Entertainment Books

Monday 16 December 2019

Write side with Sinéad Crowley


Sinead Crowley. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Sinead Crowley. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Kim Bielenberg

Kim Bielenberg

Crime novelist and RTÉ broadcaster Sinéad Crowley on family noir and identifying with her detective character.

Have you ever come across material for a crime novel in RTÉ?

No, unfortunately not. I meet an awful lot of writers and artists in my job as Arts and Media Correspondent, which is handy.

Who encouraged you to write?

My mother was a great reader, and it was a big deal when I got my first library ticket. There are teachers in my mother's family, and books were everywhere. My mother encouraged me to send stories to the Evening Press and Ireland's Own.

How did you get into crime?

I always wanted to write novels, but I didn't think it would be lucrative. As a child, I always liked the Enid Blyton stories with a mystery, and I was reading Agatha Christie when I was 11.

Do you identify with Claire Boyle, the detective in your novels?

The idea of Claire being a detective with kids would be close to my heart. I wrote the first one while on maternity leave. She's strong-willed and hard-working, and she loves her kids. I didn't think I identified with her, but when a friend read my first one, she said: "She's you then, isn't she?"

Your books have been described as "family noir". What does that mean?

When I started writing, books like Gone Girl were very popular. It's the idea that the danger comes from within, rather than the traditional police procedurals, where it may be gangland or other circumstances.

Which books would you take to a desert island?

I really should read Bleak House by Charles Dickens. One of my favourite authors is Monica Dickens, great granddaughter of Charles Dickens. I loved her book Flowers on the Grass, which is a series of inter-linked short stories about the same person. I would also bring the Philip Pullman trilogy, His Dark Materials.

If you weren't a broadcaster or a writer what would you be?

A librarian.

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