Irish writer Louise Phillips has taken the crime fiction world by storm with her debut novel RED RIBBONS which hit the bestselling charts less than one week into its release. Despite a hectic schedule I managed to catch up with Louise to see what makes her tick – and I got an exclusive on an audio reading of the first chapter of her gripping story!
Louise chose every parent’s worst nightmare as the lynchpin for her psychological crime thriller – the fear of something dreadful happening to their child at the hands of a stranger. Living in the Dublin Mountains, an area where so many of Ireland’s missing persons are rumoured to be buried, the dark secrets held within this beautiful, but sometimes unforgiving landscape, is something that’s haunted Louise for a long time.
“Getting inside a bad man’s head was a difficult but a necessary part of creating this story,” says Louise, “All of us like to believe we can recognise danger, but tragically that’s not always the case.”
Behavioural psychology has interested Louise since studying it as part of a marketing degree in her early twenties, and alongside carrying out further research in this area while writing Red Ribbons, she worked closely with members of An Garda Siochana, in the Rathfarnham and Tallaght areas of Dublin.
Memories of visiting long-term patients in institutional care while working as a volunteer in her teens also had a profound effect on her. The voice of one of he characters in Red Ribbons is the voice of someone who stopped talking because everyone stopped listening.
“Some things in life stay with you forever,” says Louise.
A self-confessed Twitter and blogger addict, she believes social media has broken down many barriers and obstacles to people connecting with each other. With a can do approach to most things in life, Louise put her creative skills to the test once again when she took on the task of creating a book trailer for her new novel. And from humble beginnings, growing up in the tenements of Mount Pleasant Buildings, Louise believes nothing should ever hold you back. “You might not fully succeed, but trying is often the best part.”
Louise returned to writing six years ago after a 20 year gap spent raising her family, managing a successful family business, and working in banking.
Quickly selected by Dermot Bolger as an emerging talent, Louise went on to win the 2009 Jonathan Swift Award and in 2011 she was a winner in the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice Platform, as well as being short-listed for Bridport UK Prize, the Molly Keane Memorial Award, and the RTÉ Guide/Penguin Short Story Competition. Earlier this year, Louise was awarded an Arts bursary for literature from South County Dublin Arts. Other publishing credits include many literary journals and anthologies, including New Island’s County Lines.
“Writing was a friend waiting in the wings for a very long time,” says Louise when asked about her 20 year gap from writing. “However, I don’t believe it’s ever too late to follow your dream.”
ABOUT THE BOOK
Red Ribbons is an eerie, chilling and intricately woven mystery that will appeal to fans of Sophie Hannah and Tana French. A gripping page-turner told from three points of view – criminal psychologist Kate Pearson, institutionalised patient Ellie Brady, and the killer himself – this is truly an incredible debut novel.
The Serial Killer
A missing schoolgirl is found buried in the Dublin Mountains, hand clasped together in prayer, two red ribbons in her hair. Twenty-four hours later, a second schoolgirl is found in a shallow grave – her body identically arranged. A hunt for the killer is on.
The Criminal Psychologist
The police call in profiler Dr Kate Pearson to get inside the mind of the murderer before he strikes again. But the more Kate discovers about the killings, the more it all feels terrifyingly familiar.
The Accused Woman
As the pressure to find the killer intensifies, there’s one vital connection to be made – Ellie Brady, a woman institutionalised fifteen years earlier for the murder of her daughter Amy. She stopped talking when everyone stopped listening.
What connects the death of Amy Brady to the murdered schoolgirls? As Kate Pearson begins to unravel the truth, danger is closer than she know…
“A cracking novel – highly recommended – a phenomenal debut.” -Arlene Hunt, Arena Arts Programme – RTE Radio 1
“Dark and spooky, but believable.” – Sue Leonard – Irish Examiner
“We can highly recommend this tense psychological crime drama…there will be mums and dads fighting over who will be first to read it!” – Christina Mills Hughes & Hughes Booksellers
“The pace of the book was spot on, revealing information from the killer’s past bit by bit to keep the reader turning the pages….” – Jenni Cahil – Novelicious
“Crime is very much back in the news…..topping our bestseller list with a new psychological thriller by Louise Phillips. RED RIBBONS (Hachette) has been getting rave reviews, especially for the insight it offers into the emotions of a mother who has lost a child.” – Joe – Duffy Irish Mail on Sunday
“A beautifully written novel.” – Lee Middleton Stafford FM
Louise is currently working on her second, The Doll’s House, which will be published by Hachette Ireland in 2013
The website link is www.louise-phillips.com
The order link for both www.amazon.co.uk and www.amazon.com can be reached via http://www.louise-phillips.com/index.php/books/red-ribbons/order
Link to YouTube Trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bskXRgST9zI&feature=g-upl