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Crime. Crime Writers. Crime Writing

Who is Sam Blake?

Sam BlakeSam Blake 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.

Sam’s debut novel The Dressmaker is coming Spring 2016 from Bonnier’s new Twenty7 imprint. The three-book deal for UK and Commonwealth rights was agreed between publisher Joel Richardson and WME London’s Simon Trewin.

The first title in the trilogy is The Dressmaker, which 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.

Richardson said: “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. The Dressmaker 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.”

Sam says: “I’m fascinated by what makes people tick, by how they interact and react, and by the thin, sometimes blurred line between good and evil. What makes someone kill? Is it nature or nurture, passion, anger – or revenge?

Writing crime fiction is like creating a crossword puzzle. Characters intersect, their actions causing events that become as entangled as the black and white squares on the page. An idea starts with a headline, or an overheard snatch of conversation, an ‘ooh, now that’s interesting’ moment, and a lightbulb goes on in your head. Joining the lightbulb moments together, giving the characters time to reveal themselves and their part in the drama is the most exciting part of the process. Like looking at the empty squares in the crossword and slowly filling  in the blanks.

Why crime? Perhaps because I’m naturally curious, perhaps because I’m interested more by what is going on inside someone’s head than by their outward appearence, perhaps because I’m married to a ex-cop….recently retired from An Garda Siochana.

Are criminals any different from you and me? Every day ordinary citizens break the law – use their mobile phone in the car, drives that little bit too fast to get to a meeting – are they criminals? Could they go one step further?

I think so. I think we all have a tipping point.

What would make you kill….?”

Sam Blake is the pen name of Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin. Vanessa is the Chair of Irish PEN and the founder of The Inkwell Group and the national writing resources website www.writing.ie.

Follow Sam Blake on Twitter, @writersamblake; follow Vanessa @inkwellHQ; and follow writing.ie @writing_ie