Session 2 Lilja Sigurdardóttir and Catherine Ryan Howard
The session opened with a reading from Gavin Gilmore, a new author. His book is as yet unfinished, but judging from his reading he should get back to it quickly, because his was a voice I was interested to hear more from. I love new talent initiatives, there lies tomorrow’s best sellers.
Catherine Ryan Howard and Lilja Sigurdardottir discussed their books The Liar’s Girl and Snare with Sarah Ward.
Sarah began by asking Lilja what research she had done for Snare, which features a woman who is blackmailed into smuggling drugs. Amidst much laughter Lilja confessed to being a well known unpasteurised cheese and pork pie smuggler these items being hard to come by in Iceland.
Lilja said she was inspired to write about Iceland post the financial crash because it was such an interesting time for the country. Even now, the last trials of bankers are being concluded and there were so many human stories from the crash that could be told. Bankers who had been superstars, featuring in glossy magazines with their latest yacht purchase had a spectacular fall from grace and the Icelandic people felt a keen sense of betrayal from their actions.
Lilja also made a conscious decision to make her protagonist a lesbian. She feels that there are so many untold stories from under-portrayed communities that should be told. She also likes to add a bit of romance and beauty to her books as a counterbalance to the darkness.
Dublin is a strong presence in Catherine Ryan Howard’s book, The Liar’s Girl. Her female protagonist is Alison, a woman whose boyfriend Will is accused of being a serial killer.
Catherine is fascinated by the idea that someone could be a serial killer and their partner simply would not know. She had been aware of one such trial in which a wife had no idea that she was living with an ordinary monster – she thought he had been having an affair.
Catherine loves ambiguity in plotting; finding that third scenario as an option to did hero did he not do it and she loves p7tting cliffhangers at the end of each chapter so that the reader is encouraged to read just one more chapter…