Monday 25 March 2019

Malahide author pens novel

Malahide author Louise Hall
Malahide author Louise Hall
Pilgrim, by Louise Hall

Ken Phelan

Malahide author Louise Hall has just released her new novel, Pilgrim, a story of love, loss, grief and hope, set between recession-hit Ireland and Medjugorje in the 1980s.

'Pilgrim' tells the story of a father and daughter who struggle to come to terms with their wife's and mother's death, particularly the father, who, lost to grief and despair, can't seem to come to terms with his loss.

Concerned for the father, an aunt suggests a trip to Medjugorje in an effort to bring him back from the brink, while Jen, his daughter, fears she'll lose her one surviving parent.

Louise revisited Medjugorje in 2011 for the 30th anniversary of the apparition; she had already written two non-fiction books on the town, and following her visit, set to work with writing Pilgrim, her first novel.

Speaking to The Fingal Independent, Louise explains the inspiration for the book: 'After going back to Medjugorje in 2011, I set about writing Pilgrim, which is very loosely based on the early days of the apparition, back in the early '80s. I had read that one of the visionaries, who were children ranging from the age of about 10 to 16, had lost their mother the year before.'

She added: 'I took my own imagination and created a 14 year old Irish girl, who lost her mother very tragically, and her father was unable to cope. Her aunt convinces them to go on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, and the story goes on then to interweaving stories, bringing in different themes about addiction, faith, grief, friendship, and hope.'

Louise's sister, who suffered from Down's Syndrome, died suddenly in 2008, and Louise decided she wanted to go back to Medjugorje in 2011.

The Sunday Independent had asked her to write a story on her trip there, so it was the perfect opportunity to visit again.

Speaking of her own faith, and how it influenced the writing process for the novel, Louise said: 'I do believe in god, I do have faith and it helps when writing something like this. I would never call myself a religious person, but I do have my faith.

'I have three children, so really, I write when I can. I'm not a full-time writer, so really it's a case of balancing everything so I get a chance to sit down and write. I do want to write more fiction, maybe revisiting some of the work I've done, or writing something new.'

So what is it that draws Louise to writing? She explained: 'I enjoy the solitude of writing, and it's really a form of escapism for me. I just like losing myself in the whole process. After having 'Pilgrim' published, I'd like to settle down and begin on something new again.'

Pilgrim was launched in Dubray Books on Grafton St last week, and is available now to order online, and in all good book stores and makes for a fascinating and compelling read.

Fingal Independent