A Lucan author has scooped a prestigious award for her debut novel, which she released independently.
Caroline E Farrell won Best Novel for her Lady Beth at the recent Carousel Aware Prize (CAP) Awards.
The awards aim to provide a platform to showcase the cream of Irish independent authors, with all money raised going to the charity AWARE.
Caroline told Dublin Gazette that although this was her first novel, she had previously blogged a novel online.
“I got such great feedback on it and people telling me to go and do another chapter so I finished it and it was a great learning curve,” she said of that project.
Caroline – who has also written screenplays for several short films – said that writing Lady Beth was an all-consuming experience.
“Even when you’re not writing, you’re writing because you’re thinking about the characters and your plot and structure and trying to fit it all together into some cohesive thing that people want to read.”
Lady Beth tells the story of Beth, a quiet, unassuming woman whose teenage son Jesse dies suddenly following a drug-fuelled party with his girlfriend.
Compounded by grief, guilt, regret that she never told Jesse who his father was, Beth sets out on a journey to find out who is responsible for her son’s death, a journey that brings her back to a sordid past and a man she tried so desperately to forget.
Caroline said that she decided to release the book independently as securing a publishing deal has become increasingly difficult due to publishers’ reduced budgets.
“Because I’m an independent filmmaker, it isn’t that difficult for me to put work out so I didn’t see any difference really between making a film and putting that out and writing a book and putting that out,” she said.
“It gives such creative freedom. Now I wouldn’t say no if a lovely publishing deal came along but they’re few and far between because publishers are under so much pressure now.”
Caroline added that self-publishing has given her licence to not be pigeon-holed into one particular genre and she is working on her next book, set in Dublin.
And when asked what advice she would give to aspiring writers, she urged people not to give up and take all criticism – negative or positive – with a pinch of salt.
Lady Beth is available in selected bookshops nationwide and will soon be available in Easons. It can also be purchased in ebook and paperback from Amazon.com.