A Lie of Omission by M.A. Purcell

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A Lie of Omission

By M.A. Purcell

A Lie of Omission: M.A. Purcell describes her Writing Journey

“Life is a journey” is a phrase we hear bandied about in just about every situation we might find ourselves in. The fact that it happens to be true can be a balm or an irritant, depending where you’re at in a given moment. And for a lot of writers the journey to publication weaves its way around the twists and turns of life, traversing the hills and the hollows, more often than not ignoring the sat-nav and taking what appears to be many necessary detours.

At least that has been my experience of the writing journey.

Somewhere in a locked memory box lies a notebook full of earnestly recorded hopes and dreams that my adult self would probably cringe to see. In it resides my ten-year-old imaginings of my life as a successful author. Note the word successful. In my youthful dreams it was a given, based on my ability to spin tall tales to keep my younger siblings amused and out of mischief. My early attempts at writing these stories down were hampered by the illegibility of my handwriting, which always started off neat and tidy but became progressively worse as I got caught up in the story. My wonderful primary school teacher, used to say that my hand couldn’t keep up with my brain. A benediction I used to remind myself of when the chorus of giving out about said hand-writing got louder in secondary school.

That said, secondary school also gave me access to different types of books, novels, plays, literature and poetry and my love affair with words blossomed. But writing wasn’t a career! The ambition of most parents in 70’s Ireland remained the possibility of a permanent, pensionable, job. Nursing seemed the best fit and I trained in Jervis Street Hospital, Dublin.

There’s a whole generation that only know Jervis St as a shopping destination. Yet in the 70’s it was still one of the foremost hospitals in Ireland. It had a progressive and busy A and E. Its situation in the city centre ensured the latter and its A/E served the local population twenty-four-seven, whether on call or not. It had the first kidney transplant unit in Ireland and began a drug rehabilitation programme before drugs were considered a problem. All this, in a building dating from the 1700’s complete with resident ghost. There, my writing ambitions were sidelined, there was barely time to think let alone write, but my reading flourished. I discovered second-hand bookshops! I like bookshops on principal but I seldom resist the lure of a second-hand bookshop, stall or charity shelf. To me books are an essential part of life.

Nursing was a full-time occupation, so much to be learned and so much writing! Reports, exams, case studies and letters home. (Remember those? A social commentary in their own way that are lost to generation raised to be tech savvy.) There was no time to write for pleasure.

That was put on hold until I was married and had children.

As detours go, children are amazing. They absorb your time and energy and become part of your very being. But the day comes when the little voice says, reclaim yourself! So, I looked at what I wanted to reclaim and found writing.

With the writing came doubt and his sparring partner procrastination but in spite of them, I persisted. I attended evening classes, learned to type, completed writing courses, via the postal system in the beginning, the advent of online courses, were a god-send. I submitted stories and articles and occasionally one was printed. But another diversion loomed and I returned to work. This time though I didn’t stop writing!

Becoming a member of Writing.ie and having access to a wonderful writing community and the many courses on offer was a golden opportunity. The different voices and styles of writing, challenged me and encouraged me to hone my own work to as near perfect as I could make it. This time when doubt knocked, I did another course, polished my words, dared to offer comment on writing styles and learn as much as I could from the writers who gave their time and experience to us aspiring amateurs.

I was twenty years back at work when it came to me that if I wanted to write any or all of the books in my head, I’d want to start! Soon after finishing work a story, I had sent off, some time before, won the Ireland’s Own open short story competition. It was amazing, like a validation and it gave my writing renewed vigour.

I had two characters from a short story that demanded more space to tell of their deeds. Theirs were the loudest voices among the many in my head, so I started writing. Chapter by chapter the story grew. Eventually I asked a select few to read the manuscript and their feedback encouraged me to think I might have a publishable book but it needed a bit of polish! I doubt if the first lot of submissions were given a second glance. I discovered when I finally bought myself an up-to-date Writers and Artists year book I wasn’t even sending a proper submission letter with the requested chapters!

I continued to polish the story until I had practically rewritten the whole thing and up popped an open submission call from Poolbeg. There was a lot of – will I, won’t I? In the end I had to take the chance.

The day I got the email from Poolbeg looking for the rest of the manuscript was indescribable, topped only by the one saying they would like to publish my book.

So, life is a journey, writing is a journey. Take the first step and keep putting one foot in front of the other. And most importantly of all, travel joyfully.

(c) M.A. Purcell

About A Lie of Omission:
A Lie of Omission

Danger, secrets and new beginnings lurk in the hills of rural Ireland.

Retired Detective Thomas Tegan has returned home. He has embraced his childhood nickname, Trout, is enjoying getting to know his sister’s best friend Lauren and is toying with the idea of setting up a wine-importing business.

But …
It isn’t easy to switch off finely honed investigative skills nor, as he soon discovers, does he want to. When a hike in the local hills with Lauren leads them to the body of a young man, whom he knew from his days on the force, he resolves to make sure the perpetrators are brought to justice.

Except …
As a retired detective, Tegan has no authority to investigate. He enlists Lauren’s help and together they set up TLCI, a Private Investigation Agency.

However …
Thomas Tegan has an agenda of his own that he can’t share with Lauren. And his presence in her life endangers her. Not to mention that his secret has the potential to destroy the relationship evolving from their friendship …

Order your copy online here.

About the author

Marianne Purcell is a Clare woman to her core, born in the townland of Caher in East Clare & living near the village of Feakle, well known for its traditional music heritage. She is an avid reader & has long held the ambition to become an author. She has written the Feakle notes for the Clare Champion for many years & has enjoyed success as a short story writer. She was delighted to win the Ireland’s Own open short story competition two years ago & has had several stories published in the magazine since. She became part of a writer’s group facilitated by author Tanya Farrelly during lock-down & this further encouraged her to take the plunge & put on paper one of the many stories bubbling in her brain.
Marianne recently retired from her job as a Respiratory Scientist. She is married with six grown-up children and loves to have her darling grandchildren visit.

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