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Freeing the Birds

Today is launch day for my book Fragile Lies. It’s a strange feeling to watch a book go out into the world. It’s like opening the door on a cage of birds and watching them fly off in all directions. I’ve no idea where they’re going to land – and how their plumage will be perceived by those who see them. All I can do is wave them off and get on with the business of taming my next flock of unruly birds.

In less metaphorical terms that means I have to get on with the business of writing my new book and allow the launched one to develop its own momentum. It will be liked and disliked, rouse extreme emotions that will come back to me in review ranging from five stars to one. People will read meanings in my story that were never in my mind when I wrote it but something in the narrative speaks to them. They will pick out characters whom they like or detest – and everyone will have a different opinion on their merits or flaws.

I’ve been busy in the build-up to this release. Lots of requests from bloggers who were interested in how the idea for Fragile Lies evolved. Briefly, the story is about a woman who retreats with her teenage daughter to a small, rural village and tries to rebuild her life after her marriage breaks down. Her life becomes entangled with Michael whose son has been the victim of a hit-and-run accident. As a result, he’s in a coma and Michael in determined to find the driver of the car. Deception is the theme running through the novel but it’s also a love story that draws two hurt and estranged people together in the most unlikely of circumstances.

When I first sat down to write the novel – which I originally titled Deceptions – I only had the vaguest idea of how it would evolve. It had been inspired by something I wrote some years previously when I was working as a journalist and had been commissioned to do a feature on various aspects of night life in Dublin city. One of these features involved interviewing a group of young, homeless young people in a stark, industrialised dock area. When I was returning to my car, which I’d parked in an empty car park, I noticed two cars that had not been there originally. Only one car was occupied and it was obvious that two people were together in the second one. I used that initial impression of secrecy and seclusion as the stepping-off point to begin my novel. Gradually, the story developed and the characters haunted my imagination for the length of time it took to write the book. Now I have to let it grow its own wings and fly away. All I can do is wish it good speed and a safe landing.

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