‘Where Twitter was the cool downtown bar with the open mic nights and the gin cocktails, the Facebook group was the snug.’
Love that analogy from my guest today on # IrishWritersWed, Andrea Mara. I have been fortunate enough to read both of Andrea’s novels, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. You can read my review of Andrea’s just published novel One Click, with Poolbeg Press, HERE.
Andrea’s story, from fledgling freelance writer to published author, is a real good news story so I’m thrilled that she has chosen to share her words here with us all today.
I do hope you enjoy!!
The Tweet that Changed My Life
by Andrea Mara
It was 2012, and my work phone had just been upgraded from dumb to smart. I was on maternity leave with my third baby, and voraciously discovering Twitter. I scrolled avidly at night during feeds, tentatively joining conversations and following anyone who looked like they didn’t bite. The craic was good, but it wasn’t everything – struggling with night feeds and lack of sleep, I wanted to talk to other parents. And of course, while Twitter is full of people who happen to have kids, it’s not the place for parenting chats.
Then I spotted a chance tweet from a woman called Jen – she mentioned a Facebook parenting group that had recently featured in a newspaper article. I had no idea there was such a thing as a closed Facebook group, but with her help, I found the one in question, and off I went to join. It was like a secret door to the real party. Where Twitter was the cool downtown bar with the open mic nights and the gin cocktails, the Facebook group was the snug.
Conversations ranged across all the same things I talked about with real-life friends but there’s a different kind of dynamic in a Facebook group. If any given debate arises, you can weigh in or sit back – the quiet one in the corner nursing her pint and giving nothing away. And when you do weigh in, it’s a little more measured than it might be in real life, because of course typing words takes more time than speaking. And there’s a chance to review and edit once they’re written – to take them back before pressing “post”. I started to enjoy getting involved in the more political discussions, taking on a diplomatic role – getting ideas out of my head and down on the screen, but in what I hoped was a reasoned way, without confrontation. And I enjoyed it so much, I started to write longer posts – at first just in my head, then on a blog I set up after a glass of wine one night five years ago. I had no idea what blogs were or who read them – I just googled “How to set up a blog” and off I went. And I loved it more than anything I’d ever tried before – it was therapy, it was a way to vent after a long day at work, it was uncensored joy.
Soon I was bashing out three posts a week, as topics tumbled around in my head, vying to get out. Then an editor got in touch to ask if I’d write something for her and I said yes, and that was the start of a fledgling freelance writing career – something that coincided (nicely in hindsight) with redundancy from my job in financial services. Could I make a go of it as a freelance writer I wondered? I decided to try it for six months, and three years later, that’s still what I do. But then something else happened – a blog reader commented one night to suggest I try writing a book. So far, doing things other people told me to do was working out quite well, so the following morning, I took the story that had been rattling around in my head for some time, and wrote the first lines.
Those first lines eventually became The Other Side of the Wall, my first psychological thriller published last June. And now her baby sister, One Click, has arrived and I’m looking at it on the shelf, and pinching myself, wondering if this is really happening. So Jen-from-Twitter, thank you for your tweet and for guiding this then-technophobe through the (not at all complicated) process of joining my first ever Facebook group. And to every one else – the next time you’re cross with yourself for wasting time online, just think, one tweet can change your life.
About One Click:
When Lauren takes a photo of a stranger on a beach and shares it online, she has no idea what will come of that single click.
Her daughters are surprised that she posted a photo without consent, but it’s only when she starts to get anonymous messages about the woman on the beach that she deletes the photo. It’s too little too late, and the messages escalate, prompting Lauren to confess to the woman. The woman has her own dark story, one that might explain the messages, but Lauren isn’t convinced. Then her ex-husband begins to harass her, telling her she shares too much online and brought this on herself.
She’s also dealing with other problems. A difficult client at work – one who starts to show up in places he shouldn’t be. Her younger daughter is behaving out of character and Lauren can’t work out what’s wrong. And the cracks are literally beginning to show in her old South Dublin house, mirroring the cracks in her carefully curated life.
Meanwhile, the messages from the internet troll become more personal and more vindictive. Her friends feel she should stand up to her stalker, but Lauren isn’t so sure. And then she makes one small mistake that brings everything tumbling down.
Purchase Link ~ One Click
Bio Andrea Mara:
Andrea Mara is a freelance writer, author, and blogger, who lives in Dublin with her husband and three young children. She writes lifestyle features for Irish newspapers and magazines, and has won a number of awards for blogging. She attempts – often badly – to balance work, family, and writing, then lets off steam on her blog, OfficeMum.ie.
Her first book, The Other Side of the Wall (Poolbeg Press) was published in 2017 and shortlisted for the Kate O’Brien award in 2018
One Click is OUT NOW