pamela Kearns, Susan Condon

Brigid Flynn, Susan Condon
Brigid Flynn, Susan Condon

Tallaght Library Writers Group
Rua Red
August 2011:

Doreen Duffy, Orla Coffey, Tanya Farrelly, Michael Whelan, Des McInerney, Paul Tylak
Doreen Duffy, Orla Coffey, Tanya Farrelly
Michael Whelan, Des McInerney, Paul Tylak

Michael Whelan, Des McInerney, Orla Coffey, Doreen Duffy, Tanya Farrelly, Susan Condon
Michael Whelan, Des McInerney, Orla Coffey
Doreen Duffy, Tanya Farrelly, Susan Condon

SDCC Bealtaine Short Story Competition
SDCC County Hall
28 May 2010:

Susan Condon, Mayor Michael Duff
1st Prize
SDCC Bealtaine Short Story Competition, 2010
Susan Condon, Mayor of South Dublin County Mick Duff

City of Dublin VEC Creative Writing Competition
Teachers’ Club, Parnell Square
29 April 2010:

John MacKenna, Susan Condon - 1st Prize - City of Dublin VEC Short Story Competition, 2010
1st Prize
City of Dublin VEC Short Story Competition, 2010
John McKenna, Susan Condon

John McKenna, Susan Condon - 3rd Prize - City of Dublin VEC Poetry Competition, 2010
3rd Prize
City of Dublin VEC Poetry Competition, 2010
John McKenna, Susan Condon

Out and About at Writing Events:

Susan Condon, Mick Halpin, Nell McCafferty, Louise Phillips, Liam Flood
Susan Condon, Mick Halpin, Nell McCafferty,
Louise Phillips, Liam Flood
After Inspiring Crime Writers
Dublin Book Festival
The Porterhouse, Temple Bar (15 November 2012)

Louise Phillips - Red Ribbons Launch
Louise Phillips
Launch of Red Ribbons by Louise Phillips
Hughes & Hughes Bookshop (5 September 2012)
Photo by Ger at Taken by Titch

Susan Condon, Arlene Hunt, Louise Phillips
Susan Condon, Arlene Hunt, Louise Phillips
Launch of The Wrath of Angels by John Connolly
The Gutter Bookshop (31 August 2012)

Jillian Godsill, Valerie Healy, Michelle Jackson
Jillian Godsill, Valerie Healy, Michelle Jackson
Launch of The Terrace by Maria Duffy
The Clarion Hotel (2012)

Jane Travers, Susan Condon, Derek Flynn
Jane Travers, Susan Condon, Derek Flynn
Launch of The Scarlet Ribbon by Derry O’Dowd
Hodges Figgis Bookstore (10 February 2012)

Susan Condon, Joseph O'Connor
Susan Condon, Joseph O’Connor
A private Reading of Ghost Light by Joseph O’Connor
at the home of Orla Coffey (13 April 2011)

Melissa Hill, Susan Condon
Melissa Hill, Susan Condon
Irish Women’s Fiction
Eason, O’Connell Street, Dublin (31 March 2011)

Dundrum Irish Crime Fiction Writers
Mick Halpin, Ann Usack, Patrick Fay,
Brian Roche, Laurence O’Bryan, Louise Phillips
Dundrum Irish Crime Fiction Writers
(only some of them and taken by me!)

What A Privilege!

There could be only one answer – a resounding YES – when I was asked to chair Three Voices/Three Forms at the Loose End Studio, Civic Theatre last Wednesday.

As part of the Red Line Book Festival 2012, this was a platform to showcase three very diverse, but equally talented writers:

Each writer read extracts from their work – Colm from his poetry, Don’t Go There; Eileen from her short story collection, Snow Shoes and Louise from her crime bestseller, Red Ribbons, along with a tantalizing taster from The Dolls House.

After their Readings I had an opportunity to ask each writer a couple of questions about their writing before opening up to the floor where the fun really began.

You only had to look at the audience to see how much they enjoyed listening to these wonderful writers and from the photo’s it certainly appears as if Colm, Eileen and Louise enjoyed the night too!

Red Ribbons Blog Tour

The Wait Is Almost Over!

Red Ribbons

Red Ribbons, the debut novel by Louise Phillips, will hit the book shops on Monday, 3 September.

But, if you can’t wait that long, it’s already available on Amazon, where reader reviews hail this chilling, psychological crime fiction book as one to make your heart pound and freak you out!

Louise, as well as being an accomplished writer, is also an inspiration to all around her, offering help and advice to writers on every rung of the literary ladder.

I would like to wish her all the success she so rightly deserves and look forward to helping her celebrate at her book launch on:
Wednesday, 5 September at 6.30pm in Hughes & Hughes,
St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre. Maybe I’ll see you there?

Anyway, time to get this Blog Tour on the road. Check out the answers to the ten questions that,
as a fellow crime fiction reader and writer, I put to Louise:

1.  Tell us about your debut novel, Red Ribbons:

Well the best way to describe it is to give you a mini-blurb.

A missing schoolgirl is found buried in the Dublin Mountains, hands clasped together in prayer, two red ribbons in her hair. Twenty-four hours later, a second schoolgirl is found in a shallow grave – her body identically arranged. Police call in criminal psychologist, Kate Pearson, to get inside the mind of the murderer before he strikes again. But the more Kate discovers about the killings, the more it all feels terrifyingly familiar. As the pressure to find the killer intensifies, there’s one vital connection to be made – Ellie Brady, a woman institutionalised fifteen years earlier for the murder of her daughter Amy. Ellie stopped talking when everybody stopped listening. But what connects the death of Amy Brady to the murdered schoolgirls? As Kate Pearson, begins to unravel the truth, danger is closer than she knows.

The bad man is everywhere, but can she see him?

2.  Which character, that you have created, is your favourite and why?

That’s a hard one. When I finished the first draft of the novel, I missed all my characters, even the killer. It was before Christmas, and I had no Christmas shopping done, no decorations on the tree, but still I turned around when I got to the end of the manuscript, and I thought, gosh, their voices won’t be living with me every day anymore! And it felt like they had vanished. But of course they did come back – in the editing process and beyond. And in a way it was like old friends visiting, and in a kind of way, like they had never really left. But which one is the favourite???? I think it has to be Ellie, mainly because she went on the biggest journey. I also wrote her in first person narrative, which is always a more intimate experience for the writer. I lived her life for a time, or as close to it as a writer can with their fictional creations. Ellie is the woman who stopped talking because everyone stopped listening. She is the woman life left behind for a time, a person on the margins, but a woman of great strength in my opinion. I knew that from the moment she came to life on the page. Ellie was her own woman, and a testament that there is always light within the dark.

3.  Where do you get your ideas from?

They come from everywhere, and nowhere, the present and the past, the imagined and the actual. I know that sounds very vague, but it is kind of a vague process. I sometimes think logic has no place in writing. By this I don’t mean you should put a garbled mess on the page, but more that sometimes it’s not a good idea to try to quantify it too clearly. On occasions, you are not completely sure what the story will be about, you have an idea yes, but often the end result is very far from what you perceived initially. It usual starts with an idea or a visual stimulation for me, something which asks a number of questions. I like to write about things which will push me as a writer, and also something with a huge emotional connection. It has to be real, it has to mean something to me, otherwise, if it doesn’t, and it doesn’t excite me, well it isn’t going to excite the reader either.

4.  Who, in the writing world, has inspired you most?

So many writers, far too many to put down here on the page, and many of which are Irish. If there was an Olympics for writers, Ireland would come home with plenty of gold medals. I love great prose, and by that I don’t necessarily mean heavy literary stuff, but words which get inside my head emotionally. Most readers are the same. You recognise something good very quickly – it simply works. And when you write, you very often get a sense when something has that extra quality. It usually arrives around three o’clock in the morning when you want to sleep, but an idea is bubbling inside of you. If I had a euro for the amount of times I’ve gotten out of bed in the middle of the night and written in long hand, well I’d have a much bigger bank account! Like many, I have a favourite book shelf, and when I’m old and very grey, I’m going to take the books down one at a time, and read them slowly all over again.

5.  When and where do you write best?

Early morning generally before the rest of the world gets in the way. Life is complicated, and we are bombarded with stuff, not simply with work or family, but noise everywhere – television, the radio in the car, social media, voices of strangers, and the credit card bill that you have to pay. It all gets caught up in a traffic jam called life. I live in the Dublin mountains, and in the early morning I can hear birdsong. After stormy nights, I listen to the wind whisking across the valley. It reminds me of when I was younger, and I would get up before everyone else woke up, to catch the sunrise as it reached a gap in the tenement buildings where we lived.

In the morning you are fresh, unburdened in many ways. As to where, I have different places, but I’ve often written in the bedroom with all the blinds down, blocking out a beautiful day. You don’t need great views to write, or even birdsong – all you need is an idea, a pen and paper, and the mental space to create.

6.  What book are you currently reading?

At the moment I’m reading, Ancient Light by John Banville, but I have a stack of books by my bed yet to be read. They are The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry, Slaughter’s Hound by Declan Burke, Solace by Belinda McKeon, and Blue Monday by Nicci French. So much joy, so little time!!!

7.  Could you ever see yourself writing in another genre?

Yes is the simple answer to that, and perhaps even for a different age group. I didn’t set out to write a crime novel, although I recognised fairly early on that my writing tended to visit darker issues. My children have often asked me why I don’t write about happy things, but I don’t see it like that. I like to think I find light within the dark, hope when there might seem little. Crime fiction is well suited for exploring elements with high emotional stakes, and I do think genre is important as a means of quantifying the script for the reader. At the end of the day however, you write about something you feel passionate about. If that happens to be under the crime umbrella, well that’s fine. If it’s another kind of exploration, well that will work too. Most of us read many genres, which is good, and writers and readers are like-minded souls.

8.  Do you think it’s important for writers to connect with their readers on-line?

For sure. Online participation is not for everyone. I can understand that. Some writers find it makes their environment too noisy, and I can understand that too. Online presence however is part of our current communication system. Years ago complete strangers got to know each other, and became lifelong friends, writing letters to their pen pals, others people might have spoken for endless hours on their phone. Ireland is a nation of talkers – we didn’t have the highest per capita use of mobile phone users in Europe because we don’t speak a lot to one another. Now online activity, Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, email, is everywhere. When cars were invented, some preferred another means of transport. It is of course down to the individual.

A writer needs to connect with their readers, or potential readers. The emergence of writers going down the self-publishing route has broken down many of the old barriers to publication. If you are happy to connect with others online, you will find an audience – at the end of the day, you can have the best story in the world, but you want people to read it.

9.  I know you’re currently working on your second novel, The Dolls House, can you share a little about it?

Yes, I’m writing The Dolls House, and yes, I’m very excited by it. I’ve chatted to a couple of people about it, and when I do I notice I start to talk faster, and louder, and my eyes open wide – all tell-tale signs! I can tell you it involves hypnosis, the sub-conscious, the death of a well known television personality, and memory. If I was to put a question out there, it would be – What if the one memory which could save your life, is the thing you cannot remember? You can read the prologue for The Dolls House on my website www.louise-phillips.com but I will give you a quote from it as a kind of introduction.

“After the fall, her white porcelain face spilt in two, half-cracked like me. I looked inside the crack, into the dark, and found emptiness. She is still here, just like the others from my doll’s house – living inside of me.”

10.  And finally, what do you predict will be happening when I check back with you in a year from now?

Well, it will be six weeks to publication of The Dolls House. I hope, and I think, I will have learned a lot along the way. I’m learning all the time, and not just about writing. I’m learning about all aspects of one of the biggest contradictions of all – the solitary writing process saying hello in a very public way to the world outside!

I look forward to checking back, Louise, after we’ve had a taste of Red Ribbons. In the meantime, we’ll just have to whet our appetite with the Red Ribbons trailer . . .

RED RIBBONS Trailer – Click Here!

You can follow Louise Phillips on her Blog Tour and watch her exciting book launch as it unfolds:

 Twitter:  @LouiseMPhillips

Facebook:  HERE

Book Reviews: Red Ribbons

Red Ribbons
by Louise Phillips

Not a review – yet – but I guarantee that from the snippets I have had the pleasure to read, this book will be one, that like me, you’ll be rushing out to buy.

If you don’t believe me, then let me whet your appetite with not one, but two fabulous trailers . . .

RED RIBBONS Trailer No 1Click Here!

RED RIBBONS Trailer No 2Click Here!

And the good news is, you don’t have long to wait.  
 
 
  
Red Ribbons will be launched, by Crime Editor of The Sunday World, Niamh O’Connor at:
 
6.30pm
on Wednesday 5th September
Hughes & Hughes, St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre.
 

THE SERIAL KILLER:
A missing schoolgirl is found buried in the Dublin Mountains, hands clasped together in prayer, two red ribbons in her hair. Twenty-four hours later, a second schoolgirl is found in a shallow grave … her body identically arranged.
A hunt for the killer is on.
 

THE CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGIST:
The police call in profiler Dr Kate Pearson to get inside the mind of the murderer before he strikes again. But the more Kate discovers about the killings, the more it all feels terrifyingly familiar . . .

THE ACCUSED WOMAN:
As the pressure to find the killer intensifies there’s one vital connection to be made. . . Ellie Brady, a mother institutionalised fifteen years earlier for the murder of her twelve-year-old daughter. She stopped talking when everyone stopped listening.
 
THE BAD MAN IS EVERYWHERE … BUT CAN YOU SEE HIM …
 
Learn more about the author, Louise Phillips, and her upcoming debut novel by checking out her Blog:

www.louise-phillips.com

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