Louise Phillips: a flash interview

Louise Phillips

1. Your new thriller The Hiding Game is your fifth novel. Did you attend writing courses
before your first book was published and if so what do you think you learned from them?

The first ever creative writing course I attended was with poet and short story writer, Eileen Casey. I hadn’t written for over twenty years, but once I stepped back into this glorious world of writing, I asked myself immediately why I ever let it go. I attended quite a few writing courses prior to the publication of my first novel, and I learned something unique in every one of them. I don’t think a writer ever stops learning, which is why I am such an advocate of writing courses, not only because they expand your knowledge, but you also get to meet other like-minded individuals, fellow writers, passionate about their craft.

2. Crime Fiction clearly involves a lot of research. Could you tell us about some of the
challenges you've faced getting facts right?

As a writer of crime fiction, I often find myself in unique situations because of research,
whether it’s chatting with an off-duty hostage negotiator, a psychologist, or eavesdropping on suspicious characters in fast food restaurants. The first challenge is, how do you get the information you need to give your story the authenticity it deserves. I tend to research a lot online before I ever set up any face-to- face meetings. There is no point asking a professional, whether it’s a detective or a hypnotist, a question you can answer yourself. Use your time with them wisely and prepare an outline of the areas you want to cover during your meeting. Also, be careful not to lose yourself too much in research to the detriment of writing that story. Some people think you should research before you write, others say, do it after you have completed the first draft. I tend to do a bit of both. I research enough to get me into the story, and then I continue the research while writing, depending where the story takes me. I enjoy this aspect of writing, and I particularly love how research can open your mind to so many ideas, inspiring story twists, fresh plot points, and so much more.

3. I know that many of your students have secured publishing deals. That must be very
gratifying?

My writing courses are very focused, and for me, they are a little bit like writing a good
novel, everything included in the course has to have earned its place. Since I started giving writing courses a few years back, the number of my students who have gone on to secure publishing deals is well into double figures, including International Bestsellers Jax Miller and Patricia Gibney. Put simply, I love working with people who are passionate about writing, whether it is their first step into writing, or they are adding a fresh element of knowledge to their craft. If you attend any of my courses, my role as the facilitator is to help you become the best writer you can be. Whenever I hear of one of my students securing a publishing deal, it’s both gratifying and humbling to know I have helped someone, in whatever small way, to achieve their dream.

Louise is facilitating our Crime Fiction workshop on Sunday 29th September in St Cronan’s BNS 10.00-12.00. Book your place by emailing blfwkshops@gmail.com €10.

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