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Three Times an Author: Lying with Truth by Judith Cuffe

Writing.ie | Magazine | Interviews | Women’s Fiction
Lying with Truth

By Judith Cuffe

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You’re once, twice, three times an author …

Admittedly it was Lionel Richie who first sang the infamous lyrics praising the power of three. Whoever warranted the “three times a lady” label must have been astonishingly genteel – think someone who can expertly twist their right leg behind the left, Mary Robinson style, whilst sitting bolt upright with their hands poised in their lap. I`m confident that a lady (cubed) would never curse nor sneeze into anything other than a monogrammed handkerchief, or indeed, in more recent times, the elbow of their starched lined blouse.

So what does “three times an author” bring to mind?

Well, you might imagine that someone who has written three books must be some form of lord of the trade. That the words flow flame-like from their fingertips like Michael Flatley prancing bare chest across a stage. I certainly did before I became the same. (Author, not Flatley.) After all, a three-time author has pulled off the hat trick, hit the magic number, or in my case, completed the Evolve trilogy.

Am I now an expert?

Most certainly not. But a level of comfort does accompany being able to say you`ve completed and published three books. In that one book may have been a fluke and two a happy accident. It takes just three weeks to form a habit, so they say. Here, a pattern was established after three books. Surely now, I can write four, five, more …

Am I getting better with each one?

I hope so. I’m definitely getting harder on myself, and I’m still learning. But there are elements about which I now feel confident. I know how long it takes me to complete various drafts. Editing is now one of my favourite things. Writing is part of each day, five days a week without fail, and has become such a habit that I’m not sure I could stop now, even if I wanted to. It’s hard to remember how it all came about, but one thing for sure is writing a trilogy was never part of the plan. I’ve never been a huge fan of sequels. They rarely live up to expectations. All I have to do is mention Grease 2, and it should “multiply your chills”. Although not like John Travolta, more Freddy Krueger running his claws down a chalkboard in Freddy`s Revenge. So, when it was first suggested that I take my first book, When Destiny Sings, written initially as a standalone (and in my mind, very much complete) and morph it into a series, honestly, I wanted to cry. 

At last, someone wanted to publish my book. The book I`d toiled over for a year. The book that I swore I was going to complete and have published. Now, it was happening, really happening, but with conditions. They wanted three books, preferably a series. My first fear was, how the hell was I going to pull this off and be taken seriously as a new author? Would I be pigeonholing myself as a Chick Lit Queen? Would it be a case of When Destiny Sings, When Destiny Chokes … When Destiny Dies? There were already plot issues in that many of the characters had already shuffled off their mortal coil. Could I attempt Before Destiny?!

Christ, no! Genuinely, I wanted to move on to something new and fresh. But from someone whose favourite parenting mantra is, “you get what you get, and you don`t get upset”, the only choice was to suck it up and get on with it. I could do this! So I wasn`t writing what I thought I was going to write next, but I was writing! It then dawned on me that I could take these stories just about anywhere. I decided to make the books individual enough to be read alone while keeping some of the elements that people liked. In the end, the constraints that I`d unintentionally created in the first book proved useful for book two, Sing Me Home. Some of the work was already done! By the time I got to the third book, Lying with Truth, I`d found my flow, and I was heavily invested.  

As it turns out, the Evolve Trilogy has proved to be the most serendipitous moment of my budding writing career. Not only did it teach me enormous self-discipline, but it also helped with character development, planning, plot consistency, and most importantly, to find my voice as a writer. It turns out, the first story wasn`t finished, not by a long shot, but it is now, for the time being at least! Who knows what the future will bring. The Evolve Trilogy was a marvellous unexpected event. Which brings me to my next book called … (would you believe?) Unexpected Events. After completing the holy trilogy, I`ve graciously signed with Poolbeg Press for another two standalone books. I suppose, in a way, I’m now free to write whatever I choose. Well, within reason, of course! 

Have I proved myself?

Absolutely not! For me, proving myself in this field will always be an ongoing challenge – one that I want. I need that challenge! With my next book, I`m veering a little bit more into the genre of mystery, dipping my toe into a pond of intrigue. It seems the whole world wants thrillers. Unfortunately for me, and my car that recently needed a new gearbox, and my laptop that decided to pass away suddenly over the summer, it`s just not who I am. So I’ve compromised with a dead body and four people who turn out to be strangely connected. Mind you, the book is more about the people than the dead body – I`ve never been great with blood! Unexpected events are part of life it seems. They are certainly part of mine. Embrace them. Because of them, I’m now a full-time author (cubed!).

(c) Judith Cuffe

About Lying with Truth:

From Ireland to Australia, past to present, a family saga of truth, lies, love and intrigue.

Until you’re asked, you may never tell…

Lucie Woods is honest, isn’t she? It turns out, like so many others, that she’s been lying to herself for a very long time.

When an incident occurs at her children’s school, it sets in motion a string of events that sees her life torn apart at the seams. Karma acts fast, barely giving her a moment to breathe before delivering a string of gifts, if you can call them that. Bad things usually happen in threes, but when her misfortune reaches beyond this number, it’s time to face that the truth is beginning to inch its way to the surface – and there’s nothing she can do to stop it.

Try as she might, Lucie can’t seem to face her demons – some cuts are just too deep. That changes after a chance encounter with a total stranger. Doug Offer takes an interest in Lucie and by asking the right questions, he helps her to unlock the truth of her life – past, present and future. But is Doug a stranger? Or is that one coincidence too many?

The truth is going to hurt, but Lucie’s willing to take the agony to protect those she loves most. But as she’s about to discover, once the truth is unleashed, it isn’t easy to put it away again. Surely, reserving one small secret won’t hurt, will it? Just a good liar? In denial? Or completely innocent? Which one is Lucie?

A journey that will take you from past to present, from Ireland to Australia – the truth is never simple, but perhaps it’ll set Lucie free, if she’s finally willing to tear off the plaster and stop lying with truth.

Order your copy online here.

About the author

Judith Cuffe lives in County Wicklow, Ireland with her husband, three children and faithful writing companion, Wilbur, the dog. Influenced by the Irish Greats – Maeve Binchy, Cecelia Ahern, Liz Nugent, Cathy Kelly – and her favourite International Authors – Liane Moriarty, Jojo Moyes, Celeste Ng and Elizabeth Strout – Judith finally got round to following her dream and writing that book, which quickly became three! When Destiny Sings, Sing me Home and Lying with Truth make up The Evolve Trilogy. Judith is currently working on her fourth book. When she isn’t writing, she can be found in the gym, chasing after Wilbur, following the latest fashions or hanging with her family and friends. To find out more about Judith, follow her on Facebook (Judy in The Middle) and Instagram (@judy_middle).

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