From waiting tables to charging up the bestseller list, meet debut author and mother-of-two Cat Hogan who, in 2015, traded her apron in for a pen.
“The Irish bestseller list, I hit the list one week after my launch. Jessie Burton, who wrote The Miniaturist, she sold one more book than me that week — she’s huge, it was surreal,” Hogan told the Irish Examiner.
Her debut novel, They All Fall Down, has just been published to rave reviews, from readers and acclaimed authors such as Eoin Colfer and Paul O’Brien, but a career in writing was not always on the cards for Hogan.
“Paul was launching his third book in October 2014, and I was working in a hotel but really wanted to be there. I told my boss: ‘You can give me a split shift or I’ll quit.’ I had started to take the idea of writing seriously and I was not missing this, all the Wexford writers were going to be there, Billy Roche, Paul O’Brien and Eoin Colfer.
“My friend Sabia came with me and she just looked at me saying: ‘Are you all right?’ I had this epiphany. They were all talking about the passion they had for writing and weaving stories and I felt they were talking to me directly. I went back to work but I went for a coffee with a friend first and Paul happened to be there and I said to him: ‘There was no woman at that table, give me two years and I’ll be that at table.’ And he said: ‘I’ll keep you a seat.’ Paul has been unwavering in his support ever since,” explains Hogan.
She then sat down with her partner and told him she was going to leave work to write her book. The couple “got Santa out of the way” and Cat began putting pen to paper in January 2015. She minded her boys Joey, 11, and Arthur, 3, during the day and wrote at the kitchen table at night.
“When I finished it in June, I went down to the local stationary shop to buy ink. I went home and printed out the manuscript and the two boys just danced around the kitchen to the chug-chug of the printer. While it was still warm I just looked at it, I’d done what I said I’d do. It’s all those magical moments that matter,” said Cat.
She sent her novel out that same month and signed with literary agent Tracey Brennan in August. By November she had signed a two-book deal with Poolbeg.
Her novel is described as a psychological thriller and has had readers staying up half the night to finish it.
Its main character, Jen Harper, is getting used to life on the outskirts of a sleepy fishing village with her son. She meets two men, Andy and Scott, and encounters a dark secret that threatens them all. The plot centres on Jen’s navigation over this messy terrain.
“It was rattling around in my head, I thought I’d be the next Marian Keyes, looking at these dark situations through humour then this Scott character came to me, and he was quite sinister,” says Hogan.
While this book makes its way up through the charts, Hogan is working away on her second novel due for submission in September and to be published in 2017.
“When you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing all these little things keep popping up, these synchronicities,” she said.
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