Wednesday 13 December 2017

‘Writing was a therapy for me when my husband died suddenly’ - best-selling Irish author you have probably never heard of

Mullingar author Patricia Gibney has enjoyed international success with her e-book series

Author Patricia Gibney, Mullingar
Author Patricia Gibney, Mullingar
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Patricia Gibney (55) has hit the best-seller lists in the US, UK and Canada but many people may be unfamiliar with her work.

The former Westmeath County Council worker signed a digital book deal for her crime series featuring detective Lottie Parker in 2016 and has already released two books.

Though she has sold almost half a million copies of her books online, her mostly online success means she is taking a non-traditional route.

Patricia started writing as a form of therapy when her husband Aidan (49) died unexpectedly in 2009, three months after being diagnosed with cancer.

Author Patricia Gibney pictured with her husband Aidan and their three children, Aisling, Orla and Cathal, in 2009
Author Patricia Gibney pictured with her husband Aidan and their three children, Aisling, Orla and Cathal, in 2009

“I left work because my health was so bad and the writing evolved as a consequence of the situation in which I found myself,” she told Independent.ie

“It took a year to find my way out of a very dark place I was in and I found it through creativity,” she said.

“My mental health was so bad that there was a year when I couldn’t do what I had done all of my life. I went through a year when I couldn’t even open my post.”

Her husband was an army sergeant and the pair had three children together, Aisling, Orla and Cathal.

Losing him was a “major, major trauma”.

“It’s kind of a cliché but writing was a form of therapy for me,” she said.

Author Patricia Gibney, Mullingar
Author Patricia Gibney, Mullingar

Her publishing success came quickly once she had made the decision to try and publish the book or, in her words, throw it in the bin.

“I knew I had to do something with it,” she said.

She was picked up by agent Ger Nichol, the first agent she sent the book too, who sent it out to a number of publishers.

After an initial wave of rejections Bookouture, a London based digital publisher, signed her up for a series.

By now she was already working on book two.

The first book in the series - The Missing Ones – was published on March 16 and made it to prestigious best-seller lists such as the Wall Street Journal list in the US.

Her second instalment – The Stolen Girls – was released on July 6.

Both have been selling very well and it has been a “surreal experience” Patricia said.

With the books selling primarily as digital books and audio books there are print on demand books available and it is for sale in local bookshops in her native Mullingar.

She said she wasn’t nervous about opting for a digital publisher because she herself reads on Kindle.

“It was an obvious choice because that’s what I read,” she said.

But as for whether it is enough to make a living from? Ask her in a few months she jokes as she did not receive an advance and gets paid quarterly.

But for now the thrill of having her work being so well received is sustaining her.

In the years since she lost her husband she has welcomed two grandchildren into the family and has been travelling to festivals and writers events as part of her burgeoning career.

“It’s like everything has flipped on its head and everything is starting to look good,” she said.

“You can feel the negative feelings starting to dissipate

“I always feel like Aidan is with me and helping me,” she added.

 “He always encouraged me but I was always too busy before.”

The books are available on Amazon.co.uk

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