The Hiding Game. A feature Interview with Louise Phillips

Thanks to Net Galley and HACHETTE BOOKS I was lucky enough to receive an ARC copy of THE HIDING GAME, the latest novel from Louise Phillips. The novel, published today, is a gripping courtroom drama and you can read my recommendation HERE.

What struck me while reading this latest thriller are the themes of grief and mother/child relationships that feature strongly in The HIDING GAME, so I asked Louise to expand on her inspiration for the story.

Louise: I was four years old when my infant sister died. A year later, my brother was still born. Both tragedies deeply affected our family. For years my mother kept the unworn baby clothes of my sister and brother in a large cardboard box on the top of a wardrobe, unable to let them go. In 1997, as a young mother, I watched the televised trial from Boston of Louise Woodward, a nineteen-year-old nanny accused of killing the infant in her care. The story never quite left me. Several years later my mother died, and I understood true heart break for the first time. Afterwards I began to reflect on my mother’s life, especially the loss of my infant sister to a cot death, and later, my brother. ‘The Hiding Game’ is not autobiographical, or based on my mother’s life, but within this fictional story I hope a certain commonality of human experience is explored, sometimes within the context of loss, trauma, secrets and lies, and on other occasions, injustice, and murder.

And journeying through the research while holding the emotional anchor of her fictional story?

Louise: In 2016, the motivation to write this novel took me on a self-funded research trip to Boston Massachusetts, where I met with detectives from the Major Crime Unit in Cambridge, forensic pathologists specialising in the area of paediatric neurology, and members of the judicial system. Later, I spent time in Cohasset, a small town on the South Shore. I wanted to place my characters in a fictional world which was both small and powerful in equal measure, where the minuteness of small-town life places everyone under a microscope, especially those considered to be outcasts, or less worthy. The emotional anchor for this story is a simple one. The death of an infant changes everything, and the death of a mother, the break in the mother-child bond, changes everything too.

THE HIDING GAME will be officially launched by Colm Hayes of Radio Nova, and takes place on Tuesday, 6:30pm, September 10th at the Gutter Book Shop, Cow’s Lane, Temple Bar, Dublin 8.

You’re still here, Da, and I see you.

My Da turned 86 last week. His younger self would not appreciate his image being posted here. His younger self was a force to be reckoned with. Fiercely independent, intelligent, sometimes belligerent. We didn’t always get along. We didn’t always see eye to eye. That was his other self. The product of his own pain. That was my other self. The product of my own pain.

This is now. His basic needs are taken care of. He is safe. He is minded. But it’s not him. It’s difficult to visit. It’s difficult to see. But ‘seeing’ him is something I think about a lot these days.

Alzheimer’s has taken his essence, his opinions. His fiercely coveted freewill. His dignity. His independence. His arguments. His past. His now. His future. A fragile man, moving in the shadow of his former life. Shuffling in slippers, wearing clothes he can no longer choose for himself. Eating food he can no longer choose for himself. Taking medication doled out from prescriptions that he never sees. Pacing slower each time. Holding up the walls. Staring out from a life made small by a barbaric disease.

Memories, mind and spirit, locked behind an expression that does not recognise. That cannot read. That cannot concentrate. No reminiscence, no sharing, no conversation. All the things he cannot say. Just the fading slowly – a life in twilight, every sunset erasing another facet of who he once was. The tenement child. The Liberties boy. The eldest. The christian brothers student. The reader. The self-educator. The son. The husband. The father. The brother. The boxer. The drinker. The quick-tempered. The friend. The Grandfather. The Great-grandfather. The golfer. The printer. The father of the chapel. The man who worked for the newspaper. The Frank Sinatra fan. The man who worked part-time until he was in his 70’s. The daily suit and tie. The all his life clean-shaven and shoes polished. All of it, lost. No longer ‘known’. No longer ‘seen’.

But you’re still here, Da. And I see you.

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Caroline is a writer and filmmaker from Dublin, Ireland, and author of the novel LADY BETH (Eric Hoffer Award Winner 2019 and Winner of the Carousel Aware Prize BEST NOVEL 2017). Writer and Director of the short film FRAMED (2018), she has also written and co-produced ADAM (2013) and the auto-biographical IN RIBBONS (2015) which has screened at festivals worldwide. Watch IN RIBBONS HERE

 

The Librarian’s Cellar Book of The Week: The Hiding Game by Louise Phillips

Heather Baxter is an attorney who by day, defends a young girl accused of killing an infant boy in her charge, and by night, is tormented as she tries to make sense of her mother’s unsolved murder, many years earlier. Through her journey of discovery, Heather uncovers several links between the two cases, often in terrible danger as she moves ever closer to a cruel and ruthless killer. A thoroughly enjoyable thriller combining exciting courtroom drama with unsettling secrets, mystery and intrigue!

The HIDING GAME is released on September 5th. Thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Books Ireland for the opportunity to read this ARC.

The Librarian’s Cellar: Book of The Week – All That Glitters by Thomas Maier

‘ALL THAT GLITTERS Anna Wintour, Tina Brown, and the Rivalry Inside America’s Richest Media Empire’, by Thomas Maier, is an appropriate title for quite a complex book that may prove to be a useful addition to the study of American media, politics and pop culture. The author delves into the Condé Nast empire run by S. I. Newhouse Jr. and creative guru and influencer Alex Liberman. Perhaps the most interesting element of the book is how it examines the contribution of Anna Wintour and Tina Brown, both British women who worked their way to the top of this male-dominated American industry, and how they challenged the rules set down by that male establishment. It is also a sobering study of the power of magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair before the onset of social media. I received this ARC copy from Net Galley with thanks also to Skyhorse Publishing. Publication Date September 2019

The Librarian’s Cellar Book of The Week: THIRTEEN by Steve Cavanagh

If you like courtroom dramas, you will enjoy THIRTEEN.

 

“It’s the murder trial of the century. And Joshua Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house – and to be sure the wrong man goes down for the crime. Because this time, the killer isn’t on trial. He’s on the jury. But there’s someone on his tail. Former-conman-turned-criminal-defense-attorney Eddie Flynn doesn’t believe that his movie-star client killed two people. He suspects that the real killer is closer than they think – but who would guess just how close?” 

 

The author has created a clever premise that zips along with a well-crafted plot. Take a flawed hero, a suitably manipulative villain. Add some nicely paced curveballs, a touch of Hollywood, place the killer on the jury and presto – a fun read with twisty bits galore!

 

Thirteen | Steve Cavanagh | Orion | 2018

LADY BETH at WOODBINE BOOKS

It was lovely to visit WOODBINE BOOKS this week and I am particularly proud to see LADY BETH in some fabulous company!

A cosy haven for booklovers, with friendly staff and a welcoming atmosphere, Woodbine Books is situated in the heart of the picturesque town of Kilcullen in County Kildare. Winner of the Ireland Independent Bookshop of the Year 2018, the shop and cafe is a firm favourite amongst the local community and far beyond.

Stocking an eclectic selection of books including bestsellers, school books and children’s material, the shop is a huge supporter of local authors and regularly hosts book launches, book clubs and events. Well worth a visit and open Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am until 6:00pm: Lower Main Street, Kilcullen, County Kildare | 045 482 777 |

Woodbine Books featured on RTE


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Caroline E Farrell is a writer and filmmaker from Dublin, and author of the independently published novel, LADY BETH, winner of an Eric Hoffer Award 2019 (Mystery/Thriller Category) and Best Novel at The Carousel Aware Prize Awards 2017. Writer and Director of the short film FRAMED [2018] currently screening at festivals worldwide, Caroline has also written several award-winning feature length and short screenplays including ADAM [2013] and IN RIBBONS [2015].

 

 

LADY BETH at the WINDING STAIR

There is something so special about visiting a city and discovering its most treasured bookshops. Dublin is no exception and can brag confidently on a host of the most wonderful, quirky labyrinths of book joy for the eager reader to browse in. One such treasure is The Winding Stair on Ormond Quay, which overlooks the River Liffey and faces out towards our iconic Ha’penny Bridge.


One of our oldest surviving independent bookshops, it is filled with timeless charm, atmosphere and character. A relaxed and friendly oasis in the centre of a city getting on with the business of being busy. Whether you’re looking for new, unusual or second-hand, their range of collections are extensive, with lovely staff always on hand for recommendations from areas of fiction, poetry, drama, current affairs, gardening, cookery, art and design, humour, non-fiction, children’s, literary magazines, cards, notebooks and tote bags.

They are also great supporters of Irish writers, for which I am so grateful! Born and bred in Dublin, when I was a kid in the 70’s, on a Saturday, I would often hop on a bus into town, just to pass the time and usually with nothing in my pocket but the bus fare back home. My bus stopped along the quays, just beyond the Winding Stairs and I would peek in through the window and wonder at the treasures that waited within, but never dared step inside.

My love for reading was in my blood even then, but confidence wasn’t!! Fast forward all these years later and there are scenes from my novel, LADY BETH, that are set right there, in my beloved city, along those quay walls. Never in my dreams could I have imagined that one day, my book would sit on a shelf in that beautiful setting! Something that fills me with pride, I don’t mind saying!


So do pop in my friends, have a browse, support a wonderful, independent bookshop, and if you are so inclined, you might just pick up a copy of LADY BETH!!

The Winding Stair Bookshop | 40 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1. Open: Mon: 10am-6pm | Tue-Thu: 10am-7pm | Fri: 10am-6pm | Sat: 10am-7pm | Sun: 12pm-6pm. Telephone: +353 1 872 6576 | Email: bookshop@winding-stair.com

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Caroline E Farrell is a writer and filmmaker from Dublin, and author of the independently published novel, LADY BETH, winner of an Eric Hoffer
Award 2019 (Mystery/Thriller Category) and Best Novel at The Carousel Aware Prize Awards 2017. Writer and Director of the short film FRAMED [2018] currently screening at festivals worldwide, Caroline has also written several award-winning feature length and short screenplays including ADAM [2013] and IN RIBBONS [2015].