Caroline Healy Reveals How Blood Entwines | Magazine | Children & Young Adult | Interviews
blood_entwines_cover_july_2014 140x210

By Caroline Healy

When people talk about the writing journey, I have an image in my mind. This image is of an open topped car, on a beautiful sunny day, meandering along Mediterranean style roads, the gentlest of breezes stirring the lavender and rapeseed fields, popping purple and yellow colours in your rear view mirror as you Sunday-drive, without a care in the world.

Ha! I say to you now, Writing Journey, oh, how you deceived me!

Forget meander, how about careering; a rollercoaster writing journey, with very limited pit-stops along the way.

My voyage started in 2011 when I enrolled at Queen’s University Belfast to complete my Masters in Creative Writing. To say I was green as grass was a major understatement. I kinda thought stories…just happened.

I learned a great deal in that one short year, most importantly I learned that I did not have a clue how to write. So I began to read books, short story collections, essays, poems; I read and I read and I read until I began to see the connections, the links and patterns in writing.

I tried a few things, paying attention to the rules of writing (whatever they are), then I broke a few rules and my writing didn’t immediately disintegrate. I played with experimental short stories and I got publishing in a few journals, a few on-line magazines.

Then I won the Doire Press Short Story Competition and I found myself in possession of an ISBN number….you never forget your first ISBN.

caroline_healy 140x210And so I wrote some more short stories and I revisited a terrible manuscript that I had cobbled together back in 2010 before I enrolled at Queen’s. It was a young adult book. As Shakespeare says in Coriolanus ‘More of your conversation would infect my brain.’ I think suffered from some kind of brain infliction; because I believed that writing a book for young adults would be easy. I was wrong. Writing a book, any book, is damn hard work regardless of the age range of your readership.

I decided that I wanted to cut my teeth on a longer body of work and began to edit the car-crash called Blood Ties. Almost a year later and several drafts, coupled with table-top fist pounding, teeth grinding, hair pulling and some very bad language, my first Y.A. novel Blood Entwines was born.

It is a book about seventeen year old Kara Bailey, who suffers terrible injuries in a car accident and must have a blood transfusion. When she recovers from her surgery, she finds that her senses are heightened, that she is quick to anger, her personality somehow altered. Things get creepy when a man appears outside her school, outside her house, watching her as she walks home, attempting to talk to her on a dark, winter’s eve. He tells her she has something that belongs to him, and that he wants it back. The blood in her veins is mutant. The blood in her veins belongs to someone else. The blood in her veins is the only thing keeping her alive.

The book, when I think about what is beneath the plot, centres around the notion of family. I wanted to challenge the commonplace family dynamic, there are absent parents in this book, adopted children, single parent family units; there are families of all shapes and sizes. I wanted to get under the skin of my two main characters and through them, challenge the notion of belonging and what, in terms of the teenage psyche, constitutes the idea of family and inclusion.

The story itself was inspired when I read an article about a man who was tone deaf and a vegetarian for almost twenty years. After a successful heart transplant he had a great love of steak and found himself in awe of Classical music, with a burning desire to learn to play the piano. This notion of having some kind of link with your doner became the initial basis for Blood Entwines.

Love books? Join the Bord Gais bookclub!

In terms of struggles – I think every writer struggles, the intimidating blank page, the ever mounting word count, the internal critic who shouts too loudly, the mountainous journey to the pinnacle…getting the book publishing. However this pinnacle is just the beginning of a different type of journey. And like every turning point on this crazy ride I am learning something, something about the industry, something about my writing, something about language and art and creativity but most importantly, something about myself as a person.

It’s been a busy year, my second short story collection is gone to publishers, I am just finished the edits for the second book in the series called Blood Betrays and I have an adult novel and the first draft of a children’s book to sort out.

There is no rest for the wicked and instead of having a nice leisurely stroll in terms of my writing journey, I think it’s more like a hurtling, zooming, terrifyingly exciting expedition.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

(c) Caroline Healy

About Blood Entwines

In the aftermath of a blood transfusion that saved her life, Kara feels different. Her senses are stronger … she can hear whispered comments not meant for her ears … she can hear the person following her.

When Jack, her stalker, reveals himself and insists that Kara has something that belongs to him, she does her best to avoid him. But he’s determined to talk to her, convinced that they’re linked through the blood she received during her transfusion.

Jack is struggling against a dark and dangerous demon. His body is host to the evil power that wants Kara’s blood and will stop at nothing to get it, but when Jack himself is able to regain control he tries to warn her away. Can Kara save Jack without risking her own life?

Pick up your copy online here!


Subscribe to our newsletter

Get all of the latest from delivered directly to your inbox.

Featured books