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Monday 17 June 2019

Irish writer wins book deal for novel inspired by true story of baby mix-up

Ann O’Loughlin at the launch of her latest novel. Photo: Conor Ó Mearain
Ann O’Loughlin at the launch of her latest novel. Photo: Conor Ó Mearain

Alan O'Keeffe

A French court case about two children swapped at birth inspired Irish journalist Ann O'Loughlin to write her fourth novel, My Mother's Daughter.

Details of the real life dilemma confronting two sets of parents in France who unwittingly raised each other's child had gripped the attention of the public. O'Loughlin used the baby swap theme to weave stories of two families in Ireland and the US.

"I was intrigued by the situation as it was outlined in the French courts and I knew their predicament would provide inspiration for a novel," she said.

O'Loughlin is a bestselling novelist as well as an experienced full-time journalist. Her earlier novels have been translated into 10 languages.

"My Mother's Daughter asks the reader what would happen if the child you named, raised and loved turned out not to be your own. That a swap had happened. Would your loyalty be to the child that has your family name, or to the child who was robbed of it?" she asked.

She deals with issues of family ties and the forging of bonds of love.

How strongly does upbringing influence identity in the lives of two girls given to the wrong parents? Which is more powerful - nature or nurture?

My Mother's Daughter is the first O'Loughlin novel to be snapped up by major international publishing house Orion Books in a two-book deal. It was launched in Ireland and Australia last Thursday. Orion will launch the UK edition in May.

Her earlier novels were published by Scottish firm Black and White Publishing. The ebook versions of the novels had strong sales.

Her debut novel The Ballroom Cafe sold more than 400,000 in ebook sales.

The Judge's Wife and The Ludlow Ladies Society also sold strongly.

Speaking at the launch of My Mother's Daughter in Dubray Books on Grafton Street in Dublin, she said she was heartened when readers from around the globe contacted her to tell her they enjoyed her writing.

Recently, a woman in Australia wrote to say she had given up reading but The Ballroom Cafe helped her rediscover her joy in books.

The author's own life would make good material for a good novel. A native of Co Clare, she had a distinguished career as a security correspondent for the Irish Independent and is now a High Court reporter for the Irish Examiner.

She met her English-born husband John while on an extended holiday on the Trans-Siberian Railway, travelling from Paris to Hong Kong.

She is a passionate advocate of the importance of books in an increasingly digital age.

Sunday Independent

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