Today I am delighted to introduce you to Ireland’s newest crime writer, Bríd Wade. Watchers, the first in a series of Dublin based crime novels, was released in 2013. Sleeping Dogs, the sequel, was released in June, 2014. Here is a little background into Bríd’s inspiration for these Irish thrillers.
About Bríd (pronounced like Breed):
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Bríd’s family hails from the inner city, making her a true blue ‘Dub’. One of four sisters, she was educated by the Holy Faith Nuns in Larkhill, a school in the suburb of Whitehall. Always drawn to the arts, she studied piano at the Municipal School of Music in Dublin. Later she joined a band where she played the electronic organ and sang harmony with her sister. They were known as The Honeybees.
At nineteen, she met her future husband and travelled to Manchester, UK, for a year before returning to Ireland where they married and she settled down to become a stay-at-home mum to their three children. At that time Bríd began to paint and studied with Liam Belton, RHA, a renowned Irish artist. In 1984 she became Secretary of The North Dublin Craftworkers’ Association, on whose behalf she ran the annual Christmas Craft Gift Fair in the city centre. This was the path to a new career within the exhibition industry which lasted until the Millennium.
In 2001, seeking a change of environment, Bríd moved to Kilkenny City and began to write. An avid armchair detective, she chose her favourite genre; crime fiction. Her aim was to create a character in a series of mystery stories based in modern Ireland. Matt Costello is that character. In 2006, she relocated to Inistioge, a picturesque village outside Kilkenny, where she continues to write and paint.
And now over to Bríd……
Bríd’s Thoughts On ‘The Arts’:
Sometimes people scoff when ‘the arts’ come up in conversation; as if it’s a club to which only the privileged have access. Certainly, there are those who would perpetuate that view, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Each of us is involved deeply with the arts in one form or another. Whether through music, drama, literature or the visual arts, they form a major part of all of our lives. To some they are extras; bonuses to add to busy lives, while to others, like me, they are a means of expression I couldn’t live without.
Over the years I have been involved with drama, music, painting and, now, writing. At the age of fourteen I won a medal for the best actress at the Schools Drama Festival at the Gate Theatre, Dublin. It was the year my mother died. My father was so emotional and so, so proud – and convinced I was headed for the Abbey Theatre.
Bríd’s artwork can be viewed on the Fine Art America website and on an Irish site called The Street Gallery.
On Reading and Writing:
It might come as a surprise that I’m not a huge reader. Oh, yes! I’ve read many, many books in my lifetime, but now… Books have taken on a different aspect. It’s a bit like working behind the scenes in movie land, or television. You can’t help viewing the end product using ‘inside knowledge’.
You recognize the means – or tools of the trade – used to achieve the aim. For me, reading a book now is a far cry from when I sat on the floor in front of a blazing fire at the age of eleven and read my first novel – my sister’s Christmas gift to me, Huckleberry Finn. It was a magical journey into a whole new world and I loved every minute of it – just for the story; oblivious to the craftsmanship involved in creating it. Now, aware of how it all works, a book can be either a master class in writing from some great author or something I will abandon after the first few pages.
I’m an impatient personality, which may explain the way I write. Even when I’m actually constructing the story, if it takes too long to get to where I want to go, I’ll gasp with irritation and chop it back until only the ‘bones’ remain. But then, detective crime fiction isn’t known for long prosy narrative. So, setting the scene is as descriptive as it needs to be.
Generally, I write by the seat of my pants. I don’t have a plan. What I do have is an idea and I build up characters around it. It may sound difficult but everybody does it. Haven’t you ever heard half a story and put the rest of it together yourself? Chances are your conclusion was way off the mark (and there’s a moral there) – but you created a whole story from a few facts. That’s exactly what I do.
Introducing The Matt Costello Mystery Series:
Someone once called me a prude because of my views on sex. To me, sex is the physical expression of love between two people. It’s personal and private – not open to exploitation to pad a story. I view violence and foul language the same way. I can swear with the best, but it will be in private, among those who understand me, and violence is not acceptable in any form. So, I hear you ask, how can I write crime stories without sex, drugs, violence and bad language? Therein lies the reason behind the Matt Costello Mystery Series.
In recent years we seem to be drowning in crime fiction drawn from Ireland’s seedy underbelly – suggesting that drugs are a way of life, as is violence and verbal abuse. That’s not my Ireland – never was. I grew up in a Corporation housing estate where there were diverse characters, including some bad ones, but, generally, the people were decent, honest, hardworking folk trying to do the best for their families. From my experience, things today remain the same.
I want to portray that Ireland. Yes, we have crime – awful, brain-numbing events sometimes, but it’s not our way of life. Yes, I do use the odd outburst, but that is part of our culture. We have so many religious pleas here in difficult situations, like, ‘Oh, dear God!’, or ‘Sweet Jesus!’, or just plain ‘God!’ Sometimes they’ll be accompanied by making the sign of the cross on our chests – and sometimes not – and they are said to register a grave or shocking situation, and to acknowledge a higher power.
My hero, Matt Costello, is a gorgeous Irishman. He’s a clean-cut, clever, ex-Garda Detective turned PI. His offices are in Fairview, Dublin, overlooking the park. He’s strong, yet gentle, with considerable personal charm and a profound sense of fair play. Like any mature adult, he has scars and sometimes he doesn’t have all the answers – but he’s open minded and willing to learn.
His friend and business colleague, Dennis Hegarty, is a solicitor with a practice in the city centre. With a razor sharp mind, Dennis keeps an eye on the pitfalls surrounding Matt in his investigations – the biggest one Matt’s empathetic and tenacious nature, which can lead him into trouble.
The character of Matt Costello is largely based on two men I’ve had the good fortune to know over the years. I’ve taken traits from both of them and melded them into one. As a result, I have a very close and affectionate relationship with Matt. He’s almost real to me.
Watchers is the first in the series. Set between Dublin and Kilkenny, where I now live, Matt is on the hunt for a serial killer. In Kilkenny, where the remains have been found on a large private estate, he discovers that the land holds more than one secret. Before he’s finished, Matt will uncover them and forever alter the lives of a few people.
For further updates on Bríd’s writing, life and artwork, you can follow her on Facebook.
A big thank you to Bríd for today’s guest post and for introducing us to her detective hero, Matt Costello. Wishing Bríd every success with her writing and beautiful artwork.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom