‘A toxic friendship leads to a desperate race against time for Sergeant Claire Boyle’
One Bad Turn is the third novel from Irish Writer Sinéad Crowley. Due for release early in June 2017, I was only too delighted to get an opportunity to catch up with Sinéad pre-publication with a fab Q & A session and a review for you all.
One Bad Turn is described as ‘a thrilling, fast-paced crime thriller for fans of Clare Mackintosh and MJ Arlidge’. and is published by Quercus Books.
Firstly, I will give you some information on the book, followed by the Q&A with Sinéad and my review, so please do continue reading….
One Bad Day ~ Book Info:
Being held hostage at gunpoint by her childhood friend is not Dr Heather Gilmore’s idea of a good day at work. It only gets worse when she hears that her nineteen-year-old daughter Leah has been kidnapped.
Sergeant Claire Boyle wasn’t expecting to get caught up in a hostage situation during a doctor’s appointment. When it becomes apparent that the kidnapping is somehow linked to the hostage-taker, a woman called Eileen Delaney, she is put in charge of finding the missing girl.
What happened between Eileen and Heather to make Eileen so determined to ruin her old friend? Claire Boyle must dig up the secrets from their pasts to find out – and quickly, because Leah is still missing, and time is running out to save her. (Courtesy of Quercus Books)
Q & A with Sinéad Crowley
Hi Sinéad and welcome to Swirl and Thread. I am thrilled to have you *drop* in today for a chat.
Like many, I’m familiar with you from your work with RTE as their Arts and Media correspondent. But, you are also a writer. Before we move on to your books, can you please tell us all about your role in RTE? It sounds so fascinating…
Thanks for having me!
I’ve been working for RTE News for 18 years, although that is hard to believe, and I’ve been working as Arts and Media correspondent for the past ten. It’s a great job and involves filing for television, radio and increasingly online. I deal with all aspects of the arts in Ireland from rock concerts to the Dublin Literary Award shortlist, and media issues too.
How has the explosion of social media affected your role? It must be so difficult to avoid Twitter etc and have any down time when it’s now such a 24 hour presence in our lives.
Explosion is a good word!
It’s hard to imagine life without it now although it has only been a constant presence for the last few years. You tend to think Twitter, in particular, has made journalism easier as you learn about breaking news so quickly but it does mean you are never off. I’d like to say I’ve found a balance but I am a total addict, it’s the first thing I check in the morning and the last thing at night. Having said that though you do have to be careful about your sources and learn to spot the real story from the fake.
With my author’s hat on it has been really useful in connecting with other writers – and bloggers ! – so I can’t really complain, but you do have to turn it off in order to get actual writing done.
I only recently discovered that you are also a mother of two young boys. How do they feel about seeing/ hearing Mummy on the TV/radio? Is it difficult to switch between the red carpet interviews and the kitchen table?
My sons are 7 and 4 and they are not in the slightest bit impressed by my job – it’s just what Mammy does. My husband is a courts reporter for the Independent group and my older son thinks that is far more interesting as he deals with criminals rather than red carpets!
Occasionally they get to do cool stuff like seeing a movie at a press preview before everyone else. But otherwise it’s just another job to them and that’s how it should be.
Sinead, although a journalist for many years, it’s only in the last few that you made the move to writing books. What was the inspiration that encouraged you to put put pen to paper?
The truth is the writing came first. I wanted to write books almost as soon as I could read. However there was no section on the CAO form for ‘novelist’ so I decided to study Communications instead and ended up really enjoying it. I always assumed I’d work as a print journalist but life had a different plan. My graduating from college coincided with the boom in local radio so I started working first with the Irish language station Raidió na Life in Dublin, then with Clare FM and Radio Kerry before coming back to Dublin and RTE. Writing novels was always in the back of my head however and I made several false starts before coming up with the story that became the first Claire Boyle book, ‘Can Anybody Help Me?’.
DS Claire Boyle is the central character in both your previous novels . Described as both police procedural and psychological thrillers, how important was it for you to have a lead female protagonist?
The one thing I’ve learned about writing books is that plans change!
My first book ‘Can Anybody Help Me’, features a young mother who becomes worried when her online friend disappears from an internet parenting site. I initially wrote it as a stand alone psychological thriller, but quickly realized I had to incorporate a police character, as the young woman wouldn’t have been able to solve the crime on her own. So I came up with the character of Claire Boyle and realized it would be fun to have her going through pregnancy herself. Then my agent really liked her and asked if she could be a series character.
Suddenly instead of a psychological thriller I had a police procedural on my hands! It does sound quite airy fairy to say ‘she just arrived’ but that really is how it happened, and I found that I loved writing about her. She’s a mother of a young baby and she adores that baby, but she loves her job too and doesn’t want to give it up so that gives me plenty to write about alongside the crime.
Book 3, One Bad Turn, is due for publication in June 2017. Can you share a little with us the premise of this book?
One Bad Turn began with an image I had of two women facing each other in a small room. They used to be best friends but now one hates the other. That fascinated me – why? What happened between them? What will happen next? What happens when your best friend becomes your worst enemy? As the story unfolds you get flashbacks to their time together as children, teenager and then young adults. The book is set against the backdrop of the recent boom and bust here in Ireland, as one of the women has lost her home and blames her former friend.
How difficult is it to come up with new ideas for your characters in a series?
Thankfully I’m never short of ideas but what I have learned is that you have to be flexible. In the case of book 1 and 3, the identity of the killer actually changed as I was writing! So although I start off with a plan I try to be flexible and just see where the story takes me.
Now I’m hoping for a little gossip from you……as a media correspondent you must meet some seriously interesting people. To date, who has been your favourite person to interview and why?
I’ve been lucky to meet some fantastic people including former US President Bill Clinton and my childhood hero Bono, and indeed it’s often true to say that the bigger the star is the more pleasant they are. They know you have a job to do and work with you to get that job done. Michael Fassbender has been an absolute gent any time I’ve interviewed him, as has Colin Farrell. I know – it’s a tough job!
In all the roles you have as journalist, writer, wife, mother what is downtime for Sinead Crowley?
Reading books is still my favorite way of relaxing, it’s a way of life for me and has been all my life. I keep books in the car and a Kindle in my handbag so I’m never alone and there’s nothing nicer than grabbing 20 minutes with a good book. I really think you have to love reading to be a writer, I certainly do.
The influences on your writing from so many different sources must be vast. Are there any particular literary folk who have made an impact on you over the years?
Enid Blyton introduced me to mysteries, Agatha Christie drew me to the adult side of the library, Val McDermid made me fall in love with thrillers as an adult. Today I’m lucky to have met some incredible crime authors including Jane Casey, Liz Nugent, Tammy Cohen and Erin Kelly who write such wonderful books, they inspire me to try to continually up my game.
What are you reading now?
I’ve just finished A Game of Ghosts by John Connolly. I have to read a lot of literary fiction for work, for example I just finished reading the Dublin Literary Award shortlist so I tend to intersperse literary fiction with crime.
What next for Sinead Crowley?
One Bad Turn is out in June and I’ve taken a week off the day job to concentrate on that. I’ll also take some time off in the summer when the boys are on holidays from school, and then by September it’ll be back to business, both with RTE and with the as yet untitled Book 4. It’s never boring!
Thank you so much Sinéad. I really enjoyed that and I really hope you all did too!!
Next up I have a review of One Bad Turn, so let’s continue shall we….
Sergeant Claire Boyle is about to have a very bad day!!!
Having arrived at her GP for a consultation, Claire is looking forward to some time out with a cuppa and an hour’s peace afterwards. With her little girl sound asleep after a feed, Claire needs to clear her mind and consider her options about some family matters that have been playing around in her head.
Dr Heather Gilmore, Claire’s GP, is still in her office after Claire’s appointment and as Claire is in the bathroom she hears angry voices and distressful sounds outside. With the practice now closed for lunch, Claire soon realises that she, with her baby, are the only others still there.
It isn’t long before circumstances get out of control and Claire finds herself caught up in a frightening hostage crisis.
Using all her police training, Claire attempts to calm the situation as she is made aware that Dr Gilmore and Eileen Delaney, the hostage taker, know each other.
And so begins a story that takes the reader back in time to the mid 1980’s when Heather Gilmore and Eileen Delaney first meet. Both dealing with the impact of teenage angst, they form a loose alliance that continues into adulthood.
Two lives lived very differently over the years, yet two lives that seemed to be entwined by invisible thread.
Claire Boyle, with the assistance of her police colleague Flynn, is soon embroiled in a much bigger case, as it is discovered that as well as the hostage scenario, Heather Gilmore’s daughter Leah has been kidnapped.
Claire must try and figure out what happened that caused such hatred from Eileen towards Heather. What secrets are hidden in their past? But Claire has to work this case under the scrutiny of the media, as Heather Gilmore is the ex-wife of a very influential Irish business man who is looking for immediate answers.
Claire Boyle is a difficult character to pin down. Her husband Mark has been managing most of the running of their home-life, allowing Claire the freedom to pursue her career. But now Mark’s own business is beginning to develop further taking him away from home on a more regular basis. Claire is trying her best to balance her new work/home-life situation but she is clearly struggling. As a result, her attitude at times can come across as quite selfish. Sinéad Crowley deals with this topic in the book in a very ‘real’ way, as this is a position that many couples do face in the busy society we live in today.
One Bad Turn is not like the usual police procedurals I have been reading recently. This is not a gritty novel, as Sinéad Crowley tackles more than just the criminal aspect of life.
One Bad Turn is a very human story. It is a story that deals with relationships in many different forms, from the first tentative steps into the teenage years up to marriage and children. It is story that deals with the impact of decisions made and how the aftermath can have a bearing on so many.
I have not read the two previous novels in this series but I think One Bad Turn is perfect as a stand alone. The characters are well developed and the narrative flows easy. It is an ideal novel for those looking for their crime fiction to have little less blood and with a very personal story running through the pages.
Purchase Link ~ One Bad Turn (Pre-Order)
Sinead Crowley is Arts and Media Correspondent for RTE, Ireland’s national broadcaster, working for television, radio and online.
Her debut thriller, Can Anybody Help Me? was a bestseller in Ireland, and both it and her second book Are You Watching Me? were shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Crime Book of the Year.
Sinead lives in Dublin with her husband and two young sons.
Twitter ~ @SCrowleyAuthor