As a child, reading a book a day, Florence was terrified that she would run out of books.
“It was such a relief when I first went to the library,” she says, “and realised that I never would.”
The second youngest of 7, brought up on a farm, Florence helped out her father. But she also made-up and wrote stories.
“I thought I’d be a writer until I went to secondary school,” she says. “But secondary school killed my imagination. I read instead of listening in class.”
Florence ended up in teaching, initially in Dunleer and Dundalk, before moving to Bush Post Primary School on the Cooley Peninsular. Eventually, she became the home-school community liaison coordinator.
“I loved that,” she says.
For years Florence didn’t write. Then, inspired by The Artist’s Way, she wrote morning pages, and something opened in her. She wrote a novel but parked it. And it wasn’t until lockdown that she tried again.
“I’d retired and just sat down for a few months and wrote a rough draft. The plot happened haphazardly.”
Having shared the draft with family and friends, she redrafted the novel, and sent it to Poolbeg. And in February this year she was offered a three-book deal.
“I floated to a happy place,” she says. “Dreams do happen.”
Who is Florence Gillan?
Date of birth: 1960 in Sligo.
Education: Ursuline Convent in Sligo; Mater Dei Institute of Education, History and Religion.
Home: Newry. “I go to my holiday home in Sligo as much as I can.”
Family: Husband Eugene Hanna, adult children, Rachel, David, Mark and Sarah. Dogs, Honey and Rua, and a cat with no name.
The Day Job: Fulltime Writer.
In Another Life: “I’d have loved to have been an actor.”
Favourite Writers: PG Wodehouse; Jane Austen; John Steinbeck; Agatha Christie; PD James John McGahern; Anthony Trollope.
Second Book: “I’ve written a rough draft.”
Top Tip: Don’t procrastinate. “I wasted so many years talking myself out of writing.”
The Debut: Let Them Lie. Poolbeg Crimson: €16.99. Kindle: €2.29.
When Aoife O’Driscoll makes a terrifying discovery about her late father, she can’t let the matter lie. Must she act, or will the truth destroy all she holds dear?
The Verdict: A dark compulsive page turner.
©Sue J Leonard. 2022.