Tag Archives: coffee

Distress Signals – Q and A with Catherine Ryan Howard

As you may remember I recently read an excellent novel called Distress Signals based around the idea of cruise ships. I’m now delighted to be able to welcome to acrimereadersblog the author of that novel, Catherine Ryan Howard who has agreed to answer some questions.

Thanks for joining me Catherine, and thanks for the advanced copy of your debut novel. What was the inspiration behind the story in Distress Signals?

Back in late 2011 I read an article by Jon Ronson in the Guardian’s Weekend magazine which detailed a number of mysterious or unexplained disappearances from large cruise ships. He mentioned the International Cruise Victims organisation, which really struck me because I thought cruise ships were sunny, idyllic places where people went to have relax and have fun and drink cocktails with little umbrellas in them. I’d never once associated them with anything dark or untoward. I started doing research online and I was really quite shocked at what I found. I thought, A cruise ship is the perfect place to get away with a murder. And then, You should write a novel about that.

Exactly what I had always thought. Certainly not now, I think you may have put me off cruising for life. What would you say your typical working day is like?

I am the world’s worst procrastinator, so it’s 90% coffee-making and Twitter. 3pm is the danger time because I work from home and that’s usually when a nap suddenly starts looking like a REALLY good idea. It also almost always involves a trip to Starbucks. I love a wet (i.e. no foam) venti latte and two years or so ago I moved from Cork, which had just ONE Starbucks at the time, to Dublin which has one on every corner, so it’s difficult to resist the temptation. Plus, it helps resist the naps!

I did not know that wet meant no foam, I’ve always taken the wet part for granted when ordering coffee! Obviously it would include coffee, but what else constitutes your ideal afternoon off work?

Maybe lunch in the Pepperpot café in Powerscourt Townhouse Centre (near Grafton Street in Dublin), book-shopping in Dubray Books (on Grafton Street) and then a read-in-one-sitting session with my purchase on the couch at home until the sun goes down.

That sounds like my kind of afternoon. Do you read a lot yourself and if so who are your favourite authors?

I haven’t got much reading for pleasure done in the last couple of years, because I’ve been at college full-time AND editing Distress Signals and writing Book 2, but normally yes, I do. My favourite authors are Michael Connelly and Harlan Coben. I also love Tana French, Caroline Kepnes, Gillian Flynn… Outside of crime/thrillers, I love Kazuo Ishiguro and Lionel Shriver. And Jess Walter wrote what is probably my favourite book of the last five years, Beautiful Ruins. I could go on – the list is endless, really!

If you were not a writer what would be your ideal job?

For a very long time I dreamt of having a very specific job: a Biosafety Level 4 virologist specialising in the Ebola virus and working at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infection Diseases in Fort Detrick, Maryland. (Don’t ask!) It’s probably for the best I stuck with the writing instead…

Hmm, moving swiftly on! What are you working on next?

I’m finishing the first draft of Book 2, which is another standalone thriller due out this time next year.

I can’t wait! Thanks very much for answering my questions Catherine. I look forward to reading your new book next year.

If you would like to find out more about Catherine, or Distress Signals see below:

Read a preview of the first three chapters here:

https://catherineryanhoward.com/access-your-exclusive-preview/

Amazon.co.uk link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Distress-Signals-Incredibly-Gripping-Psychological/dp/1782398384

ABOUT CATHERINE: 

Catherine Ryan Howard was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1982. Prior to writing full-time, Catherine worked as a campsite courier in France and a front desk agent in Walt Disney World, Florida, and most recently was a social media marketer for a major publisher. She is currently studying for a BA in English at Trinity College Dublin.

http://www.DistressSignalsBook.com

http://www.CatherineRyanHoward.com

Twitter: @cathryanhoward

Instagram: @cathryanhoward

Facebook: facebook.com/catherineryanhoward

 

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Filed under Crime fiction Q&A, Uncategorized

The murder room

Well this week acrimereadersblog has been on tour (that sounds better than admitting to another holiday) and has spent the past few days in Rome. As always a trip away no matter where to or for how long is always a good opportunity for reading, and thanks to the joy of the kindle I have no shortage of books to choose from. My choice for the flight this time being Lynda LaPlante, who it has recently been announced will be attending the festival next year.

With a bit of creative licence the P of Plante also continues the theme of the holiday which turned out to be things beginning with P. We saw Putin, the Pope, a political rally, a police museum and paid preposterous prices.
Of course we covered the usual well known sites. We walked round the Vatican, we saw the Sistine chapel with all the artwork and it’s amazing ceiling (I bet Michelangelo was gutted he couldn’t just have nipped to B&Q for a tin of magnolia) we admired the Coliseum and we forgot to throw coins into the Trevi Fountain.

However alongside the many stunning sites of historic significance we also covered the aforementioned 5 P’s. We caught Putin arriving at the Vatican surrounded by armed police. We waved at Pope Francis as he travelled round in his little popemobile before he made his regular address to the crowds. We then accidently got caught up in a Furza Italia political rally, with lots of flag waving and coloured flares. Of course not understanding any Italian we weren’t aware that had we waited for a bit longer we would actually have seen Berlusconi himself talking to his supporters. We visited the Police museum (otherwise known as the Museum of criminology) which was essentially a storage area for all the torture devices and murder weapons collected by the police force over the past few hundred years. Then to round off our 5Ps we also paid preposterous prices. Two cakes and two coffees cost us 39 euro’s, luckily they were very nice but you’d hope so for that price.

Rome was a lovely place, although one thing that seemed strange was the lack of seats in coffee shops. It seems that most Italians simply neck their espressos stood at the counter. I don’t think we saw anyone just sitting down leisurely in a coffee shop and reading a book. That did seem a bit sad, the coffee was lovely and therefore its a shame to not be able to enjoy it. Then again maybe different cultures enjoy books in different ways. We certainly saw a lot of bookshops during our visit and so I don’t doubt that the Italians love to read. Maybe they just keep it for travelling, certainly the Italian next to me on the plane was very interested in my kindle and how ‘esoteric’ (his word not mine) the range of books available were. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that mine doesn’t really contain anything but crime novels!

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Black Coffee

Well the two week holiday is over, the suitcase is unpacked, and the summer clothes have been swopped for thermals. Hong Kong was an amazing city, although the problem with having such a busy couple of weeks is that there wasn’t much time for reading.

In fact I only managed one and a half books which is less than I normally read when working full time. The book I managed to complete was called Gweilo: Memories of a Hong Kong Childhood by Martin Booth. This recounted his childhood in the 1950s which he spent in Hong Kong.

Obviously this along with two big guidebooks was required reading for my holiday. It was a fascinating book that was brought to life by being able to visit the places he talked about. He lived in both Kowloon, and at the Peak on Hong Kong Island so many of the trips we took, he had been there first. Although I didn’t follow him in trying a 1000 year old egg, unidentifiable balls of gluten was as adventurous as my food eating got. I did however have the best cup of coffee I’ve ever tasted, not to mention the most expensive, drunk whilst gazing into the window of Tiffanys (how the other half live!)

Hong Kong was an amazing place, with some real contrasts of culture and scenary. We had a non stop two weeks from Big Budda’s at the top of a cable car ride, to light shows across the Harbour. From hiking up a mountain, to riding the worlds longest escalator. From sampan rides through a floating fishing village, to an express elevator to the 47th floor. Hong Kong really does have it all, including my very cute Goddaughter dressed for Halloween.

Whilst I would happily have stayed in Hong Kong a lot longer, its now back to reality (not to mention the cold and dark weather which was a bit of a shock after the sun and heat) At least dark nights mean more time for reading so normal crime blogging service will be resumed shortly!

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