Sam Blake

Posted by Sue Leonard on Tuesday 28th June 2016
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Sam Blake is the pen name of Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin. Vanessa always worked – right through school and university, and after college she worked in retail in London, and then in shopping centre marketing.

“It was fun. A mixture of pure marketing and managing events.”

Moving to Ireland in 1992, to join Shane, her future husband, Vanessa worked as a tour guide in Glendalough, then in Avoca Handweavers, eventually managing their Powerscourt store.

“I started writing in 1999 when Shane went sailing across the Atlantic.”

It was a rocky road to publication. One book was accepted, then dropped after a takeover; an agent tried to sell another, which she, eventually, self-published. Meanwhile, inspired by a writing workshop, she organised a series of writing workshops. In 2005, she formalised these, as Inkwell Writers, and in 2011, started writing.ie, an online resource for writers.

The debut, started in 2008, was inspired by a news report of an Irish girl who, pregnant, went to Manchester, and had a baby secretly. It died, and, putting it in a suitcase she returned to Ireland.

“It took a long time, because I was busy with writing.ie.”

Simon Trewin sold the manuscript, after Vanessa started scouting for him.

Who is Sam Blake 

Date of birth: 12th October 1969 in Lincolnshire. Brought up in St Alban’s Hertfordshire.

Education: Bishop’s Hatfield Girl’s School. Queen Mary College London: English and History.

Home:  Kilmacanogue, County Wicklow

Family: Husband Shane, Sam 16 and Sophie 11

The Day Job: Running The Inkwell Group Publishing Consultancy, writing.ie and The Right’s Bureau.

Interests:  Kickboxing. Going to the gym.

Favourite Writers: Patricia Cornwell, Karin Slaughter, Lee Childs.

Second Novel: The second in the Cathy Connolly trilogy, due next spring.

Top Tip: “Keep writing. This debut is my fifth completed manuscript. I didn’t find my voice until book 3.”

Web: writing.ie Twitter: @samblakebooks

The Debut: Little Bones: twenty7: €14.99 Kindle: €4.57. 

When Detective Garda Cathy Connolly arrives at the scene of a break-in, she discovers some baby’s bones hidden in the hem of a wedding dress. A day later, the body of the elderly woman who owned the dress is found dead. Was it an accident or could it be murder?

The Verdict: A clever, twisty tale uncovering a long held family secret.

Published in the Irish Examiner on 4th June 

© Sue Leonard. 2016

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