Louise’s US release receives critical acclaim

Aideen O'Flaherty

LOUISE Phillips’ novels delve into a dark but arresting world, where a Dublin-based forensic psychologist called Dr Kate Pearson sees the most disturbing elements of society.

The Bohernabreena author has already released four books in Ireland as part of the Dr Kate Pearson series: Red Ribbons, The Doll’s House, Last Kiss and The Game Changer.

louise phillips

Fresh from riding the wave of critical acclaim that met the US release of ‘The Doll’s House’ last month, Louise took some time out to the speak to The Echo about her work to date, and some interesting experiences she had while carrying out research for her novels.


Does living in a place like Bohernabreena have an impact on your writing?

Where I live, because it’s slightly off the beaten track in the Glensamole Valley, has a sense of isolation but it also has a good community, so I think it definitely influences my writing.


What is it about writing psychological thrillers that appeals to you?

It’s my belief that most good crime writers have an innate sense of fear. I think you need to understand fear and crime to write about it. In psychological thrillers, there’s always a heightened tension because the characters are pushed to their limit psychologically.

You mentioned in a previous interview with The Echo that it’s important for writers to have a ‘writing space’, what’s your writing space like?

There’s a part of an old cottage where I live, and it’s a protected structure. Within that cottage there’s a small upper floor and that’s usually where I write, as it’s up away from everyone else. I don’t always write there though, sometimes I write in other areas of the house. Sometimes when I’m changing character I’ll move into different rooms in the house.


Can you tell me a bit about ‘The Doll’s House’?

‘The Doll’s House’ is the second in the series of Kate Pearson novels. It has recently been published in the US with Polis Books. My first book in the series, ‘Red Ribbons’, is gaining more momentum there now because there’s a book in the US. When I was doing research for ‘The Doll’s House’ I went to a lot of hypnotists, and I was fascinated when I found out that all the memories we have are stored in our subconscious. The protagonist in the book knows that she has suppressed memories, and it’s through hypnotism that she finds out what they are. It tests how much we can trust our own memories.


How does it feel to know that the book has received critical acclaim in the US?

It’s always great to get good reviews, whether it’s from readers on Amazon or Good Books or in newspapers. I think it’s also important for Irish writers to get feedback from an international audience. It’s a different culture looking in at Irish society, which I think is terrific.


You’re currently working on a new series of crime thrillers based in Massachusetts, what research did you do for it?

Through the contacts I have here I got access to the police force in Boston. I was really surprised at the influence the Irish diaspora has over there. I remember going in to see a guy who was running a senior crime unit in Boston, and I was chatting to him and he took out an old An Garda Siochana uniform that a retired Garda had given him - it was his prized possession. I felt my Irishness made it easier for me, it felt like there was a trust across the Atlantic.


What can you tell me about the new series?

It’s a new series so Kate Pearson won’t be in it, there’s a defence attorney called Heather Baxter. I would classify the genre as more mystery than psychological thriller. It opens with the murder of Heather’s mother when Heather was 14-years-old. In the present-day Heather is working on a trial about a young girl accused of killing a baby in her care. The theme of the story surrounds motherhood, because Heather lost her mother at a young age and because of the case she’s working on.


What’s the best feedback you’ve ever received from a reader?

I always feel it’s important when you hear from a reader who can relate to the fictional circumstances in the book. We like to read fiction to take us away from the here and now, but it also pulls you back. I do like the idea that we read away from ourselves before we read our way back. It’s a cliché, but it’s true: no one reader will ever read the same story, because they’re reading it with their own history and memories.


To find out more about Louise’s work, check out her website.

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