Patricia Gibney, 57, from Mullingar in Co Westmeath, began putting pen to paper after her beloved Aidan passed away ten years ago.
It took five years before she completed her first book, a crime novel, which introduced Detective Lottie Parker to the masses and went on to sell over 600,000 ebooks alone.
Now with six books under her belt, former council worker Patricia admits she can’t believe how far she’s come since those dark early days.
She said: “When I started writing it was as therapy. I went through a black dark time. I was trying to work my way out of it creatively.
“I began with art. I couldn’t work a normal job. I was so low. I started doing the Morning Pages (a therapeutic practice that involves filling three pages each morning with ideas).
“That was how I came up with the idea of the character of Lottie Parker and I wrote the book around her.
If you’re in a place where you’ve lost everything, having a goal or something to aim for really helps.
“Halfway through I decided I wanted a focus and I did a writing course at the Irish Writers Centre. I got some positive feedback and I realised ‘I might be onto something with this’. I was five years writing that first book and now I’m doing two a year. It gave me a goal, something to focus on.
“If you’re in a place where you’ve lost everything, having a goal or something to aim for really helps. It worked for me anyway and I was lucky as well.”
But Patricia — who is mum to Aisling, 27, Orla, 25 and Cathal, 23, — hasn’t let her success go to her head. She said: “I’m just taking it in my stride. It’s the furthest thing from what I thought my life was going to be.”
After signing with publishing house Bookouture, Patricia’s debut novel The Missing Ones was published in March 2017. It was followed by The Stolen Girls and The Lost Child that same year and another two last year.
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In February, she released her sixth book in the series online.
Patricia added: “They’re 99c books for the most part and then everyone gets their share first. It’s not going to change my life. Maybe if I got a film deal it would but it’s early days yet.
“I feel Aidan is with me, pushing me. I feel he’d be so proud. The saddest part is that he’s not here to go on this journey with me.”
- No Safe Place has just been published in paperback by Sphere. Priced €14.99, it’s available at Eason and other bookstores nationwide.
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