Distress Signals is about Adam whose girlfriend of ten years, Sarah, fails to return home from a Barcelona business trip. At first he thinks there’s an innocent explanation – a lost phone, a missed flight – but when her passport arrives in the mail with a note stuck inside is a note that reads ‘I’m sorry – S’, he knows it’s something more serious. The logo on the notepaper leads him to a cruise ship called the Celebrate and to a man whose wife disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before. They join forces to find out what really happened to the women they love, and this search pits them against a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground. Essentially it’s a thriller with a big twist (I hope!) that explores the idea that they are, effectively, no police at sea.
2. I've been an avid follower of your blog since forever, what does it feel like to finally have a book about to be published? This has been a long time dream for you, hasn't it?
Everyone keeps asking me and I’m feel shamefully inadequate at describing the feeling – especially when I’m supposed to be a writer! It’s like standing on the platform of a really scary rollercoaster with a friend who had to be convinced to get on it with you. You want to get on, you’ve been waiting ages to ride it, but you’re really nervous and scared because you don’t know if this one is going to be enjoyable or just plain terrifying, and you don’t know whether or not your friend is going to like it and if she doesn’t, she might never get on a rollercoaster with you again and that might signal the end of your rollercoaster-riding, so the pressure’s on.
(Or something. You get the idea. Excited and scared. But more scared!)
3. How excited were you when you first saw the cover for Distress Signals? I love it! The blue, and your subsequent blog make over to everything blue just looks so gorgeous! Blue seems to be your colour!
It’s a very weird experience seeing your book’s cover for the first time. I had images in my head and designs I liked and hoped to emulate, but the cover ended up being nothing like I had imagined. I would never in a million years have come up with a design like this, but I think it’s so eye-catching and will stand out a mile on a bookshelf because who else has such a beautiful blue design? And blue is my favourite colour, especially to wear. My friends actually joke about it, it’s got so bad. I’ll walk into a store and, without even thinking, move in a beeline directly towards the blue stuff. So of course I’ve really enjoyed turning everything blue, e.g. my website, and shopping for the launch. At time of writing, I have 2 launches – one in Dublin and one in Cork – and four navy dresses to wear for them. (Yes, I know that doesn’t add up!) I’ll be in navy or nautical-themed clothes all summer…
4. You worked with Penguin Ireland for a little while (are you still, I don't know?), how did that help you as a writer and author?
I’m still doing a couple of bits and pieces for them. I was always freelancing, so I worked from home on specific social media projects. I think it helped me as an author just to go into this with really realistic expectations about what would happen, insider knowledge that made things easier for me to understand, and lots of great ideas about what works for promoting books. The only downside is that the Penguins here in Dublin are absolutely lovely and are always giving me fab proofs, which make me want to set aside the writing and just read other people’s for the day. That’s the only problem!
5. As I type this there is one month to go before publication, are you planning anything special for the big day? A party? A lot of wine? Dancing in the street and yelling at strangers that YOU HAVE A BOOK OUT?
Well as I type THIS it’s barely a week to publication – 9 days to be exact. I’m actually having my Dublin launch on the day the book comes out, a decision I’m really glad I made now because otherwise I’d probably just be sitting at home hitting Refresh on my Amazon page every five minutes. I like the fact that I have a big party to go to on the publication day. Then I have another launch on the Monday, in Cork (where I’m from) and after that I definitely will be sitting at home hitting Refresh on my Amazon page every five minutes. And studying for my university exams, which start the day before the book comes out.
6. You hinted on your blog that you have exciting news? Any chance you can tell us? OR GIVE US A HINT? A teensy, tiny hint? Is it book-related?
The news is… drum-roll, please … Distress Signals has been optioned for TV! Jet Stone Media are hoping to make a mini series out of it. They’ve backed loads of great TV shows and films, including the third series of Line of Duty which has easily been my favourite thing on TV all year. You can find out more here: http://www.thebookseller.com/news/corvus-title-optioned-tv-327643.
7. Finally, I would usually ask about your next book, but you said you're still writing it and there's not much to tell until you're done, so I'll leave it be. So instead, I'll ask: what's your favourite psychological thriller (not including your own, of course)?
No, it’s fine – ask away! It’s another standalone thriller only this time, it’s decidedly on dry land. I’m finishing the first draft now and it’ll be published by Corvus this time next year. As for my favourite psychological thriller, if we’re talking psychological thrillers specifically, I think Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes is the best one. It’s really a master-class in psychological suspense. I was genuinely unnerved by it.