Stuff I’ve Been Doing (29 March)

1. Finishing my final year project. Which was submitted yesterday, thank FUDGE. We had the option of doing either a dissertation or 10,000 words of creative writing. No prizes for guessing which one I went for. (Yay for positive pencils.)

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2. Getting windswept on the banks of the Grand Canal – right where a scene from The Liar’s Girl takes place, fun fact* – with Irish crime-writing superstar Liz Nugent, for secret reasons. (*This is totally a clue. All will be revealed soon.)

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3. Drinking lots of coffee because now I have two academic essays to do while also continuing to write Book 3 and because I’ve booked a sort of DIY writing retreat so Book 3 doesn’t suffer, I’ve effectively shaved 10 days off the time I have to do these essays so I shouldn’t even be writing this blog post because I’ve so much to do and how did it get to be the afternoon already? COFFEE. (P.S. Loving the new Nespresso Vertuo machine. It makes a MUG.)

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4. Being super thankful for all the amazing reviews The Liar’s Girl has got and continues to get. It really makes all the late nights, the scary deadlines and the, um, crying totally worth it. Read them all here.

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5. Going to the Netherlands for a day. Once upon a time I worked there so this was basically a road trip down memory lane. Except I didn’t have time to take the weekend to do it, so I flew over and back on the same day. It was great fun and I didn’t fall asleep until I was on my flight back, despite having to get up at 3:15am to make this happen. Win.

(You get two Netherlands pictures because there isn’t a pic for reviews. The pic above is from the impossibly gorgeous town of Willemstad. The one below was taken in my personal fave, Breda.)

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6. Seeing The Liar’s Girl in the shops and trying to act cool around my own sign but failing miserably. Thanks, Dubray Books!

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7. (And 8. And 9. And 10.) Reminding people that if you live in the UK or Ireland, you can download The Liar’s Girl for just 99p! What?! Yes! Do it! But now, because it’ll be back up to full price soon! More exclamation marks!

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Find The Liar’s Girl on Amazon.co.uk here.

Happy Easter!

The Liar’s Girl: A Launch Story

As of Thursday 1st March, The Liar’s Girl was out in Ireland and the UK as well as the US. Unfortunately Thursday 1st March was Day 2 of Snowmageddon, when the ‘Beast from the East’ met Storm Emma and Ireland turned into the set of The Day After Tomorrow. So I had to celebrate at home with a glass of bubbly…

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We never get snow like that so we’re just not equipped to deal with it, and in the interests of everyone’s safety, the country effectively shut down. You couldn’t go anywhere and anyway there was nowhere to go. I did manage to snap a few pictures of the canal in the snow though…

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Luckily the internet was still working, so:

I made an appearance on Writing.ie, where I wrote about where the idea for The Liar’s Girl came from.

Over on The Strand magazine’s blog, I wrote about the spooky feeling of having things you made up for your novel actually happen afterwards in real life.

I was also interviewed for The Gloss magazine’s Writers Block series about where in Dublin I satisfy my caffeine addiction and which books are on my To Be Read pile right now.

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I was most proud, however, of my rant about rants about books with ‘girl’ in the title over on the Irish Times.

‘My new book is called The Liar’s Girl. Chances are I’ll say this to you apologetically, perhaps with a sheepish grin. If I detect an imminent eye-roll, I’ll quickly follow up with some conspiratorial comment about my publishers, perhaps even joke that they want to call my next book The Girl In The Window Of The Train Whose Tattoo Is Gone. You’ll say, ‘I’m so sick of these girl books,’ or ‘I really hate that word’ or ‘Ugh, why does everyone feel the need to copy The Girl On The Train?’ even though that book came after Gone Girl and that book came out after The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and you are, in all probability, a former girl yourself. And I’ll nod and smile and mumble something that sounds like agreement because I don’t want to be a bad feminist – or is that what we’re supposed to be now? I can’t keep up, the rules seem to change daily – but I’ll already be hating myself for not saying how I really feel.’ [READ MORE]

And on the Sunday, I managed to trudge through the icy slush to visit The Gutter Bookshop in Cow’s Lane, which – thank you! – had The Liar’s Girl in their ‘Must Reads’ for March. (Yes, that day’s outfit was on a theme of LAYERS. It was feckin’ freezing.)

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The snow stopped falling just in time for me to travel to Cork for Launch No. 1, which took place in Waterstones on Patrick St. That Waterstones is my bookshop, the one I went to on a weekly basis growing up, the place where I bought my first copy of The Writers & Artists Yearbook, and On Writing, and my first Michael Connelly novel, so getting to see The Liar’s Girl have its own window there was pretty amazing.

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96FM’s Deirdre O’Shaughnessy was the MC on the night and we had a great chat about where the idea for the book came from, the importance of Post-It notes and, um, Inspector Morse. My uncle Tommy was the unofficial videographer so thanks to him, you can watch all the proceedings below.

The following day I collected cupcakes from The Cupcake Cottage on Angelsea Street and hit the road with my chauffeur, i.e. my brother John. I left a trail of signed copies in the Eason branches on Patrick Street, in Ballingcollig, and in Wilton, Mahon Point and Douglas Court Shopping Centres – and, of course, Waterstones too!

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Thursday was the main event: the Dublin launch! I’d ordered a very special necklace which only arrived that morning, thanks to the previous week’s snow. I just figured that (a) I needed a statement necklace and that (b) I was going to be in a lot of photos so my neck was prime advertising space. Thanks, Tatty Devine!

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The launch was held in the lovely Dubray Books on Grafton Street, where Liz Nugent (Unravelling Oliver, Lying in Wait) did the honours. Unbeknownst to me, she had been in contact with various individuals – who shall remain nameless and unforgiven – and got all sorts of dirt on me which she revealed in the speech. It was absolutely hilarious because I wasn’t expecting it at all, and I’d forgotten half of the stuff she’d found out I’d done! This picture sums up my reaction:

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Afterwards we headed to Neary’s for bubbles and bites and it was such a fun night. I really enjoyed it. Thanks to everyone who came, and everyone who couldn’t make it but who still kindly bought the book. You can see all the wonderful pictures Ger Holland took on the night over on my Facebook author page. Also, my writing buddies give the BEST presents. (Look at that wine! Thanks, Carmel! x)

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On Friday – and on very little sleep – I visited Eason stores in Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, Blanchardstown Centre, the Pavilions at Swords and Dundrum Town Centre. It never gets old seeing stacks of my books in the shops! You should be able to find plenty of signed copies there.

I also got a great review for The Liar’s Girl from the UK’s Daily Mail

‘In this second novel, Howard’s emerging talent could not be clearer … This is expertly plotted, with a series of stunning twists.’ [READ MORE]

 

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Saturday brought some media coverage and an incredible review in the Irish Independent which had me dancing around my living room in delight.

‘Solid plotting … propels The Liar’s Girl forward at a terrific pace, and there is nothing formulaic in the depiction of the main characters, all of whom are drawn with great sympathy. The imaginary St John’s College campus, set in Beggar’s Bush in Dublin 4, is a lively and believable invention. In this, only her second book, Catherine Ryan Howard has certainly pulled off, with remarkable confidence, the notoriously difficult task of surpassing a debut novel that was met with critical acclaim and garlanded with awards.’

(Wow!)

Finally, this morning, I was interviewed on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk. We talked about self-publishing, The Inspiration Project and books with ‘girl’ in the title, and Pat did an amazing job of reading from the opening page of the book. (Really, you should do audio books!) You can listen back here (it’s about 15 minutes into Part 2 of the 12th March episode).

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What was funny was that a number of people at both launches who pointed to this page (above) in The Liar’s Girl and said something like, ‘Isn’t this the best bit about this?’ Honestly, it had never occurred to me until they pointed it out, but I think they’re right. The fact that this was second time around made everything so much easier for me to enjoy, mostly because I knew exactly what to expect. I was way more relaxed. I am way more relaxed.

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But also because this isn’t just a once off anymore. Last time round, it felt like an achievement. This time it feels more like this is what I get to do for a living, and I love that I get to do what I love. Thank you to everyone who’s ever bought a copy of either of my books or plans to in the future, because you’re the reason why.

Find out more about The Liar’s Girl here.

P.S. I’ve just four weeks of my four years left in college (I know, I can’t believe it either!) and afterwards, I think I might actually have some time to get back to this blog. In the meantime, the best place to keep up to date with all the shenanigans – and, let’s face it, they mainly involve coffee, Post-Its and Netflix – is my author Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram

P.P.S. Because of Snowmageddon, we had to postpone our second Inspiration Project event. It will now take place on the weekend of May 25-27 and, since not all our original bookings could transfer to these new dates, some spots have opened up. Book yours now for €449 here.

So, I Have Some News…

… and this isn’t it, but I should really point this out first: my second thriller, The Liar’s Girl, is out today. (Today? What? Where does the time go?!) In the USA, anyway – UK/Ireland has another 48 hours to go. It’s out now in the USA in hardcover, e-book and audio from Blackstone Publishing and it’s out here in Ireland and in the UK on Thursday from Corvus Books.

So, my news.

As you may know, back in 2015 I signed a two-book deal with Corvus Books. Distress Signals was book one, and The Liar’s Girl – yes, you’ve guessed it – is book two. So what happens next?

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Well, I’m delighted to share the news that I’ve signed a deal with Corvus for another two books, the first of which I’m writing now. It’ll be out next year. I don’t want to say too much about it yet, but here are three teasers: (i) the structure of this book is going to be a lot of fun to write and I hope read too, (ii) it’s a standalone set in Ireland and (iii) of course, yes, I will get a mention of Jurassic Park in there somewhere.*  See below for the official press release stuff.

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I celebrated my USA pub day with the most American breakfast I could manage: pancakes and Eight O’Clock coffee in my Market Street Cafe (of Celebration, FL) mug!

And – another yay! – I’ve also signed a new deal with Blackstone, so books three and four will be out on both sides of the Atlantic. Hooray!

Now I, ah, just have to write them… *twitches*


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Corvus, Atlantic Books are delighted to announce that they have acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) to the next two novels by bestselling author Catherine Ryan Howard from Jane Gregory at Gregory & Company/David Higham.

Catherine Ryan Howard first broke onto the scene with Distress Signals in 2016, with her second novel The Liar’s Girl due for publication in March 2018.

She comments: ‘I couldn’t be happier to be writing two more books for Corvus. The whole team there is incredibly enthusiastic, there is no better editor than Sara O’Keeffe, and their crime/thriller list continues to go from strength to strength. I’m not only looking forward to the future, I’m excited about it.’

Jane Gregory says: ‘I am so pleased that we have agreed this new deal. I am sure that Catherine’s talent combined with Sara O’Keefe’s expertise and the enthusiasm of the team at Corvus/Atlantic will ensure that Catherine’s sales will soar.’

Sara O’ Keeffe says: ‘We’re thrilled to have signed another deal with Catherine. She has brilliant authorial instincts and is amassing an impressive list of fans in the trade. I’m excited to continue working with Catherine and look forward to publishing her amazing second novel, The Liar’s Girl, next month!’

Distress Signals was an Irish Times and USA Today bestseller, one of Amazon UK’s ‘Rising Star’ best debuts of 2016, shortlisted for Books Are My Bag IBA Crime Novel of the Year 2016 and shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger in 2017.

Out on 1 March 2018 in trade paperback and e-book, The Liar’s Girl is Corvus’ lead thriller for Spring 2018, having already received truly fantastic praise.


*The mention of Jurassic Park in The Liar’s Girl is VERY subtle. If you spot it, I’ll be very impressed. In the meantime, check out this utterly AMAZING book trailer Blackstone made for The Liar’s Girl:

Corvus are giving away 10 copies of The Liar’s Girl over on Twitter – get on that! 

Are YOU the very special writer The Inspiration Project is looking for?

Just popping in this morning to tell you TWO pieces of very exciting news.

You  may recall a few weeks ago, Carmel Harrington, Hazel Gaynor and I launched The Inspiration Project, a writing retreat with a difference. Amazingly, all 20 places sold out within the first 72 hours. Today we are delighted to announce a second event on 2-4 March 2018. You can find out more or book your place on The Inspiration Project site.

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But-but-but: we have even MORE exciting news than that! Today we announce The Inspire Me Scholarship. One place on that event in March is reserved for a very special writer and it could be YOU.

From The Inspiration Project:

Here’s the best part: this place has been paid for in full by an Irish author, who wishes to remain anonymous. Isn’t that incredible? We are so grateful for this generous donation, which will allow one writer the time and space to focus on their creative goals alongside people who can help them achieve them, without the complication of financial pressure.

WHAT DOES THE INSPIRE ME SCHOLARSHIP INCLUDE?

  • A place on the Inspiration Project, 2-4 March 2018. That’s 2 nights B&B in a luxury room at the Seafield Resort & Spa, Ballymoney, Gorey, Co. Wexford, a welcome drinks reception, one evening meal plus full use of Seafield’s award-winning Oceo Spa, as well as a full day of our ‘Inspiration Shots’ coaching sessions, one-on-one mentoring and time and space to write throughout the weekend. The Inspiration Project doesn’t end when you leave, as you’ll also get post-event inspiration top-ups and the opportunity to showcase your work on our website. (Value €449.) For more information see About the ProjectAbout Us and our FAQs page.
  • An additional €100 towards expenses. As the Inspiration Project founders, we were so touched at this anonymous author’s incredible generosity, and want to help with any additional expenses, such as travel, or meals outside those included in the event fee.

Now all we have to do is find a deserving writer to give it to.

WHO CAN APPLY?

Applicants must be aged 18 or over and we welcome writers at all stages of their careers. All we ask is that you are serious about developing your writing and committed to chasing your writing dreams. We want to hear from people who will benefit greatly from attending our event, but who possibly could not attend without the assistance of the scholarship.

Click here to apply. Submissions close at midnight GMT on Wednesday 29th November. Good luck!

A Book is Born

I don’t like to make declarative statements about things being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – it’s all  so subjective, at most we can say I think a thing is good or I think a thing is bad – but Sex and the City 2 is demonstrably a terrible movie. Its tagline could’ve been No demographic not offended. But I bring it up because of an early scene – before the ladies head to the Middle East to amp up the offence to include casual racism – where Carrie receives her first finished copy of her new book in the mail.

Carrie Bradshaw’s writing career has never exactly been portrayed with gritty realism. She was able to afford an amazing apartment in New York City, $500 shoes and vintage Chanel on the proceeds of a short column in a tabloid newspaper. All you ever saw of this labour was her getting to wonder about things while sat in front of a laptop at a desk that was never messy. No scraps of paper, no scattered pens, no research books, no cold cups of coffee, no Post-Its crumpled up or stuck to the wall. Not to mention the fact that her book launch apparently had the budget of a Hollywood premiere…

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But that scene where she gets her finished copy (just the one, another fiction) has always stuck with me because there is some truth to it. No, we may not be in high heels, a sequinned dress and full make-up when the postman rings the bell and grunts something about us having a parcel. And that bell may not be outside the door of a million-dollar NYC penthouse apartment that belongs on the cover of Architectural Digest and contains no evidence whatsoever that someone holds down a job as a writer in there. But there is some truth in it.

Because when an actual, proper copy of your book arrives, all memories of the mess and stress and cold cups of abandoned coffee that went into writing it do magically go away. Because it was all worth it, for this. And your desk might well be tidy because you’re still in the honeymoon phase of the next book, when you can just sit down and type, and there isn’t yet a trail of cryptic handwritten notes along all routes leading to your desk (After the party? Simon as opposite chair? CACTUS/NOTICE!), and you’re still remembering to actually drink those coffees. And your shelf by your desk is clean and tidy, prepped for this new, longed for arrival, and after you add your new book to it and then stand there, gazing at it adoringly for a while, you feel as good as you would if you were in high-heels, a sparkly dress and a full face of make-up.

(Well, not heels for me. But you know what I mean.)

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UK/Ireland cover to the left, USA cover to the right. I heart them both. 

I don’t have finished copies of The Liar’s Girl yet, but in the last week or so I’ve received proof copies of both the UK/Ireland and USA editions. This is the first time you get to see your book as a book and not just text on a screen or in a pile of loose page proof sheets. And all the stress of writing it, all the late nights, the months and months of going to bed every night feeling like I hadn’t done my homework – I’m Second Book Syndrome, how do you do? – all of that has gone away.

And, like a glutton for punishment, there’s a part of me that can’t wait to go through it all over again.

In other news, all 20 places on our first Inspiration Project event in Seafield SOLD OUT in only 4 days! We were gobsmacked by the response and are currently organising a second event as quickly as we can, so stay tuned for details on that. There was more good news when one of our founders, Carmel Harrington, was shortlisted for the IBA Popular Fiction Book of the Year for her novel The Woman at 72 Derry Lane. And I had a great time at the Dagger Awards last week, and massive congratulations to Chris Whitaker who won the John Creasey/New Blood Dagger for his fantastic Tall Oaks.

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I’m going to be giving away a proof of The Liar’s Girl on my Facebook page very soon, so make you’ve ‘liked’ it to be in with a chance of winning it!

Introducing… The Inspiration Project!

For the last couple of months, Carmel Harrington (The Woman at 72 Derry Lane, Cold Feet: The Lost Years), Hazel Gaynor (The Cottingley Secret, Last Christmas in Paris with Heather Webb) and me (um, Distress Signals and that one with ‘girl’ in the title that’s coming out in March) have been plotting and planning something we are so, SO excited to finally reveal today: The Inspiration Project!

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What the fudge is that, you want to know? Well, I’m glad you asked!

The Inspiration Project is a writing retreat with a difference. This is an opportunity for you to check out of everyday life for a weekend and check in with your writing, in a place where you can think big and dream even bigger.

So often when we were trying to get published we repeatedly heard how difficult it is, not to mention how tough it is to make a living from writing. While it certainly isn’t easy, we are proof that it can happen as we have all made the leap from slush piles and rejection to publishing deals and bestseller lists. We asked ourselves, what advice would have helped us before the good stuff started happening, and what did we learn after our books hit the shelves? With this in mind, we’ve designed a weekend writing retreat full of real advice, practical tips, inspiration and motivation which we believe will work for writers at any stage of the publication journey.

With 14 bestselling historical, crime and commercial fiction novels between us, we are your writing cheerleaders: New York Times/Irish Times bestseller Hazel Gaynor, Sunday Times/Irish Times bestseller Carmel Harrington and USA Today/Irish Times bestseller Catherine Ryan Howard.

We want you to dream, dare, do – like we did. Spend a weekend away with us and your writing, and get the time, the tools and the drive to pursue your biggest writing dreams.

Here’s the where/when/what/how much:

  • Seafield Hotel & Spa Resort (4*) in Ballymoney, Gorey, Co. Wexford
  • Friday 12 January – Sunday 14 January 2018
  • The price includes 2 nights B&B in a luxury spa resort, a drinks reception, a full day of our ‘Inspiration Shot’ coaching sessions, one-on-one mentoring, lots of time to write and more
  • We are offering a special early bird rate of just €349 per person (full price is €399) if you book before 21 November.

earlybird1To find out more or to book your place, visit our lovely new website.

Bits, Bobs and Page Proofs

A lot’s been happening over here at Catherine’s Desk, so I thought I’d cobble together a bit of a mish-mashed blog post to update you on them.

College starts at the end of this month and as it’s my final year, I’m going to be busy, busy, busy. Especially since I will also be writing a new book and already have lots of events and fun stuff lined up. So last week I took the opportunity to escape to one of my favourite places, Villefranche-sur-Mer, for some last minute summer sun. We stayed in a spot I’ve never stayed in before which offered ridiculously fabulous views out over the bay, and every morning when we woke up, we discovered a new massive cruise ship had arrived in the bay. Distress Signals in real life…

Two bits of great news on the Distress Signals front: the book is going to be published in Germany (hooray!) and in the USA in mass market paperback at the start of January (hooray again!). The American edition also has a fancy new cover with two elements that make me want to pinch myself.

(It felt like) I was writing The Liar’s Girl for so long that it’s still hard for me to believe she’s finished, but she is – and I have the page proofs to prove it! This is when my publisher sends me the typeset pages of the book for me to have one last look over before they head for the printers. In many ways, it’s strange to think that in just a few short months, I’ll have two thrillers out there in the world. (What?!)

In weird but wonderful news, my desk made its debut in the Irish Times Home & Design supplement the Saturday before last as part of a feature about small but beautiful spaces. Big thanks to Sophie for making my 34 square metres (yes, 34 – that’s not a typo) sound amazing and to Eoin for making it look that way. Thanks also for just the one chin in the photo – MUCH appreciated! And yes, of course my desk is always that tidy and I write on a typewriter and I wear a dress and full make-up and no glasses when I write… Yep. Totally. You can read the article online here.

I mentioned that college is starting soon, and our terms are 12 weeks long. Three months is also how long it should take me to write 90,000 words if I write an average of 1,000 words a day. (I learned a LOT writing Book 2 about what works for me and what doesn’t, and I’m excited to take those lessons into Book 3. Yes, I am still basking in the glorious optimism you’re awash with just before you start a new book.) In related news, I seem to waste a lot of time on a daily basis. So when I heard about the Best Self 13-week planner, I couldn’t order one fast enough. I’ll be using it for the next 13 weeks starting next week (says the procrastinator) and I’ve high hopes for it. I’ll let you know how I get on.

And finally, if you live around these parts, I have no fewer than three events coming up the weekend after next.

More info about these events and ticketing information is available at the links. So, that’s the lot for me for now. How are you?