‘Where the past and present collide…’
Today I am absolutely delighted to be on the blog-tour with Irish Writer Faith Hogan.
Faith has just released her latest novel, Secrets We Keep, with Aria Fiction. Aria Fiction are a digital imprint of Head of Zeus books. Today Faith has written a very interesting post on the wonder that is the digital world – a world with ‘no walls, no borders, no boundaries’
I also was delighted to receive a copy of Secrets We Keep to review, so keep reading to see my thoughts on this delightful book…
It’s A Wonderful World.
Isn’t it a wonderful world – it’s also a shrinking world!
I mean, I was going to write this post all about breaking into foreign markets, but the truth is, my first book My Husband’s Wives was a digital first imprint and in the months since it’s been released I’ve had feedback from all corners of the globe.
I woke one morning to a Facebook message from Hong Kong, another came from Australia. Quite a few Canadian ladies have contacted me through my website.
They are all just like me, readers who love to read and they are good enough to share when they’ve read and enjoyed my book.
That’s the thing though, isn’t it? I mean, with a print book, you know where you’re going to be. You can see the physical copies in your local bookshop and if you’re obsessed enough, you can always go and count their stock or just offer to dust their book shelves each day!
With digital, it’s a different matter. There are no walls on the digital bookshop. There are no borders, or boundaries, barriers or delays.
If you fancy reading my book at two o’clock in the morning and you’re living in the back end of nowhere, a hundred miles from a books shop, as long as you have WiFi – you’re on the pig’s back, so to speak! The other great thing is that as an author you’re no longer a million miles from your readers. It’s easy to hear from readers and it’s immediate. Some will pop up their ratings on their kindle at the end of the book, others will reach out via social media, while others will just drop a line and make your day.
I didn’t set out to sell more books on one side of the Atlantic than the other. However, with my ratings in the US after seven months on sale at over two hundred and twenty, it reveals quite a bit about where many of my readers reside.
When my agent came to me with the offer of a three-book deal with Aria, I didn’t really understand the whole digital publishing model. I actually felt that they were selling the idea to me and the way they sold it, I fell in love with it. I’ve embraced the whole technology side of the publishing business. I’m certainly not expert and I’m not nearly as prolific or as ubiquitous as some of my contemporaries – but then I do have quite a bit on my plate outside of engaging, sharing and promoting.
I marvel at others, who have spent many years ‘building platforms,’ – to be honest, before I was published I dabbled in twitter, but I was far too busy writing to be putting too much time into social media. Facebook scared the pants off me. It was only thanks to a lovely girl here in Mayo, I got a lesson in Facebook for Dummies and I’ve been posting and nattering ever since.
It’s actually all turned out to be a very good thing. I have two teenagers and I realise now, that this whole realm might have so easily passed me by – had it not been one of the things that my publisher asked me to embrace. I was far too busy with my nose constantly stuck in a book or my kindle to take the time to become part of it.
So breaking out of the Irish market?
I think that some things are universal. Themes like family, love, betrayal, lies and secrets transcend the traditional barriers – they are not culturally unique. My books, while they are set in Ireland, the themes are general – I mean which of us doesn’t want to hear all about My Husband’s Wives, or indeed about the many Secrets We Keep!
Secrets We Keep is a novel that completely surprised me.
Described as a ‘a bittersweet story of love, loss and life’, for me it was even more than that. Maybe it’s because I’m Irish. Maybe it’s the familiarity of many of the landmarks visited in the book. Maybe, just maybe, it brought back some hidden memories of my own. Whatever the reasons, Secrets We Keep is a book I got completely immersed in as I travelled between the 1950s and the present day.
Iris, a young lady with the world at her feet, makes a life changing decision back in a 1950’s Ireland. This decision takes her from the city of Dublin to the very chic streets of Paris where Iris learns to deal with the consequences of her actions and attempts to make peace with herself.
Meanwhile, Kate Hunt, a high-flying lawyer based in present-day London, has experienced a huge heartache that has left her reeling for years. Unable to withstand the constant pressure and loneliness that has become her norm, Kate decides to pay a visit to her gran-aunt who lives off the West Coast of Ireland in the small village of Ballytokeep.
Ballytokeep may appear rather unusual as a village name but considering there is a village in my home county called Ballydehob, not so strange to me!! Faith Hogan has based her idea on a lovely town in Co. Sligo, named Enniscrone. I recall visiting Enniscrone many years back and been blown away by the beauty of the beach, It’s not hard to imagine Kate coming here to clear out a few cobwebs.
Kate arrives at Ballytokeep and moves in with her relative Iris and Iris’ husband Archie. Now, quite elderly, Iris and Archie, immediately warm to Kate. She puts a little spark back in their lives but she also resurrects a few memories that have been kept hidden for years. Iris and Archie are the proprietors of a small, old local hotel and it’s not long before Kate is completely absorbed by the atmosphere of the hotel and that of the village.
I immediately warmed to Iris and Archie. Their affection for each other is palpable off each page and yet they have a past that they have kept buried for years.
Kate, Iris and Archie all have experienced tragedies in their lives and Faith Hogan expertly weaves these stories together with the most dramatic backdrop of the Wild Atlantic Way.
For reasons I can’t begin to explain, this book really struck a chord with me. The book is littered with historical references to a 1950’s Ireland, a time of post war change, where society was not altogether ready for the inevitable adjustments that were unfolding before them.
In contrast, we see Kate. a modern woman who has adapted to this very fast-paced society we live in, yet still it’s not enough. Something is missing….
With Kate’s story, Faith Hogan has picked up on our apparent need to want it all and yet our underlying need to just stop and literally smell the roses, or in this case the sea-air!!
Secrets We Keep is a heartwarming, poignant and inspiring read for all. There is peacefulness in Faith Hogan’s writing that I have really enjoyed and quite honestly I was disappointed when I turned the last page.
It’s a book I totally recommend that really will bring a little warmth into your life…sure we could all do with a little of that in this busy and frantic world we live in…
Two distant relatives, drawn together in companionship are forced to confront their pasts and learn that some people are good at keeping secrets and some secrets are never meant to be kept..
A bittersweet story of love, loss and life. Perfect for the fans of Patricia Scanlan and Adele Parks.
The beautiful old Bath House in Ballytokeep has lain empty and abandoned for decades. For devoted pensioners Archie and Iris, it holds too many conflicting memories of their adolescent dalliances and tragic consequences – sometimes it’s better to leave the past where it belongs.
For high-flying, top London divorce lawyer Kate Hunt, it’s a fresh start – maybe even her future. On a winter visit to see her estranged Aunt Iris she falls in love with the Bath House. Inspired, she moves to Ballytokeep leaving her past heartache 600 miles away – but can you ever escape your past or your destiny?
Purchase Link : Secrets We Keep
Bio Faith Hogan
Faith Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.
She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.
Her debut novel, ‘My Husband’s Wives,’ is a contemporary women’s fiction novel set in Dublin. It was published by Aria, (Head of Zeus) in 2016. ‘Secrets We Keep,’ is her second novel out on Feb 1st 2017..
Social Media Links for Faith Hogan