Guest Author BRIAN McGILLOWAY showcase & giveaway



Brian McGilloway is the bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Inspector Benedict Devlin series. He was born in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1974. After studying English at Queen’s University, Belfast, he took up a teaching position in St Columb’s College in Derry, where he is currently Head of English. His first novel, Borderlands, published by Macmillan New Writing, was shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger 2007 and was hailed by The Times as ‘one of (2007’s) most impressive debuts.’ The second novel in the series, Gallows Lane, was shortlisted for both the 2009 Irish Book Awards/Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year and the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2010. Bleed A River Deep, the third Devlin novel, was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of their Best Books of 2010. Brian’s fifth novel, Little Girl Lost, which introduced a new series featuring DS Lucy Black, won the University of Ulster’s McCrea Literary Award in 2011 and is a No.1 UK Kindle Bestseller. The follow-up novel, Hurt, will be published in late 2013 by Constable and Robinson. Brian lives near the Irish borderlands with his wife, daughter and three sons.
Connect with Brian at these sites:


Q&A with Brian McGilloway

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
A little of both. I think all writers are magpies anyway, picking up the shiny scraps of things they see in their own lives and others and fictionalizing them. Crime fiction is very good at responding to recent events, perhaps because most crime writers are producing a book a year, so their titles tend to be current. Plus, I think a lot of good crime writers are interested in issues of justice in society, so current events feed into that. In terms of personal experience, I think every character you create must have a least one small facet of your personality in there somewhere, even if you don’t wish to admit it.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
It varies from book to book. With Gallows Lane, I had a single sentence in mind for near the end and worked towards that. With Bleed a River Deep, I knew the ending from the start. With most of the others, I had a beginning and took it from there. Little Girl Lost, I had the opening but nothing else; it was a lot of fun to write that way.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I tend to plot in thirds. When I start a book, I work out the first third or so, day by day; each of my books tend to be broken into days as well as chapters. Once I get a third of the way through, I take a pause and start plotting the next section, which is the slowest bit as you’re beginning to tie the various narrative strands around each other. The final third, I write pretty quickly because by that stage, you’ve a sense of where everything is going. I try to write every day – 1000 words per day. I never print out the book until the furst draft is complete. And one of the first people to read each book for me is my friend, Bob McKimm, who was my Latin teacher at school!

Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
I taught English in St Columb’s College in Derry for the past 18 years. I’ve taken a sabbatical since last September to focus on writing and to look after our kids so my wife could return to work; we have four children, ranging in age from 10 to 3. Now, after I drop the kids to school, I write until lunch time, then start the school runs again to collect them all.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love James Lee Burke’s novels. Michael Connelly, John Connolly, Ian Rankin. In terms of Irish writers; Declan Hughes, Stuart Neville, Adrian McKinty, Arlene Hunt, Tana French, Eoin McNamee, Alan Glynn, Declan Burke… the list could go on all day. Irish crime writing has exploded recently and there are new names appearing weekly.

What are you reading now?
I’ve two books lined up – both Irish writers whom I’ll be interviewing in their home towns in March as part of Creativity Month; Blue is the Night by Eoin McNamee and The Dead Ground by Claire McGowan.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’ve just finished the first draft of the third Lucy novel, which at the moment is called Sticks and Stones. It’s about the exploitation of the homeless in forced labour.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
That’s a tricky one. Lucy is in her twenties so I don’t know too many Irish actresses of that age. An actress called Laura Pyper read a Lucy story for Radio 4 last year and both my wife and I agreed that she looked very much how both of us imagined Lucy might look.

Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
Notes I handwrite in a little notebook – one or two for each book. I type the manuscript from the start.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Probably going to the cinema. I love movies and love the seclusion and comfort of sitting watching a film on the big screen with a bucket of popcorn.

Favorite meal?
I was diagnosed with celiac disease about 10 years ago so I’ve had to forsake all my favorite meals now for gluten free options. I’m going to stick with curry, I think.


During a winter blizzard a small girl is found wandering half-naked at the edge of an ancient woodland. Her hands are covered in blood, but it is not her own. Unwilling or unable to speak, the only person she seems to trust is the young officer who rescued her, DS Lucy Black.

DS Black is baffled to find herself suddenly transferred from a high-profile case involving the kidnapping of a prominent businessman’s teenage daughter, to the newly formed Public Protection Unit. Meanwhile, she has her own problems—caring for her Alzheimer’s-stricken father; and avoiding conflict with her surly Assistant Chief Constable – who also happens to be her mother. As she struggles to identify the unclaimed child, Lucy begins to realize that this case and the kidnapping may be linked by events that occurred during the blackest days of the country’s recent history, events that also defined her own childhood.

LITTLE GIRL LOST is a devastating page-turner about corruption, greed and vengeance, and a father’s endless love for his daughter.


There was definitely something moving between the trees. He’d been aware of it for a few moments now, a flitting movement he’d catch in the corner of his eye, weaving through the black tree trunks set vertical against the snow. At first he had dismissed it as the result of snow hypnosis from staring too long through the windscreen into the unrelenting downdraught of snowflakes.

Michael Mahon shunted the gearstick back into first as he approached the hill leading into Prehen. He knew almost as soon as he had shifted down that it was the wrong thing to do. He felt the wheels of the milk float begin to spin beneath him, could see the nose of the vehicle drift towards the kerb. He eased back on the accelerator, pumped the brakes in an attempt to halt the inexorable movement sideways but to no avail. He knew the wheels had locked and yet still the float shifted sideways, sliding backwards across the road, coming to rest finally against

Cursing, he shut off the engine and dropped down from the cab onto the road. Just behind him lay the edge of the ancient woodland stretching for several miles from Prehen all the way up to Gobnascale. Light from street lamps reflected off the snow, illuminating further into the woods than normal at this time of night. Black branches of the trees sagged in places under the increased weight of snow.

Shivering involuntarily, Michael turned his attention to the milk float again. He picked up the spade he’d left on the back for just such an emergency. As he was bending to clear the snow from the wheels he became aware once more of a movement in the woods, on the periphery of his vision.

It was cold, yet the goosebumps that sprang up along his arms and down his spine caused him to start. Brandishing the spade in both hands, he turned again to face the woods, dread already settling itself in the pit of his stomach.

A child came into the open at the edge of the trees. Her hair, long and black against the white background of the forest floor, looked soaked through, hanging lank onto her shoulders. Her face was rounded and pale. She wore a pair of pyjamas. On the chest of the jacket something was writt

When the girl saw him she stopped, staring at the spade he was holding, then looking at him, challengingly, her gaze never leaving his face, her skin almost blue from the luminescence of the snow. It was only as he stepped closer to her, crouching cautiously, his hand outstretched as one might approach an animal, that she turned and ran back into the trees.


Genre: Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: 2/18/2014
Number of Pages: 305
ISBN: 9780062336583




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1 thought on “Guest Author BRIAN McGILLOWAY showcase & giveaway

  1. Thanks for introducing us to this author. I always find it interesting how writers go about constructing their novels, from character development to tying together plot points.

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