Tag Archives: sam blake

MURDER ONE! Ireland’s International Crime Writing Festival BOOK NOW!

I am SO excited to bring you news of this…

In a UNESCO City of Literature that boasts innumerable festivals all year round, you might think that all bases had been covered, but with the increasing popularity of genre festivals, this is not strictly true.  Crime writers have regularly appeared at the major Dublin literary festivals but crime writing has arguably been under-served thus far.  All this is about to change with the advent of Murder One, a new three-day long weekend crime writing festival that will feature readings and interviews with Irish and international authors, panel events, and a free speakers corner where attendees can listen to readings from some of Ireland’s newest crime writers.  Murder One will be a broad church accommodating the kindred genres of thrillers and spy fiction, police procedural and supernatural.For a first festival the line-up of crime writers is massively impressive. International bestseller, Michael Connelly opens with a special preview event on October 28th at 2.00pm in City Hall with Declan Burke moderating.

Thereafter the main programme takes place in Smock Alley, one of Dublin’s premier event venues, from 2nd – 4th November.  Featured over the weekend will be a stellar cast of crime and thriller writers including Lynda La Plante, Peter James, Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Clare Mackintosh, Lisa Jewell, Ruth Ware, Mick Herron and Robert Goddard together with many of your favourite Irish crime writers including Liz Nugent, Jane Casey, Karen Perry and many more.

International bestseller Lynda La Plante will also bring festival attendees a unique free workshop for anyone interested in the world of forensics or Crime Scene Investigation. This interactive event is hosted by Think Forensic whose experts include CSI’s, forensic scientists, and senior investigating officers. In Lynda La Plante’s CSI Murder Room, get a hands on introduction to forensic science during which you will be briefed on the crime of the day, inspired by Lynda’s newest thriller Murder Mile, and help the team solve it.

A limited number of rover weekend tickets are now available – with added goodie bags! Check out www.murderone.ie to book

The festival has been developed and will be curated by two of Ireland’s most experienced literary event programmers, Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin of Writing.ie (aka SAM BLAKE 😉 ) and Bert Wright formerly of Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival and currently curator of The Dublin Festival of History and the DLR Voices Series.. Working with Dublin City Libraries, Dublin City Events, and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, the organizers aim to attract not just an avid local audience but also literary tourists from all over the world. The model of the long-running and hugely successful Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate is very much in mind.

With crime writing consistently the highest selling genre worldwide, the time is ripe for a great literary city to expand its festival portfolio and Murder One, it is hoped, will become one of the key events in the national and international crime festival calendar.

Smock Alley Theatre, Temple Bar, Dublin 8

Thursday November 2nd – 4th 2018

BOOK NOW at www.murderone.ie 


Sam Blake at The Professional Writing Academy

Sam Blake is a guest tutor at The Professional Writing Academy Crime Fiction Online Workshop designed and facilitated by course director & Unsung Hero of Publishing 2018 Tom Bromley. 

Are you passionate about crime fiction? Would you like to expand and hone your writing skills? This four-week online course will help you master the conventions of crime fiction as you develop ideas, create compelling characters and inject suspense into your writing. You’ll learn how to develop page-turning plots and put this knowledge into practice by writing a short crime story or start of a novel. Broaden your palette of writing techniques and explore the world of thriller, suspense and crime  – and you can do it wherever you are in the world!

About Tom Bromley (but obviously the pic above is *me* 😉 )

I am a published author, editor, creative writing tutor, book reviewer and ghost (not the scary kind). I have written ten books under my own name and the pseudonym Thomas Black, which are a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. I have also ghostwritten a dozen more titles, several of which have been international bestsellers.

As a creative writing tutor, I teach novel writing and five further courses for the prestigious Faber Academy. I am also Director of Fiction for the Professional Writing Academy, where I run courses on crime and genre fiction.

I work, too, as an editorial consultant and mentor for a number of publishers, literary agencies and organisations, and also in a private capacity. Locally, I host the Salisbury Writing Circle — a community of new and experienced writers alike and write a weekly column on the arts (sort of) for the Salisbury Journal.

This autumn, I’m also one of the founders and Director of the inaugural Salisbury Literary Festival.

You couldn’t be in safer hands!

Sign up here http://bit.ly/CrimeSignUp

See my thoughts on literary festivals, events and courses, PLUS how to deal with writer’s block below…


Now Out in Audio!

I’m thrilled that Little Bones. In Deep Water and No Turning Back are now ALL available in audio in MP3 and CD formats (click here to order directly from Bolinda or download from Audible here ) – and in libraries, including libraries in Australia – do ask if you can’t find it!

The series is narrated by Aoife McMahon, a fabulous actress who has also narrated Marian Keyes, Cecilia Aherne, Louise O’Neill’s Asking For It and Carmel Harrington’s The Woman and 72 Derry Lane plus Jess Kidd’s The Hoarder and many of Jo Spain’s nail-biting thrillers.

Aoife attended The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and has appeared in  many TV series including Doctors, Broken, Partners in Crime and The Royals as well as A Touch of Frost and Bad Girls.  A well known face on the BBC and ITV she also has an extensive stage career.

Listen to an excerpt from Little Bones here on sound cloud:

And here’s a bit of No Turning Back


The Story Behind In Deep Water…

In March 1993 I had been in Ireland for six months when a report aired on the lunchtime news  about an American student who had vanished from a place less than ten minutes from where I was sitting in Bray, County Wicklow. She was American, I am English. She was 26, I was 23. We were both foreigners around the same age. I felt an immediate connection with her.

What on earth had happened?

It was cold that March, it has been a grim grey winter and by mid-afternoon the days were starting to draw in. I was glued to the news to see how the investigation was progressing.  The search was exhaustive including a hand search through hundreds of acres of woodland, particularly in Crone wood, three miles south of Enniskerry.

A couple of weeks after the televised, print and radio appeals began, a doorman at Johnnie Fox’s pub, 8km from Enniskerry, reported seeing Annie on the night she disappeared – she appeared to be scanning the room as if she was looking for someone. The doorman stopped her to tell her there was a cover charge in this part of the bar. A man in his twenties wearing a waxed jacket, who was standing behind her in the queue, paid the charge for both of them. Johnny Fox’s was packed that night, a company party was taking place (which a friend of my husband’s was attending). Annie was a tall girl – 5ft 8 – and with her striking looks and American accent I always thought she would have stood out, but from the reports at the time, the two doormen appear to be the only people who remember seeing her. Was she intending on meeting someone there?

Originally from Long Island, New York,  Annie had travelled back and forth to Ireland since 1987, finally moving here in January 1993 to study at St. Patrick’s Training College in Drumcondra. Her flatmates Jill last saw her sitting knitting on her bed before she left for work.

Later that morning Annie was captured on CCTV at the AIB in Sandymount, she did some shopping in Quinnsworth (her receipt was issued at 11.02am) and used the phone box outside the bank. She called her friend Anne to see if she’d like to go for a walk in the mountains. It’s a four minute walk to Annie’s apartment from the Bank, did she go straight home, or did she go somewhere else first and meet someone, or call them, on the way?  It’s thought she left her apartment again around 2.30 or 3pm – what was she doing in that time?  She left her shopping in the supermarket bags on the table, not unpacking, as if perhaps, she was in a hurry.

It was pretty cold and damp that March, although 25th and 26th were dry and bright. I always wondered why Annie had taken two buses to get to Enniskerry when she had the whole of Sandymount strand to walk, so much closer by. I felt she must have a reason for going there.  If walking was her plan, by the time she got to the village and was seen visiting the post office, the best of the day would have been over. The clocks went forward  two days later on Sunday 28th March,, sunset on 26th was at 6.48pm.

I’ve always felt that Annie was meeting someone that day. There is time apparently unaccounted for in her morning and three to four hours between her arriving in the village and being seen in Johnny Fox’s remain unaccounted for. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would walk that road up to Johnny Fox’s in the winter at the end of the day, so I’ve always wondered if she met someone in the village, perhaps went for a drive in the mountains and then stopped in Johnny Fox’s on the way back down.  It’s pure speculation and could be my writer’s mind working overtime, but I know if I was going to catch two buses anywhere, there would need to be a good reason. And walking around a village on my own in the dark in March wouldn’t have been enough.

I had Annie’s story at the back of my mind as I was plotting In Deep Water – as a writer you hear stories that you can’t forget, stories that nudge at you. Part of In Deep Water is set in Enniskerry and the story involves an American student going missing. Set in 2016 though, Detective Garda Cat Connolly has a huge range of resources available to her that weren’t available to the Gardai in 1993, and she uncovers information that leads her into the Dublin underworld of organised crime. Did Annie meet a career criminal who told her too much and had to murder her to protect himself? One theory is that she met a member of the IRA who was lying low, but who revealed too much trying to impress her.

There may never be answers to what happened to Annie, but  I sincerely hope there will be one day. And I hope that her story, like the stories of all the missing women, are kept alive so that perhaps someone will remember something that will make a difference. And that one day, their families may have the resolution that’s available to us in fiction, but tragically can prove more elusive in real life.


In Deep Water Out Now…

I’m delighted to say that book two in the Cat Connolly series was released in Ireland in April 2017, and will be coming to the UK in February 2018!

So what’s it about?

Here’s the blurb!

For fans of TENNISON and MISSING PRESUMED, comes the gripping follow-up to the number 1 bestseller, LITTLE BONES.

Good intentions can be deadly . . .

Cat Connolly is back at work after the explosion that left her on life support. Struggling to adjust to the physical and mental scars, her workload once again becomes personal when her best friend Sarah Jane Hansen, daughter of a Pulitzer-winning American war correspondent, goes missing.

Sarah Jane is a journalism student who was allegedly working on a story that even her father thought was too dangerous.

With Sarah Jane’s father uncontactable, Cat struggles to find a connection between Sarah Jane’s work and her disappearance. But Sarah Jane is not the only one in deep water when Cat comes face to face with a professional killer . . .

In the world of missing persons every second counts, but with the clock ticking, can Cathy find Sarah Jane before it’s too late?

Pre-order on Amazon here!