The Duality of Writing a Novel: Twisted Truth by Amy Cronin | Magazine | Crime | Interviews
Twisted Truth

By Amy Cronin

To write a novel and see it published, on a bookshelf or on a reader’s Kindle, is a fantastic privilege. The process, from original idea to finished product, is a long one, and can best be described as a game of two halves. It could be likened to a coin, with two distinct sides that make up the whole. On one side is the isolation and seclusion of writing. On the other is the immersive engagement with readers, a journey every writer must take in order to enhance their skills and really connect with their audience. Both sides of the writing coin are distinct yet enjoyable.

I live by the sea, in a place that is so tranquil and far-removed from the beaten track, its isolation can feel claustrophobic. It is the perfect place for a ‘plot-walk.’ Yet writers need more than peace and quiet to let an idea grow. Frequently I immerse myself in the hustle and bustle of a busy café or walk along a busy street, to feel and absorb a throng of people. I need to hear the noise and feel the pulse of a crowd, and once I’ve had my fill, I’m happy to begin the drive home, where half-way in, it feels like the trees close in and seal civilisation out. I enjoy equally both sides of the coin that is county Cork; the peaceful countryside and the energetic city. There is vitality in both and a writer needs to experience the full gamut of the human experience to bring their book alive.

Profile photo of author Amy Cronin wearing a green top and smiling into the camera

For many writers, the process of creating is quite a solitary thing; when an idea for a new book comes, I shut myself away until its initial points are expelled in some form or other – either on my laptop or in a notebook. I need to write down the narrative arc quickly, for fear that daily life will dull the excitement of the new story. I do that in a silent room, away from everyone, with only my own thoughts for company. For me, that solitude is extended to writing the book; once the process begins and I get fully absorbed in creating characters and driving the plot forward, I prefer to cocoon myself with my story for as long as I can. Still, it’s worth remembering that good narrative comes from being around other people, not shut away from them. So, as well as the peace of solitude, it’s necessary to take a walk along Patrick Street in Cork city or sit alone in a cafe where I can observe the dynamics of the people around me before I go back into isolation to write.

Writers often work alone, unless they are co-writing or ghost-writing, and it can be lonely. It can also be gloriously immersive and rewarding. It is one side of the coin where you dwell inside your own head, and in the fictional world you are creating, only emerging for the oxygen that is other people from time to time.

The duality of writing is never more striking than when it comes to promoting a book. Bringing the finished product into world requires a different kind of momentum, an energy where people are key components to its success. There are interviews – most of mine have been via zoom or telephone – there are book shop signings and readings and if a writer is lucky, invitations to literary festivals. This is the other side of the coin; two very distinct facets of the passion that is writing a novel. This phase is equally exciting; the buzz of creating a new book is only matched by meeting enthusiastic readers. Yet it can be daunting to emerge from the writing fog and not just observe the world but delve into it with your finished product in hand.

Preparing to read the words you so laboriously lay onto the page is surprisingly scary; I can’t be the only writer that thinks so! Not only is it the most jarring way to proof-read your finished product, compared to the solitude of writing it can feel quite exposed. Reading at the Spike Island Literary Festival in Cobh in Cork in 2022 was particularly exhilarating, not just because it was my first experience of reading in front of an audience, but because it was in a candle-lit tunnel that once housed prisoners and is rumoured to be haunted. Reading in the Lexicon library at the Murder One Crime Writing Festival was no-less daunting, nor Prim’s Bookshop in Kinsale at the Words By Water Literary Festival. Being up-close-and-personal with readers is a lovely thing, but also very removed from the safety net of the solitude of writing, where the only questions come from the characters, and where the only ghosts are the ones creeping onto the page from the deep recess of your mind. All were wonderful experiences that I’m grateful for, and so different to the phase where the book is created and polished.

To write and bring your books to readers is a wonderful experience yet it is true that if the writer is an introvert, he or she must become an extrovert, to an extent, once it comes to promoting the book. Novels must not just be written well, they must be promoted well too. There is joy in creating a book alone; equally, there is joy in a full bookshop or library reading, or discussion of your book with an interviewer, where enthusiastic readers ask questions and prompt new ideas.

Writing can be periods spent in solitude with your characters and time spent surrounded by booklovers, ready to discuss and dissect your book. To write is to enjoy the quiet isolation of a writing desk and the loud vibration of an expectant crowd at a bookshop reading. It’s important to embrace both sides of the coin equally.

After all, as Ricky Gervais said, “The point of art is to make a connection.”

(c) Amy Cronin

About Twisted Truth by Amy Cronin:

Twisted Truth

The truth doesn’t always set you free.

“There’s a devil on my shoulder, Anna, and he wants a word …”

Violent and seemingly random murders are terrorising Cork city and county. DS William Ryan is struggling to connect the victims and find a motive. The crimes have one thing in common – they are being filmed by one of the killers. With each kill the case grows more disturbing.

Anna Clarke, Garda clerical staff, becomes involved. In her personal life, Anna is closer than ever to finding the truth about her parents’ mysterious disappearance ten years before. But the path to answers is littered with heartache and it’s too late to turn back the clock …

Meanwhile, Tom Gallagher is obsessed with revenge. Last year his son was murdered, and the woman responsible slipped through his fingers. But he now has CCTV images of two women crouching in an alleyway, having jumped from a nightclub bathroom window. One of them is her. The other helped her fight off his men, and Tom wants to know who that woman was …

The clock is ticking to a grand finale, as truth twists and lies turn, and it seems Anna will have a front-row seat.

Order your copy online here.

About the author

Amy Cronin is a bestselling author from Cork, Ireland. Her debut novel Blinding Lies is available in all good book shops. The follow-up, Twisted Truth, is available now.

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