This is far from the first act of generosity I have encountered in the world of Irish writing. Last Autumn I sent the synopsis of my upcoming novel The Flight of the Wren over to Liz Nugent, author of the massive best-seller Unravelling Oliver, at her insistence. And how many times had I met Liz, I hear you ask, and the answer of course is: never! However, she insisted on seeing it, and then took a red pen to it, slashing my 1000 words to 300 and shaping it into a lean, mean synopsising machine.
I took my new, sharp-as-a-razor synopsis and entered it and the first 5,000 words of the novel into the anonymously-judged Greenbean Novel Fair contest, where the judges didn’t know the entrants’ names, and more unusually, the entrants didn’t know who the judges were either. The Flight of the Wren was picked up and championed by the incomparable Martina Devlin. I had loved Martina’s recent book The House Where it Happened, so much so, that I had bought several copies of it for lucky punters as Christmas presents.
And how many times had I met Martina? Yip, that’s right: never. But… as soon as we met at the preparation day for the Novel Fair finalists, she insisted on my sending her a copy of The Accidental Wife, and wrote back to me describing it as
And that’s where the second of my cover quotes come from.
I’ve been on the receiving end of so many kindnesses from strangers, brought together by nothing more than our love of the written word. In the years to come, I hope I might, one day, be able to pay-it-forward.