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Today Louise Phillips visits the blog.  I’m delighted to showcase her new crime novel ‘Red Ribbons’ published by Hachette Ireland who describes the book as ‘a searing suspense novel from an exciting new voice in crime fiction.’

It hit the shops yesterday and you can buy a copy on Amazon.co.uk and on Amazon.com. It will be launched in Dublin tomorrow.

I’ve just finished reading it and I recommend it if you’re looking for a chilling page-turner with wounded characters and dark deeds in a compelling story told through the voices of criminal psychologist, Kate Pearson, institutionalised patient, Ellie Brady, and the killer himself. There are some lovely descriptions of Irish landscape in there too.

Over the years I’ve been struck by Louise’s ability to write from deep inside her subconscious without flinching from the dark stuff and even during workshop exercises her language flowed with fearless ease. Ciara Doorley, editorial director of Hachette Books Ireland, says of Louise: ‘With overtones of Sophie Hannah and Tana French, Louise is a supremely talented writer. She subconsciously creates parallels between her characters, and this really challenges the reader.’

I don’t want to give away too much about the plot of the book (see more detail below) and I’m interested in how a writer’s mind works so instead of talking about the story I thought it would be interesting to delve into Louise’s subconscious for a bit! To do this we agreed to do a Word Association play, similar to the one here.

I gave Louise some words that resonated with me as I was reading ‘Red Ribbons’. She responded to each word as quickly as possible before the conscious, rational part of her brain kicked in. Her responses are below.

Why not play it yourself with the same words? Do a ‘Louise’ and dig deep! It might even start you off on a story of your own.

Here we go Louise (looking suitably shadowy and mysterious here)!

 

Prayer

Reflection.

 Quiet.

A means by which I found sanctuary as a child.

A memory of being close to my children at night, reading them their prayers.

 A yellow-fronted book with a little boy kneeling, and sheep, becoming more battered as the children got older, and now on the shelf of books for my grandchild/grandchildren.

A place were kindness and spirituality should lie.

 

 Plait

Crossing.

Little girl hair.

Ribbons.

French plaits.

Heidi

Long.

 

 Wilderness

 Isolation.

Barren.

Buried secrets.

Alone with nature.

Frightening.

A place were humanity can be tested.

A place without shadows.

Open terrain.

The Hunter – The Hunted.

Vast

A place beyond humanity.

Mental and physical.

A place with history.

 

Corpus

 Christ

Crucifix

Death

Body and Soul

The Resurrection

A white circle – the Eucharist – softening on my tongue – stuck to the roof of my mouth.

Dead body

Deceased

Hymns from childhood

Schooldays

Confession

 

Adolescence

 Being afraid

Excitement

Uncertainty

Body changes

Hormones

Falling in Love – Madly

A new beginning.

Teenage friends, lifelong memories, a time like no other.

Vulnerability

Finding an identity

Believing anything was possible

Thinking you were always right

Reading amazing books – grown up ones with love, passion, depth, wonder, possibilities.

The best and the worst of times.

 

Wound

Sadness

Hurt

Inner and outer pain

Real and imagined

Physical and emotional marks

What we can do to others

What they can do to you

Memories that will never leave you

Part of what makes you strong, stronger, weak, sympathetic, emphasize with, love, protect, aware.

We all have them.

 

Earth

Soil

Dirt

Ground

Burial

Life

Flowers

Beauty

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Strong smells

Dirty fingernails

Men toiling the land

Heaven

New beginnings

Endings 

 

Victim

Innocence

Badness

Horror

Fear

Loss

Burden

Damaged

Pain

Sadness

Tears

The worst kind of memory.

Man’s cruelty to man. 

Blindness

Scarred

 

Dublin

Alive

Ever changing

Vibrant

Christmas Lights

The Mountains

Where I live.

Where I was born.

A blg place.

A small place.

Its people.

My terrible accent!

Friends.

The Rich and the Poor.

The streets.

Night.

The glittering lights of the city.

Capital of Ireland.

A place I call home.

Noise

 

Pillow

Soft

A sanctuary

My children sleeping.

Pillow fights.

A place to rest your head.

Bed

New sheets.

Suffocate

Dribbles

Innocence

 Something precious

To be protected

Pure

Trusting

The young

Parenting

Inspiring

Forever young

Soft

Something people can return to in old age.

Not guilty

Freedom

Hope

Thanks Louise for allowing us a glimpse into your creative associations. I look forward to your next book ‘The Doll’s House’ (to be published 2013).

To find out more about Louise and ‘Red Ribbons’, check out the links and summaries below.

SOME LINKS TO LOUISE

Louise’s website

Follow Louise on Twitter @LouiseMPhillips

Louise on Facebook

ABOUT THE BOOK

He did not intend for her to be found, but when a storm comes, there is little that can be done to stop it from disturbing what was meant to lie hidden.

On a cold October morning, the body of schoolgirl Caroline Devine is found buried in the Dublin Mountains after her grave is uncovered by harsh weather. Lying in the foetal position as if fast asleep, her hands are clasped together in prayer, and her hair has been plaited and tied with red ribbons.

When O’Connor, the detective leading the investigation, calls on Dr Kate Pearson, a criminal psychologist, to offer some advice, she tells him what he wants to hear – she feels confident the killer will take his time choosing his next victim, giving O’Connor the time he needs to catch him. But twenty-four hours later, a second schoolgirl is found in a shallow grave, her body identically arranged. Now, O’Connor and Kate find themselves desperately trying to catch the killer before he strikes again. And the more Kate discovers about the deaths of the girls, the more it all begins to feel terrifyingly familiar and long-buried memories of the past start to struggle to the surface.

There is one vital connection to be made – Ellie Brady, a woman who has been institutionalised for the last fifteen years. When her daughter’s body was found in a burnt-out caravan, Ellie confessed to setting the fire, but claimed her daughter was already dead before she struck a single match. But no one – not her husband, not the police, not the doctors at St Michael’s Institute – believed her. Will she decide to share her story once more? Is there anyone who will listen?

The bad man is everywhere. Can you see him?

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.

ABOUT LOUISE:

Louise Phillips returned to writing after a 20 year gap spent raising her family, managing a successful family business, and working in banking. Quickly selected by Dermot Boger 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 RTE Guide/Penguin Short Story Competition. In 2012 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. Louise’s psychological crime novel, Red Ribbons, is published by Hachette Books Ireland, and her second novel, The Doll’s House, will be published in 2013.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:

Interview with Louise by Declan Burke in the Herald newspaper

stops on Louise’s blog tour

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