Ten Years Later

Released January 9th, 2018

2018 marks the tenth anniversary of the publication of my first book. Not the first book I wrote—there are a few in a drawer (or on a disk) that may never see the light of day. Many a Twist, the sixth book in the County Cork Mystery series, has one foot in the “before” and one in the “now.” One of the first books I ever completed, in 2001, became the core of the series, which first appeared in print in 2013. It was the place—a small village in West Cork—that survived many revisions, while characters and story lines changed over the years. Until I finally got it right.

Mystery writers are great people. They share information about writing and publishing, they congratulate you on your successes, they commiserate about your rejections (because they’ve had their fair share too, even the Big Names), and they support you all the way. Those of us who write cozies (like the Wickeds) are deceptive: we are generally friendly, pleasant, not-young women, but in our books we kill people. Regularly. (To the best of my knowledge, none of us has ever killed someone in the real world.)

But our books are not about killing, they’re about solving the killing and finding the killer and bringing him (or her) to justice. That’s a good thing. Our characters do what they believe is right, sometimes putting themselves at risk. And our readers know they will prevail in the end.

Most of us set our series in small towns, or small communities within larger towns—places where people know each other and look out for each other. Since the first time I saw it, West Cork has always seemed to be a prime example of that: people remember your family, going back three or four generations, maybe a century. And not just names and places, but personal details. One person in the area told me recently, looking at me, “The Connollys were always tall.” (If you haven’t met me, I’m close to six feet tall if I wear shoes.) Long memories!

I wanted to play off that in Many a Twist, where some of those long memories help to solve the death. But at the same time, there are secrets from the past that reach into the present, and no one had put those pieces together until the recent death occurred.

Old and new, side by side. Three-thousand-year-old stone circles next to wind turbines among the old hedgerows. It can be unsettling. But it’s also a very welcoming place, especially if you’re a Connolly and can point and say, “yes, my grandfather was born just over the hill, and his parents were married in the ruined church over there.”

Many a Twist answers a number of questions that have been winding through the earlier books in the series—you can’t have readers demanding, “stop hinting and tell us what really happened!” Characters should grow and explore new things—but that doesn’t mean they’re going anywhere but forward. In the County Cork series they’ll all be back (along with some new faces), and I want to see what they’ll be doing next. I hope you readers do too!

The book is available at all the usual places!

25 thoughts on “Ten Years Later

  1. Happy book birthday! How lovely to have ties to your roots as you do. Community memory is wonderful and very enticing in this move around world of instant gratification.

    • When I first visited Ireland, I never expected to find all those roots. This was driven home when I went to the farm where my grandmother was born, in Carlow (she and my grandfather met in New York). The people who owned the place now apologized to me for taking down the wall that had separated their properties, to make one field of it. My great-aunt sold that property in 1949! And the current owners thought I’d be upset?

      The next-door neighbors, in their 80s then, brought out baby pictures of my father that I had never seen. He was born in 1919, but somehow they’d saved those pictures all through the years and knew where to find them when I appeared.

  2. Congratulations, Sheila! I’m excited to read the next installment. How amazing it must be to go to another country and have people recognize you as part of a long-running family. I love it.

    • It’s kind of mind-boggling when strangers (like the parish priest) ask me which branch of the Connolly family I belong to–and I can tell him, despite the fact that I’d barely met the Irish side of the family.

  3. Congratulations, Sheila. on 10 years as a published author. I have enjoyed reading several of your series, but I have to try reading the County Cork mystery series.

  4. Sheila, I love the many series of cozies that you write. I began writing by studying your plot in your first apple orchard series. But setting stores in Ireland is a wonderful idea. The past and the present are always colliding. Congratulations on your longevity.

    • I’m honored! To be fair, I feel the same way about New England, where I have a whole lot of ancestors, but I’d grown up knowing about those, instead of landing in the midst of them all in my later years.

  5. Congratulations of birth of a new book. Hopefully the labor wasn’t too strenuous. 🙂 Now you can look forward to many years of joy as you watch your little one go out into the world where I know it will be not only accepted but welcomed with open arms by new and old fans alike.

    Many a Twist sounds like an amazing book and one I very much want to read. It’s tops on my TBR list.

  6. Love this retrospective on your ten productive years, Sheila, and the background on your family’s Cork history. I’m a newbie, even at my advanced age (ahem!). My first book came out in 2016, another coming this May and I’m now working (too slowly!) on my third. I particularly enjoy hearing about an author’s writing journey, so thanks for this. Looking forward to reading Many a Twist! Marian

  7. I forgot to congratulate you on 10 years being a published author. That’s quite a milestone, and you’ve written so many books in that time, too.

  8. Sheila, Many a Twist is headed to my house from Amazon and is suppose to be here tomorrow. I am so looking forward to reading it. Your characters are “real” people to me as I read your books and I like them. Makes me want to take a trip to Ireland and see if I can find any relatives. My grandmother often told my dad that we are “Black” Irish and I am not sure what that means exactly…should look that up and see if it is really a “thing.” My dad and all his brothers and sisters had black hair, but I think that they all had brown eyes, not blue or green. I could listen to someone with an Irish accent read the phone book…lol. So excited for you and your new book baby!

  9. Congratulations on your writing! I do envy you your roots. Most of us “Americans “ have only vague ideas about our ancestry. Old pictures with no names or dates. Thanks for sharing your Irish family through your books. I have a few to read before I can read your newest.

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