Article published on May 17, 2016.
Sam Blake tells us how she shuts out the world in order to write…
Any writer who has a day job (I have several) and/or children (I have a couple of those too) knows that getting away from it all is sometimes essential to getting a book finished. I have quite a busy mind and the only way I can turn it off and focus on story is to plug my earphones in and get out of the house.
It’s actually just as well I have earphones and leave the house because everyone hates my choice of music. My husband only listens to classical music, my sixteen year old daughter – a pianist and a drummer – loves Muse, and my son has Dr. Who on a permanent loop. A far cry from Jess Glynn and Taylor Swift. I know. And One Direction. I’ll just duck while you throw things.
I know I’m way too old to be listening to chart music, but I LIKE it, and so more importantly does my character Cathy Connolly – she’s only twenty four, she’s a kick boxer and when she’s pounding a punch bag in the gym, focusing on a case, just like me, music is vital to drown out the noise in her head. Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ is one of her favourites, as is Jessie J’s ‘Bang Bang.’
As I am totally tone deaf and can’t sing a note I have to be very careful not to hum when I’m writing, particularly when I’m sitting in a hotel, squirreled away in the corner hoping nobody will notice me. I often go to the Glenview Hotel which is only a few minutes from where I live and I can get 1000 words done much faster there with no distractions than I can at home.
Because I’m busy workwise, I write anywhere I can – once I’ve plugged in my earphones I’m in Cathy’s world and I’m immersed in the story. Even if it’s six o’clock in the morning and I’m on a plane to the Frankfurt Book Fair. The only slight problem with getting those 1000 words written was that it was a really sad scene and I was welling up the whole time. Thankfully the guy next to me was asleep and I just had to pray no-one else noticed.
I find music is hugely useful for getting me into a writing mood, and I have a You Tube sound track that I stick on the minute I sit down. My first ever book, which was truly terrible, was written entirely to Robbie Williams ‘Angels’, but my mistake could have been listening to one record on a loop – now my sound track kicks off with Maroon 5’s Sugar, takes me through Ed Sheerin (Thinking Out Loud) and One Republic (Counting Stars), Emile Sande’s Beneath Your Beautiful, Adele, James Blunt’s Goodbye My Lover.
Quite a lot of the tracks are melancholy because Cathy finds herself in quite a dark place at the start of Little Bones, she’s very single and very pregnant and only coming to terms with her situation. No, that’s not true; she’s a long way from coming to terms with it, so when she finds a baby’s bones in the hem of a wedding dress, the discovery is doubly shocking. But she has no idea quite how explosive and devastating the case will become.
About the book
Little Bones is the first in the Cat Connolly Dublin based detective thriller trilogy. When a baby’s bones are discovered in the hem of a wedding dress, Detective Garda Cathy Connolly is face with a challenge that is personal as well as professional – a challenge that has explosive consequences.
About the author
Sam Blake is a pseudonym for Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, the founder of The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and the national writing resources website Writing.ie. She is Ireland’s leading literary scout who has assisted many award winning and bestselling authors to publication. Vanessa has been writing fiction since her husband set sail across the Atlantic for eight weeks and she had an idea for a book.
Little Bones by Sam Blake, published by twenty7 on 17 May, 2016 in paperback and as an eBook