Beginner’s Pluck: Helen Moorehouse

Helen has always liked the idea of writing, but nothing ever seemed to work. She studied journalism, and freelanced for a couple of years, before moving on to radio. She worked in Cork for a long time, on 96fm, and C103.

“I started writing when I was on maternity leave with my elder daughter. I began by writing stories for her. Then I started writing a novel, and just kept going. The story almost wrote itself.”

Who is Helen Moorhouse?

Date of birth: 1973. Place: Mountmellick in Co Laois.

Education: Brigidine Convent in Mountrath. College of Commerce in Rathmines.

Home: Drumcondra. But lived in Cork for several years.

Family: Husband and two daughters. Daisy, two-and-a-half and Florence, six months.

The Day Job: “I work for UTV Radio solutions. I organise media sales and radio competitions for nine radio stations around the country.”

Hobbies: Watching TV. “I’m a recent Dr Who fan. I enjoy the storylines.”

Favourite Writers: John Irving. And recently CJ Samson. “I like Paul Hoffman too.”

Second Novel: “It’s a follow on to the Dead Summer. I wrote it during my second maternity leave. I’ve finished it and submitted it to Poolbeg. I have a 3 book deal.”

Top Writing Tip: “To stick at it. Write anything. Writing is like a muscle. You have to keep exercising it. And go with the flow.”

Twitter: @scribblemum

THE DEBUT

The Dead Summer. Poolbeg: €15.99

Martha Armstrong is devastated when her husband leaves her, before their first child is born. Leaving the city, she moves to a tranquil cottage in the English countryside. It seems blissful.

Until, that is, the noises start; and weird things begin to happen. Slowly, Martha starts to learn the stories of the cottage’s past, and to uncover a secret that still haunts it.

“It’s a supernatural thriller. There’s an element of women’s fiction, but with a ghostly twist.”

The Verdict: Helen Moorhouse has a fresh, original voice. She has created a satisfyingly scary page turner.

— Interviewed by Sue Leonard

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