In a departure from blogging and freelance writing, I’ve turned to murder, mystery and suspense, and I’m very excited to say that my first novel The Other Side of the Wall was published by Poolbeg Press on June 6th 2017, and was shortlisted for the 2018 Kate O’Brien Award for debut authors.
The book was partly inspired by the very regular night-time wakings of my youngest child, though I’m glad to say – unlike my main character – I never saw a body in the pond next door. Here’s a flavour of what the book is about:
When Sylvia looks out her bedroom window at night and sees a child face down in the pond next door, she races into her neighbour’s garden. But the pond is empty, and no-one is answering the door.
Wondering if night feeds and sleep deprivation are getting to her, she hurriedly retreats – the fact that a local child has gone missing must be preying on her mind. Then, a week later, she hears the sound of a man crying through her bedroom wall.
The man living next door, Sam, has recently moved in. His wife and children are away for the summer and he joins them at weekends. Sylvia finds him friendly and helpful, yet she becomes increasingly uneasy about him.
Then Sylvia’s little daughter wakes one night, screaming that there’s a man in her room. This is followed by a series of bizarre disturbances in the house.
Sylvia’s husband insists it’s all in her mind, but she is certain it’s not – there’s something very wrong on the other side of the wall.
Full details are here on Amazon, along with reviews to date – thank you so much to all who have read to date, and for the lovely comments, tags and reviews!
Book 2 will be out in 2018 (if I ever get edits finished…)
“…masterful debut, which combines the ordinary themes of working mothers and modern suburbia, with all the foreboding malevolence of a Jeffery Deaver novel… a gripping read that is hard to put down and would make a great movie.” The Independent
“I read this in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it – the right side of chillingly good” – Woman’s Way
“A twisting tale of evil lurking behind a suburban hall door” – Sinéad Crowley, author of One Bad Turn.
“This is a prime example of a superior grip lit book. From the first eerie chapter to the very last page it is quite literally unputdownable with an abundance of ‘oh!’ moments throughout. The characters are well developed and the subplots all deal with everyday-life issues that everyone I know will relate to. Honestly, a very, very superior debut.” – Margaret Scott, author of The Fallout.
“Finished it in three sittings… Grips and twists to the very end. A very clever and accomplished book.” – Emily Hourican, author of White Villa.
“Domestic Noir with believable characters and a clever, corkscrew plot.” Sue Leonard in the Irish Examiner – Beginner’s Pluck column.
“A deliciously twisty turney storyline, packed with suspense that will keep you guessing … until the very last page.” MummyPages.co.uk
“… a well written, engaging thriller about a woman who suspects strange goings-on next door – but with the stress of a mess at work, a new baby and a toddler, is her mind playing tricks on her? Or is someone in danger? Really, really liked this.” Sharon Leavy, Behind Green Eyes.
“This is a fine debut that you will struggle to put down.” Margaret Madden – BleachHouseLibrary.ie
“THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL by Andrea Mara is a debut novel that will absolutely knock your socks off and leave you looking at your neighbours in a whole new light… Gripping, enthralling, and downright creepy, this novel has got it all… [it’s] the epitome of what a psychological thriller novel should be, and will leave you asking the question, do you ever really know what happens behind closed doors?” Linda Green’s review in Books Of All Kinds
“As a reader it feels as though she is telling the story to you alone, whispered confidentially in a quiet corner of a coffee shop in leafy south Dublin. It did not feel like a tentative first book by an aspiring writer, instead it has the confidence and sure touch of an established author.” OftenCalledCathy
“Andrea Mara has written a remarkable debut novel that will make you reflect on what really goes on behind closed doors. The Other Side of The Wall is a well balanced novel that moves along at a very fast pace.” Mairead Hearne reviewing on writing.ie and on her own blog Swirl and Thread
“Within just a paragraph of very cleverly structured words Andrea Mara had me gasping out loud and standing up out of my seat and almost applauding at what had just unfolded.” Emma Crowley, Shaz’s Book Blog
“I can’t believe that this is Andrea’s debut novel, it was brilliant. Cleverly researched and well constructed… full of twists and turns and by the end of it will have you questioning do we really know our neighbours? I LOVED it.” Celeste McCreesh Celeste Loves Books
“I absolutely loved it, the twists & turns were outstanding. I found myself thinking about the characters when the book wasn’t in my hands, I needed to know more. It’s a hard book to put down once you start and I love that!” – Nicola Naessens, SimplyHomemadeBlog
“[Andrea Mara] managed to build suspense and create such a fast paced and intense mystery that if, by some miracle, my two smallies hadn’t needed food, naps, nappy changes, toys from under the couch, I would easily read it in one sitting… Excellent debut novel by Andrea Mara – a must read!” – Michelle Teahan MammyMayI
“The book is a fantastic page turner and is the kind of book that will make you stay up far later than you should just to see what happens next.” Elizabeth McDonnell – LifeonHushabyeFarm.com
“Andrea’s debut novel is a real page turner though. I finished it in two or three nights, staying up well past my usual lights out time because I simply couldn’t put it down.” Fionnuala Zinnecker – ThreeSonsLater.com
Amazon reviews are all here in one spot – thank you to the 60+ people who kindly reviewed!
INTERVIEWS & ARTICLES ON WRITING & BOOKS
Pram in the hall? My problem is the phone in my hand – for Irish Times online
From Parent Blogging to Fiction – three authors tell me their stories for the Examiner
An interview on living in Dun Laoghaire, growing up in Carrigaline, and the difference between working in the IFSC and working from home for The Gloss Magazine.
How to write a book in just 43 years and 24 easy steps for Swirl and Thread
An interview with Kim Bielenberg for Write Side in the Independent
Who would play your characters in a movie and are any of them based on real people? An interview for MumsOnline / Easy Parenting magazine.
On never giving up – for Writing.ie
Writing is rewriting and in my case, this was completely true – or completely not true, depending on your perspective – a piece I wrote for Writing.ie
Why write a book? A guest post on bestselling author Catherine Ryan Howard’s blog
SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDBACK
This is the first ever official reaction to the book, from a writer who has read a pre-publication copy – it’s the loveliest tweet I’ve ever seen so I’m keeping it here for posterity:
— mythoughtsonapage (@trickearney) March 31, 2017
And I love this tweet from an early reader:
— Bernice Burnside (@berniceburnside) May 16, 2017
Okay one more that made my day:
— Clare (@ClareNolan) May 20, 2017
And on Instagram (so Instagram doesn’t feel left out):
I love this post so much I had to figure out how to repost on Instagram: #Repost @trishhartigan ・・・ Yes I am reading in the car again. But #theothersideofthewall was too good to leave at home. And I’m reading every free minute! What was the last unputdowable book that you read?? #book #books #booknerdigans #reading #booklover #reader #bookblogger #irishblogger #bibliophile #dustoffyourbookshelf #instabooks #instareads #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #bookworm #reading
From Áine Toner, editor of Woman’s Way:
— Áine Toner (@aineltoner) May 31, 2017
And for me, for a bit more posterity, I’ve kept a link to the very lovely good wishes I got on Facebook when I saw and signed my first copies of the book:
Irish Examiner Life/ Style Likes
To read about how the book deal came about, see Pinch Me
Here’s how it felt when I was a week away from my deadline: Breathing Space
And this is all about writing “The End”, pressing send, and moving on to the next bit
This was how it felt seeing my book cover: Covering it
While I was deep into the process of writing the book, and wondering if I could do it, I got a lovely confidence boost in the form of an email telling me my short story Into The Forest won first place at the BookersCorner.co.uk September/ October short story competition. If you’d like to read it, click here: Into The Forest
The same story was a finalist in the Colm Toibín International Short Story Competition as part of the 2016 Wexford Literary Festival.