SKIBBEREEN writer Caragh Bell has signed a six-book deal with Poolbeg Press.
‘I never thought it would happen,’ said Caragh, who admits she has been writing in earnest since 2011.
In 2014, she self-published the first in a trilogy featuring the love story of Lydia and Luca.
She published the second and third instalment in 2015 and 2016, whilst raising a family of four (soon to be five) and teaching French and English at Sacred Heart Second School in Clonakilty.
Caragh was hugely encouraged by the success of the sales of her books to family, friends, but it was when complete strangers started approaching her, seeking copies of the trilogy, that she decided to approach a publisher.
‘I was delighted when Poolbeg took notice of my submission – the first few chapters of my first book – as well as some positive reviews that the trilogy received.
‘It never dawned on me that they would choose to publish the first three. I thought that they would only be interested in new material.
‘But since I signed the contract in September I can now confirm that the trilogy will be published in January 2018, followed by my fourth book, Aurora, which was written this year.’
Caragh is actually currently working on her fifth book, a story set in the fashion world, and, according to her contract with Poolbeg, it will be published in 2019.
‘You get better at it as you go along,’ Caragh said of her skill at producing books that are of particular interest to a female audience, it seems.
‘They are perfect escapism,’ she said.
‘They are so light and easy to read. I’ve been told that the characters are amusing. And, of course, a bit of romance doesn’t hurt.’
In four weeks’ time, Caragh will be taking six months’ maternity leave, which will help with the deadlines but, she admits: ‘I enjoy writing. There’s no stress involved – not like cooking for a family of six.’
The secret of Caragh’s productivity is that she gets up at 5am most mornings and writes for an hour or more with a view to racking up 1,000 words, if it is going well.
Caragh said her husband John is really proud and happy of her achievement, and they are excited about where it may lead, but for now all of their attention is on baby number five.