‘Connolly, for whom the word “gutsy” might have been invented, is a terrific character . . . a compelling debut; the author keeps her complex storyline going all the way to its incredible ending’ Sunday Independent
Sam Blake is a pseudonym for Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, who is originally from St. Albans in Hertfordshire but has lived at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland for (almost) more years than she lived in the UK. Married to a retired member of An Garda Siochana she has two children, three cats and a fish, and runs the world’s only national writing resources website, as well as a publishing consultancy – she is Ireland’s leading literary scout.
She has to hide to get any writing done, but it’s her passion.
Vanessa has been writing fiction since her husband set sail across the Atlantic for eight weeks and she had an idea for a book.
Many hundreds of thousands of words later (and five draft manuscripts of varying quality) Little Bones hits the bookshelves in Ireland in May 2016, and hit the UK in February 2017. The first of a trilogy in a three-book deal for UK and Commonwealth rights with Bonnier’s exciting new Twenty7 imprint, Little Bones introduces the feisty Cathy Connolly, a 20-something Dublin cop and kickboxing champion. The novel begins with a horrifying discovery after what seems like a routine break-in.
Editor Joel Richardson said on sealing the deal with Sam’s agent, WME London’s Simon Trewin: “Our aim at Twenty7 is to discover great debut authors, and so it is serendipitous to be working with an author who has done so much of that herself. Little Bones gripped me from the beginning and in Cathy Connolly, Sam Blake has created a character that will stick in the mind for a long time.”
Little Bones was released in Ireland on 17 May 2016 and spent four weeks at number 1 and another 4 weeks in the top ten in the Irish bestseller list.
Then in October it was shortlisted for the Irish Crime Novel of the Year Award at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards, alongside Alex Barclay’s The Drowning Child, Liz Nugent’s Lying in Wait, William Ryan’s The Constant Soldier and Catherine Ryan Howard’s Distress Signals.
In Deep Water went straight into the top 10 on release in 2017 as did No Turning Back in 2018, it’s been a fantastic roller coaster ride for Cat Connolly!