'Nothing makes me happier than meeting readers who tell me that they enjoyed my book so much they lost sleep and neglected family to finish it...'

Cork author and solicitor Catherine Kirwan recently launched her second book ‘Cruel Deeds’. Here she talks about her passions in life, childhood memories and more
'Nothing makes me happier than meeting readers who tell me that they enjoyed my book so much they lost sleep and neglected family to finish it...'

Cork based author and solicitor Catherine Kirwan at the signing of her new crime novel 'Cruel Deeds' at Waterstones. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Cork author and solicitor Catherine Kirwan features in our Person to Person

Tell me about yourself?

I’ve just published my second book, Cruel Deeds, a crime novel set in Cork.

I write in my spare time - at weekends and on holiday. In my day job, I work as a solicitor on Washington Street.

Where were you born?

In England, where my parents were working at the time, but they came home soon after I was born so I have no memory of living there.

Where do you live?

Near the Lough. I love walking there and looking at the water and the trees and the birds and the beautiful sunsets.

Earliest childhood memory?

I don’t know for sure, but it might be my sister Marcia and myself going to the hospital with my father to collect our mother and our new brother Neil. 

The three of us are very close in age. I dedicated my new crime novel Cruel Deeds to them.

Person you admire?

Fellow Cork crime-writer Catherine Ryan Howard, author of 56 Days and The Nothing Man. She’s already very successful but, take it from me, she’s only starting.

Where was your most memorable holiday?

I went to Ukraine a few years ago and I’m thinking a lot about that holiday at present. One of the places I visited in Kyiv was the Second World War Museum. Exact numbers are still not known but it’s reckoned that at least 5 to 7 million Ukrainians died, equivalent to the population of the island of Ireland. It’s unthinkable that serious conflict in that region seems to be on the agenda again.

Favourite TV programme?

I missed The Good Wife first time around but I worked my way through all seven seasons recently. I loved it. At the moment, I’m watching the first season of Narcos. It’s just brilliant. I liked Kin on RTÉ1 and was happy to hear that it’s coming back for a second season. I also like How To Be Good With money, Home Of The year, Would I Lie To You? and Who Do You Think You Are? Maybe I should get out more!

Favourite radio show?

I don’t know if I’d call it my favourite because usually the news is bad, but the show I listen to without fail is Morning Ireland. My weekday doesn’t feel right without it.

Your signature dish if cooking?

Roast chicken with lemon and garlic, and rosemary from my back garden, is my default option and something I fall back on far too often. 

I’m also a dab hand at combing the fridge and throwing together something out of what’s there, combined with whatever’s in the press.

Favourite restaurant?

The Farmgate.

Last book you read?

The last book I read was 1979, the most recent novel by the Queen of Crime and Tartan Noir, Scottish writer Val McDermid, who is probably best known for penning the books on which the tv series Wire In The Blood starring Robson Green was based. I would have read 1979 anyway because, needless to say, it’s great. The reason I’ve just read it, and with such urgency, is that Val is visiting Cork City Library soon and, amazingly, I’ve been tasked with interviewing her.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

Most recently I bought Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, the new Abba album and Viola Gaelach by Seamus McGuire and Steve Cooney. All three albums are on heavy rotation in my house these days.

Favourite song?

That changes daily. Today it’s the Seamus Begley version of I n The Early Morning Rain. Another day it might be He Stopped Loving Her Today by George Jones. Most days it’s probably Coat Of Many Colours by Dolly Parton.

One person you would like to see in concert?

I was lucky enough to see Willie Nelson once but I’d give anything to see him again.

Do you have a pet?

I used to have two dogs but unfortunately they died and I’m not ready for another yet.

Morning person or night owl?

Morning (but not too early).

Your proudest moment?

When my first novel Darkest Truth was chosen as ‘One City One Book’ by Cork City Libraries.

Spendthrift or saver?

Somewhere in the middle, I think.

Name one thing you would improve in your area in which you live?

An appropriate future-proofed flood management plan for the Cork city area, in other words, a plan that incorporates a tidal barrier, as Save Cork City has been saying. Everyone knows that Cork can’t combat climate change effectively without a barrier so what are we waiting for? The OPW plan for Blackpool that proposes burying the river Bride is an abomination and their plans for the Lee are utterly woeful too. As the guy on the ad says, when they’re gone, they’re gone. 

We need to give proper respect to heritage, biodiversity and our environment in general.

What makes you happy?

Nothing makes me happier than meeting readers who tell me that they enjoyed Cruel Deeds so much they lost sleep and neglected family to finish it.

How would you like to be remembered?

As I said above, I’m a fan of the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are? One of the lessons I’ve learnt from the show is that, apart from major historical figures, most people are forgotten fairly quickly. I expect to be forgotten.

What else are you up to at the moment?

I’ve been doing yoga classes with Dearcán Yoga for several years. We used to meet in real life but, since Covid, classes have moved online. I also do Yoga with Adriene on Youtube. I’m a big fan of Adriene. She got me through the first lockdown.

Catherine Kirwan’s bestselling new novel Cruel Deeds is in all bookshops now.

Val McDermid is visiting Cork City Library, Grand Parade, on Friday, March 4 at 5pm. The event is free but ticketed. See Eventbrite for details.

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