Good evening everyone I’m excited to be on the blog tour for The Liars Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard today and to have a great guest post to share. Apologies for the late post I e caught the kids sickness bug so I’ve been a little poorly today
The Liars Girl is available in all formats now and you can purchase your copy using the link below.
Before I share my guest post with you here is a little bit about the book.
Her first love confessed to five murders. But the truth was so much worse.
Dublin’s notorious Canal Killer, Will Hurley, is ten years into his life sentence when the body of a young woman is fished out of the Grand Canal. Though detectives suspect they are dealing with a copycat, they turn to Will for help. He claims he has the information the police need, but will only give it to one person – the girl he was dating when he committed his horrific crimes.
Alison Smith has spent the last decade abroad, putting her shattered life in Ireland far behind her. But when she gets a request from Dublin imploring her to help prevent another senseless murder, she is pulled back to face the past – and the man – she’s worked so hard to forget.
Use What You Know
‘Write what you know’ is a piece of writing advice that’s been around forever. I’d like to amend it slightly, if I may, to ‘use what you know’. When it came to writing my second thriller, The Liar’s Girl, I took as much as I could from my real life and repurposed it on the pages. I started, in the prologue, with the trauma that was my Search For Somewhere To Live in Dublin: Summer 2014.
At the start of that year, I had applied to study English as a mature student in Trinity College Dublin and, one day in May, I found out I’d got in. The balloon of my joy was quickly and unceremoniously popped by the task that I now realised was facing me: finding somewhere to live in Dublin, the ninth most expensive city in which to rent an apartment in the world (as of May 2018, the internet tells me).
After a few weeks fruitless searching from my desk in Cork, I decided to spend a day in Dublin, searching in person. Pickings were slim. The first place we looked at felt like where dreams go to die, and the shower was so tiny that you’d have had to do one limb at a time. It was the same price as my Cork apartment had been – and that had been about four times the size, and brand new. Reality was hitting me. Still, I held onto my optimism and headed to the only other viable option for a viewing that day. A studio apartment that was €50 under budget in Rathmines, close to the city centre and so perfect from getting to and from college. The tiny – suspiciously tiny, in hindsight – photo on the listing showed a bright, spacious living room/kitchen with a bed(room) on a mezzanine level.
I thought, how cute and quirky.
I should’ve been thinking, Gardaí discover more skeletal remains at ‘House of Horrors’.
My mother was with me. We spoke on the phone to the landlord, who was in another part of the country. He said his caretaker, who we’ll call Joe, would show us around the apartment.
At the address stood a red-brick, Victorian terrace house on a street of same. The little garden in front was a bit shabby-looking but besides that, it was quite the impressive pile. A man was working outside, sweating profusely through the pale grey material of his shirt. The shirt had stains on it that suggested he had sweated through it many times before. When he turned to us, I saw that his lips were so dry and cracked, they were bleeding. When he spoke he mumbled, mostly incoherently; I could barely understand what he was saying.
This was Joe.
He took us into the house and walked us up and down the stairs a bit, eventually showing us into one of the units inside. It was immediately clear that the ‘unit’ was actually a bedroom originally, that an en-suite and a kitchenette had been squeezed into. It was tiny, narrow and filled with furniture. You could reach the buttons on the microwave while you were lying in the bed.
‘Handy,’ my mother commented.
I threw her a look. I could not fit my whole world into one room even if it meant I could reheat pizza without getting out of bed. But… Maybe this was as good as it got for the budget I could afford. At least it was clean, and in good condition, and in a good location…
‘Oh,’ Joe said. ‘Sorry! This is the wrong one.’
He led us back down the stairs… and out the door, down the garden path, across the road and into a crime scene—I mean, a different house.
The first word that came to mind when we stepped through the door was dirty. Everything was. The carpet wasn’t laid but, instead, ragged sections of it had simply been placed on the floor. Around the edges, the bare floorboards were stained and dusty and both they and the carpet (bits) were in desperate need of a good hoovering.
My mother and I exchanged a glance.
Joe led us upstairs. It was a similar set-up to the first house, but more, ahem, units had been packed in here. Their doors weren’t proper doors, but thin, unpainted MDF. You wouldn’t need keys to get in here, a good shove of an elbow would do the job. Moreover, the units were packed in so tightly that the door Joe was opening for us now was only a foot, at most a foot and a half, away from the ‘unit’ opposite. My neighbour and I would not be able to enter or leave our homes at the same time – they’re just wasn’t room.
Once inside, I recognised the space from the picture online. But it was dim, grim and looked like an episode of Hoarders. The very beginning of the episode. There was stuff everywhere. And then, as we advanced into it, we realised there was someone here too – a groaning someone, just now waking up in his mezzanine bed and saying, ‘Who’s there?’
Joe hurried us back out into the hall – one at a time, because of the aforementioned proportions.
After a tour of the back garden, where various appliances had been left to rust, and the accidental inhaling of several pungent and/or suspicious smells, we reconvened in the hallway. My mother was horrified that instead of post-boxes, there were just open cubbyholes, but soon that was the least it. As we said our goodbyes, the resident of Apartment no. 1 emerged – half-dressed and sporting a frankly heinous case of pink eye.
‘Someday,’ I whispered to my mother, ‘we’ll see this place again – on the news.’
You can see it, and the other gems I viewed on my traumatic property search, in the pages of The Liar’s Girl. Which I wrote here at this desk, in my lovely apartment in Dublin which I’ve happily lived in for the past four years. I found it in the end. The rest, it turns out, was research.
@cathryanhoward on Twitter and Instagram
About The Author:
CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1982. Her debut thriller, DISTRESS SIGNALS, was an Irish Times and USA Today bestseller, and was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey/New Blood Dagger 2017. Before writing full-time, she was a campsite courier in France, a travel administrator in the Netherlands and a front desk agent at a hotel in Walt Disney World, Florida. She is currently studying English at Trinity College Dublin and wants to be a NASA astronaut when she grows up. Her second thriller, THE LIAR’S GIRL, will be published in March 2018.