Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Little Girl Lost by Brian McGilloway


 



INTERVIEW




Do you have a milestone birthday coming up? If so, how are you approaching it?

I just turned 40 recently actually. To be honest, and this probably sounds a little strange, but it seemed to come out of nowhere; I was merrily wandering along in my thirties and then this happened! I’m the youngest of four kids, though, so my brothers and sister have already gone through it. I’m okay about it; I feel blessed with my family and friends.

 

Tell us about your family.

We have four kids; three boys aged from 10 down to 5, and a daughter aged 3. Our oldest son, Ben, gave his name to my first series character, Benedict Devlin, as I wrote Borderlands around the time Ben was born. I suspect it was an attempt to impose some sort of control on a fictional world just as we lost control of the real one with the arrival of a baby. Our daughter, Lucy, gave her name to Lucy Black in the same manner. Our middle kids, Tom and David, also have named characters in the books – Lucy’s boss is called Tom, though in reality, I suspect the real Lucy is the one running our house!

 

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

I do, certainly during the first draft of the book. When I edit or redraft I tend not to, because I want to hear the sound of the sentences in my head without distraction, to see if they flow okay. What I listen to seems to set the tone for the book in the first draft and it varies from book to book. I’ve just finished Lucy 3 and most of it was written to Mark Lanegin’s new CD Imitations. Hurt, the sequel to Little Girl Lost, was written to the Blue Nile’s Family Life and Paul Buchanan’s Mid Air CD. Tom Waits has provided the soundtrack to the writing of a couple of my books, too. The third Devlin novel, Bleed a River Deep, is named after a song by an English singer-songwriter, Ed Harcourt.

 

Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or movie?

I’ve appeared, in a manner of speaking, in a Ken Bruen book, The Devil. Ken was kind enough to have Jack Taylor ordering some books to read and he lists of a handful of authors, including fellow Irish crime writer Adrian McKinty and myself. That’s company I’m glad to be in!

 

What books have most influenced your life?
I guess the books that have stuck in my mind must seep into my own fiction in some way or other. The first crime novel I read was Ian Rankin’s Black and Blue, which set me off on a decade of reading almost exclusively crime fiction. James Lee Burke’s Last Car to Elysian Fields was the book that inspired me to start writing Borderlands; I reached the section where Robicheaux is jogging in the park and thinks he’s going to die, and I remember being saddened at the thought this character – this fictional friend with whom I had spent days reading the books in the series – was going to die. Rebus was retiring, Morse was dead; I decided to write a character I could come back to and revisit if the rest of these detective left the stage. Borderlands was written for myself primarily, as the type of the book I would want to read and Ben Devlin as the type of character with whom I would want to spend time. I’ve applied that same rationale to all my books since, including the Lucy series. The first book that really stuck with me was Leon Garfield’s John Diamond, which I read when I was nine or ten. It was the first time I recall reading a book I could not put down.

 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?

I suppose you find out things with each book that you didn’t know before and that interest you sufficiently that you share them through your writing in the hope that it’ll interest others as well. I remember being shocked by the whole cillin phenomenon when I was researching the fifth Devlin, the Nameless Dead. Cillins were burial sites, along rivers and on borders and outside the perimieter of cemeteries, where parents buried babies who had died before they could be baptised, after the Church refused them burial in sanctified ground. This went on until the early 1970s. One story I heard, however, was about the Bishop of Down and Connor, who died in 1914. He insisted that, when he died, he be buried outside the local cemetery, placing his grave in an area where he knew a cillin was situated, so that the children buried there might share the blessing bestowed on his grave, during his funeral.

 

Have any of your characters been modeled after yourself?

I suspect every character carries something of the author who created them. My two series characters, Devlin and Lucy, certainly have facets of me in them. Lucy has a back-story about her family being driven from their home after their windows are broken when she was young. This was something that happened my family before I was born and which affected my older siblings. When I wrote the Devlin books, my primary concerns in life were about my growing family and being a good husband and father. Those concerns are fairly clearly reflected in Devlin. Plus, I gave up smoking when our kids were born, so Devlin now smokes for me. Every time he has a cigarette in the books, I can smoke vicariously through him!


Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: 2/18/2014
Number of Pages: 305
ISBN: 9780062336583
Purchase Links:

Synopsis: 


During a winter blizzard a small girl is found wandering half-naked at the edge of an ancient woodland. Her hands are covered in blood, but it is not her own. Unwilling or unable to speak, the only person she seems to trust is the young officer who rescued her, DS Lucy Black.

DS Black is baffled to find herself suddenly transferred from a high-profile case involving the kidnapping of a prominent businessman's teenage daughter, to the newly formed Public Protection Unit. Meanwhile, she has her own problems—caring for her Alzheimer's-stricken father; and avoiding conflict with her surly Assistant Chief Constable – who also happens to be her mother. As she struggles to identify the unclaimed child, Lucy begins to realize that this case and the kidnapping may be linked by events that occurred during the blackest days of the country's recent history, events that also defined her own childhood.

LITTLE GIRL LOST is a devastating page-turner about corruption, greed and vengeance, and a father's endless love for his daughter.

Author Bio:

Brian McGilloway is the bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Inspector Benedict Devlin series. He was born in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1974. After studying English at Queen’s University, Belfast, he took up a teaching position in St Columb’s College in Derry, where he is currently Head of English. His first novel, Borderlands, published by Macmillan New Writing, was shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger 2007 and was hailed by The Times as ‘one of (2007’s) most impressive debuts.’ The second novel in the series, Gallows Lane, was shortlisted for both the 2009 Irish Book Awards/Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year and the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2010. Bleed A River Deep, the third Devlin novel, was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of their Best Books of 2010. Brian's fifth novel, Little Girl Lost, which introduced a new series featuring DS Lucy Black, won the University of Ulster's McCrea Literary Award in 2011 and is a No.1 UK Kindle Bestseller. The follow-up novel, Hurt, will be published in late 2013 by Constable and Robinson. Brian lives near the Irish borderlands with his wife, daughter and three sons.


Catch Up With the Author:

 
 

Excerpt: 

There was definitely something moving between the trees. He’d been aware of it for a few moments now, a flitting movement he’d catch in the corner of his eye, weaving through the black tree trunks set vertical against the snow. At first he had dismissed it as the result of snow hypnosis from staring too long through the windscreen into the unrelenting downdraught of snowflakes.

Michael Mahon shunted the gearstick back into first as he approached the hill leading into Prehen. He knew almost as soon as he had shifted down that it was the wrong thing to do. He felt the wheels of the milk float begin to spin beneath him, could see the nose of the vehicle drift towards the kerb. He eased back on the accelerator, pumped the brakes in an attempt to halt the inexorable movement sideways but to no avail. He knew the wheels had locked and yet still the float shifted sideways, sliding backwards across the road, coming to rest finally against

Cursing, he shut off the engine and dropped down from the cab onto the road. Just behind him lay the edge of the ancient woodland stretching for several miles from Prehen all the way up to Gobnascale. Light from street lamps reflected off the snow, illuminating further into the woods than normal at this time of night. Black branches of the trees sagged in places under the increased weight of snow.

Shivering involuntarily, Michael turned his attention to the milk float again. He picked up the spade he’d left on the back for just such an emergency. As he was bending to clear the snow from the wheels he became aware once more of a movement in the woods, on the periphery of his vision.

It was cold, yet the goosebumps that sprang up along his arms and down his spine caused him to start. Brandishing the spade in both hands, he turned again to face the woods, dread already settling itself in the pit of his stomach.

A child came into the open at the edge of the trees. Her hair, long and black against the white background of the forest floor, looked soaked through, hanging lank onto her shoulders. Her face was rounded and pale. She wore a pair of pyjamas. On the chest of the jacket something was writt

When the girl saw him she stopped, staring at the spade he was holding, then looking at him, challengingly, her gaze never leaving his face, her skin almost blue from the luminescence of the snow. It was only as he stepped closer to her, crouching cautiously, his hand outstretched as one might approach an animal, that she turned and ran back into the trees.

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1 comment:

Lance Wright said...

Terrific interview! Thanks so much for introducing us to this author and sharing with us some of the personal backstory to his books.