Monday, June 27, 2016
Friday, June 24, 2016
The Last Days of Summer is set in a Texas prairie town. It tells the story of Jasper Curtis, a convicted felon released from Huntsville prison. He returns home after serving 10 years for a heinous crime to a town where he isn’t wanted.
His sister Lizzie agrees to take him in. She lives with her two daughters, teenager Katie and 11-year-old Joanne. Lizzie's marriage collapsed shortly after Jasper was arrested, and as the town reacts with hostility, she gets a visit from Reverend Gordon, asking ‘You sure you know who you’re lettin into your home?’ ‘Where else he gonna go?’ she replies. Lizzie has no idea if Jasper is the brother she grew up loving or a monster.
Prairie dust, heat, hate and small town mentality combine with the time-bomb of Jasper, a man with a shady sexual desire and past living in an isolated location with two attractive young girls and a sister who can’t turn him away.
There is a slow pace for most of the story, giving the sense that nothing and everything is happening. This is counterbalanced by Ronan’s use of present tense narrative which is told from four points of view’ Jasper, Lizzie, Katie and Joanne. Short, snappy sentences add a sense of immediacy as if dark clouds of danger are constantly hovering. This novel is gripping and atmospheric, although if you’re looking for a fast-paced page turner, this isn’t it.
From the outset, Jasper, the felon, hasn’t given up on God, whilst Lizzie, the good woman, has, and these types of contradictions set the reader up for a messy and complicated landscape.
This novel is not for the fainthearted and is uncomfortable reading at times. On one occasion when Jasper is alone with Joanne, he recalls the paedophile he met in prison and states he understands how young girls got him ticking. Another time he meets a young mother and wonders if he sucked her tits would he get milk. The barbaric description of his original crime is difficult too, as is the incident when he skins a rabbit alive. Each beg the question if these elements exist for shock value or whether we’ve become watered down in our fictional approach to evil.
Certainly, Ronan rackets up the anxiety in a variety of ways, with secrets and half-truths about what Jasper really did all those years before. The threat of violent outbursts from him and others in the town, coupled with Jasper’s deviant introspection and heightened sexual desire towards women, including his nieces, keeps the reader on edge. Unusually, there are no chapter breaks in this novel, adding a form of relentlessness in how the story is told. It should be exhausting, but rather it propels the reader forward.
All the characters in this story are flawed, with the exception of young Joanne, who serves as a vacuum of innocence, befriending Jasper when others loathe him. Each member of the town is trapped in much the same way as Jasper was incarcerated - no one is leaving. Hate, danger, fear and small town bias serve to keep all the inhabitants as potential victims of themselves and the insidious locked in element becomes the backdrop for revenge.
The main character, Jasper, has two strands to his personality. One the reader can relate to when he shows his ability to care and wishes the rest of the world could see him the way Joanne does. ‘I want to feel human again,’ he tells Lizzie, ‘I want to feel close enough to normal.’ This draws on the reader’s empathy, but the gulf between this and his darker side is often contradictory, which partially dilutes the character’s credibility.
The unhurried pace of the story as it builds to a finale leaves you with high expectations of what’s to come, like a heavy rain shower after hours of overhanging darkness. The finale is violent and tough, but lacks the poetic, atmospheric, descriptive style of the earlier part of the novel, and overall, it didn’t give the dividend the previous pages dictated.
Saturday, June 18, 2016
I’ve been a little quiet on Social Media of late. Mainly because returning from Boston, life got really hectic with things to do with the family, our business and other stuff! Anyhow, this Monday I will be back to doing what I love most – writing.
This means another break from Social Media, except for the odd sneaky post.
Here are a few dates for the diary in my absence. Hopefully I’ll catch up with some of you at an event or two!
25th & 26th June 2016 – Dublin Writers Conference
21st – 24th July 2016 – Harrogate Crime Festival
15th – 19th Aug 2016 – Intensive Crime Fiction Course IWC
End Sept 2016 – Launch of Irish Fiction Anthology
Trouble is our Business, New Island
4th October 2016 – Book Club Maynooth Library
Early October 2016 – Trip to San Francisco for festival
15th – 16th October 2016 – Dalkey Festival
29th October 2016 – 10 Week Irish Crime Fiction Workshop Irish Writers Centre
End October 2016 – Trip to Phoenix Arizona for festival
Early November 2016 – Launch of Red Ribbons in the US
12th November 2016 – Leaves Literary Festival
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Sunday, June 12, 2016
24th to the 26th June 2016
The Dublin Writers Conference will take place later this month and extra seats have been made available!!!
Judging by the success of last year's event, this conference is quickly becoming a key date on the literary calendar.
I'm really honored to be joining the list of professional speakers and workshop facilitators this year, so if you fancy taking part, I'll look forward to seeing you there.
There are a wide range of seminars and workshops available, and flexibility with bookings too, whether you are available for one day or two.....
You can check it out HERE
The workshop I will be doing....
CHARACTER, IMPACT & PACE
This module will look at how best to begin your story, including getting that killer opening line. It will examine the role of character/characters in your fictional world, concentrating on truly engaging the reader by creating memorable ones. Pace and impact are crucial components of fiction writing, and during this session we will explore the ideal means of establishing solid pace and impact in your work. The right pacing and the the correct impact, both critical components, will have your reader turning the pages, keeping them hooked throughout. Pacing defines the speed and rhythm at which a story is told, pulling the reader through events, whilst the correct impact has the power to captivate, entertain and inspire your reader.
And a little about me.....
LOUISE PHILLIPS is an author of four bestselling psychological crime thrillers, each shortlisted for Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year in the Irish Book Awards. Her second novel, THE DOLL’S HOUSE, won the award. Her work has formed part of many literary anthologies, and she has won both the Jonathan Swift Award and the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice platform. In 2013, she received an Arts Bursary for Literature, and in 2015, she was awarded a Writers’ Residency at Cill Rialaig Artist retreat. She teaches crime fiction at the Irish Writers’ Centre in Dublin, and this year, she was longlisted for a CWA Dagger in the Library Award. She has also been a judge on the Irish panel for the EU Literary Award. Her first two novels, RED RIBBONS and THE DOLL’S HOUSE will be published in the U.S. in 2016 and 2017. Her latest novel is THE GAME CHANGER
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
The shortlist for crime writing’s accolade, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, has been announced.
Celebrating its twelfth year, the Awards feature six titles whittled down from a longlist of 18 crime novels published by British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1 May 2015 to 18 April 2016.
The 2016 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and The Radio Times.
The shortlist in full:
- Time Of Death – Mark Billingham
- Career Of Evil – Robert Galbraith
- Tell No Tales – Eva Dolan
- Disclaimer – Renee Knight
- I Let You Go – Clare Mackintosh
- Rain Dogs – Adrian McKinty
The award ceremony will be hosted by broadcaster Mark Lawson on 21 July on the opening night of the 14th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.
Executive Director of T&R Theakston Ltd and Judge, Simon Theakston, said: “It’s a remarkable shortlist that shows the crime genre shapes our cultural landscape and dominates publishing.”
Congrats to all on the Shortlist, but special congrats to Irish author Adrian McKinty whose latest novel Rain Dogs has been receiving mighty accolades!!!
Rain Dogs has been shortlisted for the 2016 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award and longlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award 2016. Previous books in the Duffy series have won or been shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award, The Edgar Award, The Anthony Award, The Spinetingler Award and The Barry Award.
McKinty has all the virtues: smart dialogue, sharp plotting, great sense of place, well-rounded characters and a nice line in what might be called cynical lyricism ("Rain. Wind. The afternoon withering like a piece of fruit in an Ulster pantry.") If Duffy's relentless patter occasionally makes you feel like you're trapped in a lift with a stand-up comedian, well, those dreary steeples cry out for a little antic distraction. Be warned, though. Rain Dogs is Gateway
McKinty: you won't stop here.
- The Irish Times
Challenged with the second locked-room -- locked-castle really -- mystery of his career, Duffy pursues answers in his usual manner: resolute and incisive until every aspect and angle of the truth shakes out. He is pleasurably full of quips, wry and dry, observing his Daisy-Dukes-sporting neighbor "smoking Benson and Hedges in a way that would have cheered the heart of the head of marketing at Philip Morris," and telling Lawson that their aggravating colleague, Frank Payne, is "as fine an example of nominative determinism as you'll ever get." McKinty captures the mood and flavor of a city perpetually under siege, the life of a detective during wartime [and he] also excels at scene-grabbing set pieces: this novel opens on a terrific one with a massive crowd -- including Bono -- fixated on a visit from Muhammad Ali. McKinty's decision to expand the series beyond the original trilogy has breathed new energy and vigor into his novels: Duffy's not just growing naturally into this larger space, he's taking us right along with him.
- The Boston Globe
Adrian McKinty is on a roll. His last novel in the Sean Duffy series set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Gun Street Girl, has been shortlisted for an Edgar award by the Mystery Writers of America. The latest, Rain Dogs, does not disappoint. The dark humour, the verbal jests, and the seamless insertion of real historical figures and events into the fictional narrative are all superbly sustained...This is clever historical fiction with the bite of social commentary and the joy of a crime series at its zenith.
- The Sydney Morning Herald
The tension between McKinty's competing love of tight, formal puzzles and loose, riffing dialogue is what makes the Duffy novels such a tremendous joy.
- The Guardian
A classic plot with modern twists...[another] thoroughly engaging crime novel set in Northern Ireland
- The Sunday Times
Today is the LAST DAY to vote in the Dead Good Awards, if you fancy casting your vote.
The first category is for a series of books, i.e. The Kate Pearson series (hint, hint) and the other categories are for individuals books.
You could win £200 worth of book vouchers, and that can't be too bad!!
Thanks to everyone who voted so far - it's very much appreciated!!
I will go now and be very quiet......
You can vote HERE
Posted by Louise at 4:43 AM
Sunday, May 29, 2016
Put on the kettle, make a cuppa and tune into this interview with myself, Paul Perry and the wonderful Nessa O'Mahony, where two crime fiction authors chat about all things writing, especially crime fiction writing. Plus, you get a sneak preview of 'Girl Unknown' by Karen Perry (writing duo Karen Gillece and Paul Perry) and 'After I was Killed' my latest novel. I hope you enjoy it!
Click on link here to view....HERE
Friday, May 27, 2016
If you were staying at the Bristol Marriott Hotel over the weekend, you could be forgiven for thinking you were a delegate at a Star Wars convention, such were the throngs of people bustling through the hotel, each armed with name badges and looking wildly enthusiastic. But it wasn’t Star Wars, it was Crimefest, the international crime fiction convention held in Bristol every May.
With record numbers this year, the festival attracted writers, readers, editors, agents, publishers and bloggers from all over the globe, and with a strong Irish contingent, it has become a date for the diary.
‘Crimefest is an event where I can have breakfast with an Australia author, coffee with an American reader, and at the Gala Dinner, present an award to a Scandinavian writer,’ says Sarah Ward, one of the judges of the Petrona Award. ‘It’s the highlight of my crime fiction year.’
But what actually happens at this festival over four days in May? You have the headline acts, internationally acclaimed writers like Ian Rankin, Anne Holt, Peter James and Hugh Fraser, all willing to share nuggets of their writing process and success, and also happy to chat with delegates during panel intervals, while copious amounts of tea and coffee are drunk.
(Ian Rankin with Patricia Gibney)
Ayo Onatade, Special Crime Reporter at Shots Ezine and associate member of The Crime Writers Association (CWA), puts the success of the convention down to the laid back and fun approach, as well as the panels being well organised. ‘It’s often difficult to decide which panel to attend. Everyone enjoys themselves and there is no demarcation between authors that are taking part, readers, fans, and bloggers who are there. It’s not elitist.’
And that’s the thing about Crimefest that makes it different. You could be chatting to a fellow writer or friend one moment, then find yourself talking all things crime fiction with publishers, agents and editors from around the world, and there are plenty of buzzing conversations with the sharing of contact details - another reason why so many delegates visit each year.
Author C. L. Taylor, familiar to many Irish readers agrees, describing Crimefest as an opportunity to connect with readers and her crime tribe. ‘Many of my friends live hundreds of miles away and it’s often the only chance I get to see them.’
But outside of the many conversations between readers, writers and publishing folk, lots happen here other than panels and headline acts. Along with panels covering everything from Creating Complex Characters to the Psychology of Thrills, there are workshops, quizzes, pitching an agent slots, and one off events - including the re-enactment of the Steve Avery trial (Making a Murder), with Irish author and lawyer, Steve Cavanagh, and Sophie Hannah as Judge.
The Crimefest Awards saw Stephen King, Ian Rankin, Paula Hawkins, Robert Galbraith and Linwood Barclay, compete for victory, whilst the longlists for the CWA Dagger Awards were also announced at the festival. Among them were Irish writers, John Connolly, Jax Miller, Adrian McKinty, William Shaw and yours truly.
Dublin-based crime authors, Paul Perry and Karen Gillece, writing under the pen name, Karen Perry, were both panel members and moderators. Paul says, ‘Crimefest is a great festival where crime writers from around the world meet. Karen and I were on a panel on Thursday called Writing Duos: How Not To Come To Blows When You’re Both Writing The Same Book. Then on Saturday, I moderated Sending Shivers Down The Spine with A.K. Benedict, Jenny Blackhurst, Mason Cross and Kate Ellis. I loved the easy going atmosphere, with time to discuss and share a love of crime writing.’
However, you can’t discuss Crimefest without talking about Bristol. A city, ranked fifth in the U.K., with its riverside cafes and bars, weekend markets and buzzing atmosphere (even on rainy afternoons). It has an appeal all of its own. As crime fiction enthusiasts gathered on the stone steps of the Marriot, amid stunning architecture and cathedrals, with the waterfront only metres away, teenagers played on skateboards in the communal areas, and you got the feeling you were in a city comfortable with itself. Early Banksy art can also be found in the city of his birth, pieces created when he was seen as another kid with a can of spray paint in his hand.
So whether you sign up for a one-day or full weekend pass at Crimefest, you will be transported into a hub of crime fiction, together with festival goody bag and mock syringe pen. Last word of advice, if the popularity of this festival continues – Book early!
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Apologies for looking for support again, but it all helps!
If you enjoyed the novels to date, I'm hoping you won't mind.
In 5 days the nominations for The Dead Good Reader Awards close - if you vote, you could win £200's worth of books!
You can put the Dr Kate Pearson series in for the 'Tess Gerritsen Award for Best Series' and any of the individual novels (Red Ribbons, The Doll's House, Last Kiss, The Game Changer) in any of the other categories. THANK YOU in advance!
Thrilled to read this review of The Game Changer in the Sunday Independent….
“The intensely personal nature of the malice that runs through this novel will keep familiar and new introductions alike on the edge of their seat throughout, as Pearson is forced to make a deeply traumatic journey of her own to uncover the truth…”
To Read Full Review Visit HERE
Thank you Brian (aka K19) and top reader, for sending this pic from India!
So far he has sent pics with books from the Great Wall of China, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul and now with the Taj Mahal in India!
I wish I could hide within those covers!! :-)
Monday, May 23, 2016
I am home from Crimefest Bristol and I'm thrilled to have made the longlist for the CWA DAGGER IN THE LIBRARY AWARD 2016!
The award is for a body of work, which makes it extra extra special! Also congrats to fellow Irish Authors Adrian McKinty, Jax Miller and John Connolly, longlisted in other categories.....
See full longlist here...http://wwwshotsmagcouk.blogspot.ie/…/cwa-dagger-long-lists.…
Sometimes your heart does a little skip of joy when you get emails like this......
"Dear Louise, I am writing to you to say thank you for such wonderful books, I've just finished the game changer, I couldn't put it down and it's one of my favourite books ever. I'm onto Red ribbons now (have to go backwards!!) and it's another one I can't put down!! I've passed the game changer onto a friend and I know she hasn't left the sofa for 2 days reading it 😊 You are an amazing talent, please keep the books coming, Dr. Kate is fabulous. Thanks again for these fab books."