Thursday, 7 February 2013

Cathy Mansell: Shadow Across the Liffey

A huge welcome to Tirgearr Publishing author, Cathy Mansell. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Cathy now lives with her family in the Leicestershire countryside in England. She keeps very busy writing children's stories, writing articles for newspapers and magazines, and most recently with her Irish set novels.

Most recently, Cathy was a contestant on Food Glorious Food, a new ITV program where folks around Great Britain competed for the best recipe and the chance to win £20,000! This show starts airing in late February after Coronation Street, so stay tuned to see Cathy in action at the stove this time, rather than her computer :-)

Back to books, Cathy's debut novel, Shadow Across the Liffey published today through Tirgearr Publishing. The story is set in Cathy's native Dublin and is the story of Oona Quinn, who's forced to put her life back together after the loss of her husband and daughter. This is a very emotional read that will have you turning pages. Be sure to have a box of hankies at hand too!

We recently had a brief chat with this busy woman and found out what goes on away from the keyboard when she's not writing.

Welcome, Cathy, and congratulations on the release of your debut novel, Shadow Across the Liffey. Before we get to the excerpt, let's chat for a moment about you, the author. Readers love to know more about their favorite writers. What can you tell us about you? Such as, what's your writing space like?
Cathy's garret -- Check out the screensaver on her PC!

I love my garret.  It’s where I feel most creative. When my husband retired as a architect, he lined the walls, fitted a carpet and put in a Velux window and he said “This is going to be my studio”  He furnished it with a desk and a drawing board.  

But, I’m glad to say that my passion to write was greater than his desire to draw, so the garret became mine. And I’ve made it my own for the past 15 years.

The best thing is that I don’t get too many interruptions because no one likes climbing the access ladder.  It also keeps the smaller grandchildren downstairs but not so the older ones who love to clamber up to see what Nan is doing.  

View from Cathy's garret, late Jan '13
Yes those are sheep in the field!
There is a wonderful view from the window overlooking our long garden and the fields beyond where sheep are usually grazing.  Lovely in summer and pretty in winter when snow has fallen covering the trees and fields.

Sounds like a dream spot, Cathy. The perfect place to get away from it all and immerse yourself in your stories. I'm very envious!

Tell us what your daily writing routine like.

I like to write in the morning, it’s when I’m at my best and ideas come easily.  After breakfast I tidy the kitchen and do what chores need doing, otherwise I feel guilty.  Then I take a quick look at my emails on my laptop. Although an author friend advised me never to do this before writing. “It saps your creativity,’ she said.  How right she is. But I still do it. To me it’s like getting mail and I can’t wait to open it.

By then,  it’s usually  9:30 – 10:00am before I get to my main computer.  I usually have the next scene of the book  in my head and want to get that down as a first draft.  I work for 2 to 3 hours and then break for coffee with my husband.

When I come back I don’t do as much as I would like to, because I spend time on media sites, Facebook, Twitter,  various blogs and publisher’s and author groups etc. It is all time consuming, but  I like to interact with other writers.  The majority of them are friendly and fun to network with.  There is always something new to  see and learn about.

I break again for  lunch and a chat with my husband and then again when family and friend’s call and again to prepare dinner. The day goes by so fast and I’m never satisfied with what I’ve done, therefore it’s usually midnight before I call it a day.

By the sound of things, you're both a morning writer and a night owl. You obviously love writing. Tell us what you enjoy doing when you're not writing?

I read lots of different genres especially authors I know and want to support.  I wish I could read faster, but since I bought my kindle my eyes don’t get so tired and I can read for longer.  I love it. 

I watch a bit of telly and can’t get enough of dramas like, Downtown Abbey.  I’m quiz mad and watch them when I can.   I love live thearte and wish we had more choice here in Leicester.  I like most music, and enjoy listening to school children playing instruments, some of them are so talented.  My 7 year old grandson plays the violin.  My favourite music to relax to is Johann Strauss.

I also love being around my gorgeous grandchildren.  But two of them are living in Perth Australia and New Zealand.  I miss them so much.  But, I’m lucky as I still have grandchildren around me most weekends; the youngest is Alfie, 14 months.  He’s so cute.

I’m planning to visit New Zealand/Australia next year or the year after.  My favourite place to go to is Ireland. It’s in my blood and after years of living in Leicester, I still get excited when I know I’m going home.  My daughter and I visited Galway two years ago.  It inspired my current book Galway Girl. 

You have a very rich and full life, Cathy, in front of and behind the computer. Thanks for sharing some of it with us, and let's here more about Galway Girl when it's ready!

Now, let's read some of Shadow Across the Liffey.

• • •

Life is hard for widow, Oona Quinn. She's grief-stricken by the tragic deaths of her husband and five-year-old daughter. While struggling to survive, she meets charismatic Jack Walsh at the shipping office where she works.

Vinnie Kelly, her son's biological father, just out of jail, sets out to destroy both Oona and all she holds dear. Haunted by her past, she has to fight for her future and the safety of her son, Sean. But Vinnie has revenge on his mind . . .



Dublin City, 25th March 1961

Sergeant McNally would never forget the pink icing sugar. It was the worst accident he had witnessed since joining the Gardá Síochaná, twenty years ago. If his doctor had not suggested walking as a healthy exercise, he would have taken the car and avoided Dock Road that day.


Most collisions just happen, mostly during bad weather, when cars slide into one another. That was not the case here. It was dry, with a clear sky – ideal for a brisk walk. This was no accident. It appeared to him that the driver of the van, travelling from the docks at speed, on the wrong side of the road, was intent on killing himself and anyone else he could take with him.

The van hit the black Morris Minor, the force sending it spinning it out of control into the path of oncoming traffic. The van overturned several times and the car ended up on its side. Then all he could hear was the sound of crunching metal and hissing steam.

‘Good God!’ The magnitude of the scene as it unfolded before his eyes stunned him. Children cried; people screamed out for help.

McNally acted as fast as he could, alerting the ambulance services and relaying news of the crash to his colleagues at the station. Over the years he had been called out to many accidents, some fatal. The reason that this one had made such an impression was that a small child had been killed senselessly, and he had witnessed it. It happened yards from where he walked along the pavement, and nothing he could have done to prevent it – a fact that would haunt him for a very long time.


An eerie silence descended. Eyewitnesses looked at the pile-up in horror, and the Dublin street came to a standstill. Car doors opened and those uninjured scrambled out. Others, some bleeding from cuts and bruises, stood around in a daze.

‘Help’s on its way,’ McNally shouted. 

‘Over here!’ a man cried. ‘The van driver’s dead. Can someone check for injuries in the other cars?’

‘I’m a doctor!’ someone else said. ‘This one’s bad. The man at the wheel is dead.’

McNally climbed on top of what was once a Morris Minor but which now resembled a mound of compressed metal, and peered inside. Pink icing sugar splattered the shattered windscreen. ‘God Almighty!’ he cried. ‘There’s a child trapped in the back. I can see a tiny hand. Glory be to God!’

• • •

Cathy Mansell writes romantic fiction. Her recently written family sagas are set in her home country of Ireland. One of these sagas closely explores her affinities with Dublin and Leicester. Her children's stories are frequently broadcast on local radio and she also writes newspaper and magazine articles. Cathy has lived in Leicester for fifty years. She belongs to Leicester Writers' Club and edited an Arts Council-funded anthology of work by Lutterworth Writers, of which she is president.

Find Cathy online --


• • •

-- >> Tirgearr Publishing is giving away a copy of Cathy's book to the best comment or question here today. Be sure to use the comments section on this page to enter. Don't forget to leave your email address.


41 comments:

  1. Welcome to the Heart of Fiction, Cathy. And HUGE congratulations on the release of your debut novel, Shadow Across the Liffey. Wow! What a read this one is. It's sure to be a hit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kemberlee. It's a wonderful feeling. A day I'll never forget.

      Delete
  2. A fascinating insight into a writer's busy life. I'm looking forward to reading Shadow Across the Liffey - I too love my Kindle. Have a happy Publication Day, Cathy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Margaret. The error on Amazon is being sorted. I hope you enjoy reading Shadow Across the Liffey on your kindle.
      Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  3. A wonderful debut novel that will have you reaching for the tissues and turning the pages. Keep them coming Cathy. Well done.
    Rosie Goodwin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rosie,
      Thank you for your comment. I'll do my best.
      Love Cathy

      Delete
  4. PLEASE NOTE: There was a glitch at Amazon and the incorrect version was loaded to Cathy's page. This is being corrected now. Anyone who's bought a copy of Shadow Across the Liffey and another book is attached to the file, please return to Amazon immediately for a full refund. We're guaranteed the problem will be corrected ASAP and you can load a new copy shortly. Until then, if you can't wait, head over to Smashwords to pick up your Kindle version --
    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/283128

    Cathy has been both beautiful and gracious through this, and for that we thank her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This should explain things Kemberlee. Glad you put this up.
      Readers are patient people and hopefully will try again later.

      Cathy

      Delete
    2. This is highly irregular and very annoying, but at least readers can return the book they bought if the wrote file is attached.

      Also should note, BEFORE BUYING, click on the "LOOK INSIDE" link on the cover image. The correct version of the book will come up there when it's available so readers will know it's good to download.

      Delete
  5. Congratulations, Cathy! After enjoying hearing you read from this at Leicester Writers' Club it's great to finally see it in print. Lovely cover. Good luck with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What an honour. Thank you Chris for your comment. Pleased you like the cover.
      I'm very excited and delighted to see Shadow Across the Liffey in print.

      I hope to catch up with you soon at Leicester Writers' Club and hear
      about your latest releases.

      Delete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Congratulations, Cathy, you are a true Irish storyteller, look forward to reading this and many more. Get up in that attic at once!! Jean Chapman.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello Jean. When I annoy Dennis he tells me to get up in that attic.
    I'm glued today. Thanks for your lovely comments.
    Hope it won't be long before Shadow is loaded. Can't wait to see it.
    X

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well done Cathy

    Can't wait to read Shadow Across the Liffey

    Lutterworth Writers Groupis really proud of you, our President

    Lorraine Buckingham

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment Lorraine. Much appreciated.

      Delete
  10. Yay! The issue with Cathy's book on Amazon has been corrected. Thanks to the Amazon team for expediting this.

    http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Mansell_Cathy/shadow-across-the-liffey.htm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well done Cathy!!! Really enjoyed reading this interview with you.

      Can't wait to read Shadow Across the Liffey. It's all downloaded and ready to go. I hope everybody loves it!

      Stephen.

      Delete
    2. Thank you Stephen. I really appreciate your comment. Will look
      forward to hearing from you again once you've read the book.

      Delete
  11. Congratulations Cathy. 'Writing a novel is not merely going on a shopping expedition across the border to an unreal land: it is hours and years spent in the factories, the streets, the cathedrals of the imagination.' Today is a special day for you - now others will be able to visit the world you've created.
    Keith M

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How true that is Keith, and a beautiful description of a writer's world.
      Thank you so much.

      Delete
  12. Congratulations, Cathy, you are a true Irish storyteller, look forward to reading this and many more. Get up in that attic at once!! Jean Chapman.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you Jean. The first one did get through at 12:15 this morning.
    But it's nice to hear from you again.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Keep the comments coming, everyone. Cathy will be choosing one lucky winner this afternoon to win a copy of her book, Shadow Across the Liffey!
    http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Mansell_Cathy/shadow-across-the-liffey.htm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So many lovely and inspiring comments it will be hard to choose.
      But I'll make up my mind a couple of hours.

      Delete
    2. Thank you to everyone who made a comment on Heart of Fiction blogSpot.
      They were all inspiring.

      But the winner is Keith Morley of Leicester. His comment was different
      and most inspirational. Well done Keith.

      Delete
  15. What a great achievement from a very dedicated and talented writer. You are an inspiration to others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Samantha. Have you managed to download a copy yet? I do hope so.

      Delete
    2. Yeah I sure have, and almost finished reading it too. #page turner.

      Delete
  16. Nice to meet you finally in person today. Congratulations on your publication. It looks very interesting. I'm going to get a copy! Best wishes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Marilyn that is great. I'll be interested to hear your comments
      once you've had a chance to read Shadow Across the Liffey.

      Delete
  17. Finally made it over here, Cathy. I'm so thrilled for you nw Shadow Across the Liffey has been published. I've never seen the inside of your garret so that was really cool. Keeping fingers crossed or good sales. Will download a copy and review when time allows.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wasn't expecting any more comments, so thank you for this Lizzie.
      I love my writing space.
      Love Cathy

      Delete
  18. Nice post, Cathy. Good luck with Shadow Across the Liffey. I'll be rooting for your success all the way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Charlene. Thanks so much for the comment. Much appreciated.
      CathyX

      Delete
  19. I had the pleasure of listening to Cathy read much of this when it was still at the creative stage of the writing process. Much admired and great to see it in print. Dave Martin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for taking the time to write a comment Dave. Your constructive opinions and suggestions were much appreciated. Thanks Cathy

      Delete
  20. Congratulations, Cathy. Onwards and upwards. Lovely blog post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for this Liz. I really appreciate your comment.

      Delete
  21. Hi Cathy iv juat started to read your book & i cant put it down. Great book well done you should feel really proud of yourself

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kara, you've just made my day.
      So pleased that you are enjoying Shadow Across the Liffey and hope
      you will find the ending satisfying.
      Please keep in touch.

      Cathy

      Delete