For as long as I can remember I have been drawn to writing. As a child I kept a large empty milk tray box full of my short stories – I wish I still had that now, for the cringe-effect if nothing else!
Writing has always been, for me, a way to process, to meditate, to celebrate. If I am overwhelmed or extatically happy, my feelings find their way onto a page. My favourite school task was constructing an English essay. They were never of the picket fence, happy ever after variety – I distinctly remember one macabre story where my English teacher had to point out my failure to take rigor mortis into account, a bemused look on his face.
I am drawn to stories that contain an element of threat or intrigue. This has always been the case. As a teenager, I was obsessed with the X-Files and Unsolved Mysteries. The episode of Big Brother where Craig confronted Nasty Nick (as the media dubbed him) remains etched in my mind as a brilliant example of human relationships breaking down and the good guy asserting his place in the narrative, a story unfolding that had me glued to the screen. In the same way, books full of tension and drama propel me to keep reading. There is nothing better than getting lost in a book that compels you to keep turning the pages. I dreamt of writing my own thriller, but never delved deeper than short stories and the occasional poem.
My daughter has a severe food allergy; as I always do when faced with a problem, I searched for a book that might help. I wanted a story about a little girl living with a peanut allergy. It was almost impossible to find. My local book shop didn’t have anything, and neither did the city stores. It was the same in my local library. The librarian ordered a number of books for us, but none were the story we were hoping for. She remarked “you’ll just have to write it yourself” and I laughed. But the spark had been lit, and it burned until the story was complete. I wrote my daughter a two thousand word story about a girl just like her, and she loved it. We have read it together hundreds of time. The joy of watching her listen to a story that sprang from my imagination was so intense I wanted to keep going, to explore where this feeling might take me.
Here is the thing; I’ve said so many times, to friends willing to listen, that I wanted to write a book. I thought it was lack of free time that hindered me – certainly, life is busy. Education, career, family, they are all consuming. Yet others manage to keep the fire of their creativity burning bright. I wondered what was stopping me and now I know – it was the spark I lacked, the plot that burns so brightly it overtakes all other thoughts until words are on a page.
Writing for my daughter was the beginning of a journey that has been so rewarding, mainly because it was pivotal to the realisation that all I needed was the plot. I found a chapter that I had written ten years ago on an old laptop. It was the starting point of Blinding Lies. After ten years I still loved that chapter and decided to see if it could become a book. I gave it some time, letting the story ferment, turning over plot points. I had a main character I loved, a bad-guy that intrigued me, and an ending that made me hop out of my seat – the fire was lit.
If I am honest, living through the pandemic was the fuel to keep that fire burning. Turning an idea into 100,000 words is no easy thing, but every time I sat down to write, I pushed the daily Covid figures out of my mind and switched off the worry and anxiety. Blinding Lies burned inside my head and for a few hours each day, writing it obliterated the reality of lockdown. I wrote in the mornings after home-schooling was done, at the kitchen table while the children played, and again at night when they were asleep. I snatched hours here and there, but I believed in the story; I knew it was a book I would really enjoy if I was the reader. I sought advice from The Inkwell Group and enjoyed writing challenges with Write Here Write Now, immersing myself in all available supports online. Lockdown proved no barrier to accessing information and ideas on how to go about getting published.
The last year has taught me many things, and one that stood out was: what have I got to lose? In July I sent the first three chapters and synopsis to Paula Campbell at Poolbeg Press and hoped for the best. Only in my dreams did I think I could get a publishing deal, but in September Paula got in touch and offered me a three book deal.
There are dark themes in the book, and it is violent, but there are also loving relationships and friendships. I don’t know where the inspiration for the story came from – which I know is very frustrating for anyone looking to get in to writing – it was just there, in my head, waiting to be written. What I do know is that I no longer think I didn’t have the time to write a book. In my experience, all I was missing was the spark of a story and the fire to keep writing.
When the right story comes along, you will find the time, because there is no other choice.
(c) Amy Cronin
About Blinding Lies:
In a web of lies, who can you trust?
Ten years ago, Anna Clarke’s parents disappeared. The mystery haunts her, and she hopes her job in a busy city Garda Station will one day help her find answers.
The case of a man shot dead crosses her desk – and Anna is shocked to discover that the main suspect is her childhood friend Kate Crowley. Certain that Kate is innocent, Anna is determined to help her clear her name. But first she has to find her …
Tom Gallagher’s son David is dead, and Tom believes Kate is responsible. Now his older son John is missing – unable to grieve for one son until he finds the other, desperation can cause a man to do terrible things … Then the German Meier brothers descend on the city, intent on finding an item David had offered to sell them. Even Tom doesn’t know where it is, but he suspects Kate Crowley must have taken it.
Kate is on the run. She is trapped in the dead man’s city – can her old friend help her find a way out?
In a week where a political summit is taking place and the city is on high alert, Kate must struggle to stay hidden and stay alive. And Anna is drawn into the twisted race against time, falling deeper into danger.
Order your copy online here.