It’s almost one year since I sent TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE out to agents. This time last year, I was working through my manuscript, writing and re-writing my query letter, with one eye online to see what agents might be looking for a book like mine. And then a few weeks later, madness, the best kind of madness. Things I hadn’t even known to wish for began happening and now that proofs are out there, stalking readers, I thought it was a good time to pause and reflect.
I wrote TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE, the way many people really write, in the thin wedges of time I was given. In fact, I wrote this novel when my daughter was ten months old, mostly in the middle of the night, grainy-eyed but possessed with a rare kind of writing fever. It was national novel writing month and I had somehow decided—maybe this was some version of maternal mania—that I could give myself permission to write intensely for one month. The novel wasn’t finished after this but it had taken root and over the next six months Frankie and her colleagues delivered scenes to my head with reliable frequency.
During that period of intense writing, as corny as it sounds, when I looked into my daughter’s face I wanted her to know that she could, if she worked hard enough, open any door. For many reasons this was important to me. I never thought I could be a writer when I was younger. I can’t even say it was a life-long dream of mine. I loved to write. But to become a writer? Those goals were for other people to shoot for, not me. That was the background I stood on at the time. Socially and economically the creative path felt off limits. This is not an unusual story. Of course not. But it wasn’t until my late twenties that the writer in me began to stand up. And the more I drank from the cup, the more addicted I became. Writing is a way for me to offload, to dig deep, to be playful and now to hold a copy of my debut novel, it gives me such joy. Today, I’m off on a retreat to work on the second Frankie Sheehan novel and what a privilege that is. Thanks for reading. If you’re a writer, keep going, keep trying and be brave.
If you’d like a little taster, here’s the blurb of TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE:
TOO SOON TO SEE
Polished. Professional. Perfect. Dead. Respected scientist Dr Eleanor Costello is found hanging in her immaculate home: the scene the very picture of a suicide.
TOO LATE TO HIDE
DCS Frankie Sheehan is handed the case, and almost immediately spots foul play. Sheehan, a trained profiler, is seeking a murderer with a talent for death.
TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE
As Frankie strives to paint a picture of the killer, and their victim, she starts to sense they are part of a larger, darker canvas, on which the lines between the two blur.