Today, I’ve got the lovely Cat Hogan answering some questions as part of the blog tour, and I’m also going to be sharing my review!
About the book:
Scott makes enemies everywhere. Powerful people want him dead. He’s coming back to Ireland to finish what he started. But first, he must make it out of Marrakech alive.
Jen knows Scott will come back. Every day, she waits. He almost killed her last time and, fuelled by hate and arrogance, he’s not a man to ever just move on. He will kill her and he will kill her young son. But her husband and friends believe she has spiralled into paranoia.
So she knows, when he returns, she’ll face the psychopath alone.
Published by Poolbeg, There Was A Crooked Man is out now and you can grab your copy by clicking HERE.
About the author:
Cat has worked for many years in the hospitality industry training hotel management. She earned a bachelors degree in business from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology as well as an honors degree in law from Carlow Institute of Technology. When she is not bringing her imaginary friends to life, she offers a freelance writing service to business start-ups.
You can follow Cat on Twitter at @Kittycathogan
Having read and enjoyed They All Fall Down earlier this year, I was thrilled to be asked to review There Was A Crooked Man as part of the blog tour. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading it, but I was quickly hooked and ended up having it read in 24 hours!
TWACM (Yep, I’m doing that, because its a long title to keep typing, haha!) begins with a bang and the pace genuinely doesn’t let up for the rest of the book. Scott is most definitely back, and he is badder and more arsey than before, if that is even possible! The author has chosen to have chapters from Scott’s POV at the beginning and they make for tense reading. Going into the mind of a psychopath is no easy feat but these chapters are gripping.
Its a little way into TWACM before we meet the rest of the characters, but it is plain to see how the events of They All Fall Down have impacted their lives. I really like how the author tries to capture the various issues that Jen, her friends and family are all dealing with. There is more than enough drama going on within the pages to keep the reader more than a little intrigued.
TWACM is quite a different book to They All Fall Down. It is much darker, and much more of a departure for Cat Hogan than her debut. I think it was a risk worth taking though, because the reader gets a gripping and completely enthralling story with plenty of red herrings thrown around the place.
There Was A Crooked Man weaves a tangled narrative that leaves the reader questioning the characters and their motives. It is dark, compelling and thoroughly riveting.
If you were to cast your characters from They All Fall Down, who would you pick and why? (Add in pics if needed!)
When I was about 20 thousand words in to writing the first draft of They All Fall Down (in the spirit of dreaming big), I sat down one night to write the cast list for the Hollywood block-buster this (unwritten) book would clearly become. I’ve changed my mind a thousand times over – with one exception. Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, Queer as Folk, Love/Hate, The Dark Knight Rises, The Wire) was the only choice for my anti-hero, Scott. As I continued with the novel, it was his face I saw as I wrote the scenes for my everyone-loves-to-hate-bad boy. His voice remained in my head as I wrote the sequel, ‘There Was A Crooked Man.’
Through a series of bizarre chance encounters, I finally got to meet Aidan. I told him the back story and he agreed to read the manuscript for book two- and if he liked it, he would give me a quote for the cover. He loved it – in particular Scott’s character and I now have a brilliant quote on the cover from the man himself! Next step is the screen play so watch this space 😊
How has your year been since They All Fall Down was published?
Since then, I haven’t had a chance to draw breath! TAFD hit the shelves in July 2016- it quickly became an Irish Times best seller and a best seller on Amazon in the UK and in the US. We were delighted with the response the novel was getting and that’s when the fun started. I had started a stand alone novel- another dark tale of death, destruction and misery but the characters from the first novel wouldn’t leave me alone. Then the readers started- and the question on everyone’s lips was ‘When is the sequel?’ Scott had to come back and so too did the rest of the characters. I started writing the first draft of ‘There Was A Crooked Man’ in late September/ early October 2016 and the pressure was on. If this one didn’t work- I had just knocked myself back by about half a year. Luckily, it did work and the novel was launched this week!
It was a fast and interesting year and a very steep learning curve. You learn fast on your feet and now I feel as though I’m getting to grips will all the different facets of this busy industry. There has been loads of high lights over the last 12 months or so. I love it.
How do you balance your writing life with a young family? Do you stick to a strict routine?
I am incredibly organised and structured. I always have been. I survive on very little sleep and I’m not one for procrastinating. If I say I’m going to do something, I’ll do it- end of story. I like to be busy and I like to get shit done. ( #gsd) I take my professional life very seriously and I don’t waste a minute. That said, I’m fierce and protective of my time when it comes to my children too. Nothing interferes with that. Joey is in primary school and Arthur is in Montessori. I work in the morning when they are away, I spend my afternoons after school with the boys doing the mammy thing- homework, dinner, and all the lovely normal things and when they go to bed, I go back to work. I rarely work past midnight and I’ll either go to bed with a book or wind down with a movie. It works for me (for now!) It is so important too, to have a bit of down time- coffee/drinks with friends and the odd duvet day.
What has been your proudest writing achievement so far?
They All Fall Down was nominated for The Annie McHale Debut Novel of the Year award, shortly after publication. It got really amazing reviews and all in all, it has been flying off the shelves. Already, ‘There Was A Crooked Man’ has been getting great reviews too- and of course, was endorsed by Aidan Gillen and Jackie Hayden. It’s a big deal to have their names associated with the novel. The biggest thing for me though, was at the two back to back launches last week. It was the look on my mother’s face and the faces of my close friends. They were about to burst with pride. They are all the people who have been in my life, through thick and thin, and seeing that look on their faces is more precious to me than all the tea in China. That’s the moment of magic for me and it will never get old.
What kind of research do you do for your books? Have you come across anything weird or crazy while researching?
Researching is one of my favourite parts of writing. I’m a bit of a nerd like that- I’ll start off researching one topic and the end up going down the rabbit hole of internet searches and YouTube. I often wonder how my contemporaries did it years ago, without the monstrosity that is Google at their fingertips. A lot of my research was done through Wexford Library too- with good old-fashioned books. A couple of people have asked me about when I was in Marrakech- a good portion of ‘There Was A Crooked Man’ is set there. I’ve never been. Good research and a wild imagination can take you anywhere.
The second novel touches on the sex-industry and human trafficking. That was difficult to research. When you are looking at the darker side of human nature, it’s hard to comprehend the depths of evil sometimes.
On a lighter note though, while researching They All Fall Down, I came across an interesting fact I had never heard before….
‘On November 1st, 1755, a series of tsunamis lasting more than seven hours tore at the south west coast of Ireland, “wrecking fishing boats around Kinsale” and “even damaging coastal buildings as far north as Galway Bay. In Kinsale Harbour between 3 and 4 pm, the water came over the quay with such violence as to throw many people down” – Now, I’ve just taken that from a piece online but there’s very little documented evidence about the actual events. I was told this story by a local and there’s a brief reference to it in the first book. If anyone would like to furnish me with more details- get in touch!!
If you had to choose a different career, what would you pick and why?
I trained and worked for many years in the Hospitality industry and it was a career I loved, but it’s difficult to have anything outside of that career because of the long, and very anti-social hours (and the mediocre pay). But, I loved it. I’m very much a people person, always have been.
In a voluntary capacity, I’m a trained Emergency Medical Technician with the Wexford Unit of The Order of Malta Ambulance Corps. I often thought about going on and training to be a full-time Paramedic. Maybe I’ll just write a novel about being one instead. That’s the beauty of story-telling, you can be whatever you want to be!
Whats the hardest scene you’ve had to write?
I think writing all the scenes from Scott’s perspective proved interesting. He’s male, he’s a psychopathic killer and he’s a real misogynist. A few of the scenes made me a little bit uncomfortable while writing them- but that’s the whole point, isn’t it? It’s fiction for me!
In They All Fall Down, there’s a scene where Jen’s little boy is in real danger. That was hard to write as I had to put myself in her shoes and imagine if it were me and my boy, Joey. I felt the same things she felt as I walked though that scene.
In There Was A Crooked Man, one of the characters shuffles off their mortal coil (no spoilers). I cried the whole way through writing the scene. There’s a piece of music associated with that character and I played it on loudspeaker the whole time. I was a wreck at the end of it!
What lessons have you learned as a writer?
I’ve learned many lessons in the last twelve months in particular, more about the industry I’m now in, rather than the creative side of my profession. I take what I do very seriously, but I don’t particularly take myself very seriously (in a positive way). And the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to stick with the people who bring the magic out of you, and not the madness.
I’m a dreamer as well as a grafter- I’ll always keep my eyes open for signs and my ears open for good advice. If people can’t cheer for me while I’m on this journey, they can shag off and go cheer for someone else.
Roald Dahl sums up my approach to life perfectly with this quote:
‘And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.’
Huge thanks to Cat for answering my questions, and for having me on the blog tour. Make sure to check out these other fab blogs taking part: