WHEN it came to penning her first novel, Amy O’Connor found that it was more about finding the plot first than finding time in her busy schedule to write.
While the rest of us were consumed with Netflix and banana bread during the first wave of Covid-19, Amy spent her time developing her idea, centred around garda detective Anna Clarke, in her highly acclaimed thriller ‘Blinding Lies’ set in fictional garda station in Cork city.
‘I’ve always been writing I guess and they would have been short stories or anything at all, but it was always just for myself,’ said Amy, who had initially selected to study English at UCC but switched to Economics in the end.
‘I never intended to get something published and it was definitely more of a hobby but I did always have that dream in the back of my head that I could be a writer but life was busy!’
She lives in Nohoval with her husband Kevin and their two children, Fionn (8) and Ciara (7). Having turned 40 in 2020 at the height of the pandemic Amy is ample proof that it’s never too late to write a book.
Having lived in the UK for a period, she returned to Ireland and following a stint in the Department of Agriculture, she then moved to the Department of Social Protection for eight years but took a career break to raise her two children.
‘I used to think I never had time to write a book but I actually never had a book in my head that I really wanted to get down on paper until ‘Blinding Lies.’
‘What I had actually been missing was the plot and not the time.’
Once she found the plot, she then made the time and would have been a regularly sight at Tracton GAA grounds typing away in her car while her children were outside training.
‘I would have the next chapter in my head and I’d have to get it down on my laptop and that was the first time that happened to me. I had written a chapter about Anna 10 years ago and came back to it and wanted to develop her more and did some online courses which were very helpful.’
She began to focus more on the book in 2019 when Ciara started school but then Covid arrived and the onset of home. schooling and working from home meant things were a lot busier.
‘But I would switch off for a couple of hours and focus on my book and it was also something else to think about while we were in lockdown.’
She spent a long time thinking about her character and where she wanted her to go and by setting it in Cork she was able to picture the places she was writing about.
Growing in confidence, Amy sent her draft to Poolbeg Press in July 2020 and she was thrilled when they expressed interest in it.
‘I had sent the first three chapters to them and when they said they were interested I sent them the whole book and I knew at that point that it would be a trilogy and they felt the same.’
Amy has already finished her second book, ‘Twisted Truth’ which will be out in paperback later this year but is available on Kindle now and the final book in the trilogy is also finished.
‘It will be sent to Poolbeg this month and it concludes the story.’
As for her next project, Amy has lots of different stories in her head and she’s keen to get these down on paper too.