The latest book by best-selling Irish author Faith Hogan is a feel-good fiction at its best – an immersive tale of female friendship and family dynamics …
“I’m a total Hermione Granger,” admits Faith Hogan, referring to JK Rowling’s booksmart character from Harry Potter. She loves stationery, new notebooks, and putting pen to paper. “I write from a spare bedroom tucked away at the back of our house. My desk overlooks a holly tree and the garden.” It sounds idyllic; Hogan lives in Ballina, Co Mayo with her husband, James, four children and a chocolate Labrador called Penny.
“My books reflect who I am – a glass half full person – someone who loves life and believes in the values of kindness, love, sharing and forgiveness,” she explains. It’s these qualities which dominate her new novel The Gin Sisters’ Promise, published by Head of Zeus on June 9, which follows three estranged sisters (Georgie, Iris and Nola – hence Gin) and their ability to overcome the past.
The story starts with their father’s dying wish that the sisters must reconnect in order to receive their inheritance. This necessitates returning to their family home and what unfolds is an emotional journey as they strive to forgive each other and ultimately themselves.
If the nuances of female friendship are explored, so too is the importance of family and second chances. “Post pandemic so many women are starting over at the moment – whether it’s a new job, new relationship or even a new hobby. It’s a very powerful thing,” believes Hogan.
Though she describes herself as a “Nervous Nelly” in the water and has not joined the growing cohort of sea swimmers, Hogan’s 2021 novel The Ladies’ Midnight Swimming Club clearly resonated with the swimming community and garnered over 11,000 reviews on Amazon. The book was number one in the UK’s Kindle charts and remains in the Top 100 to this day. It has been in the coveted number one slot on Amazon four times.
Hogan is humble about her success: “I believe people are looking for an escape, somewhere safe in these unprecedented times.” She won the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers, was also selected as a Words Ireland winner in 2018 and was honoured as Mayo Business Woman of the Year (Arts) in 2019.
Her novels – seven to date – include What Happened to Us? and My Husband’s Wives, all have multigenerational appeal with feel-good finales, though be prepared to shed a few tears along the way. Just the sort of read for taking on holiday or downloading onto Kindle, her books are recommended for fans of Sheila O’Flanagan, Rosamund Pilcher and Heidi Swain.
Their immersive settings in the fictional village of Ballycove – a nonspecific location on the north west coast of Sligo and Mayo – seem familiar, as do her characters. Undoubtedly Hogan brings her life experience to her novels. Having studied English Literature and Psychology at Dublin City University and later at University College Galway, she has worked variously as a model, an events’ organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sectors before writing full-time. “I draw on the knowledge I gained but not the specifics.” (Hogan also writes crime fiction as Geraldine Hogan.)
Hogan has her own TBR (to be read) pile at home but is quick to recommend some of her recent favourites – Joanna Cannon’s A Tidy Ending, The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett and Murder Before Evensong by Richard Coles. She describes this trio as a well written, joyous romp with some unexpected twists. Rather like her own best-sellers; internationally her novels have achieved top ten best seller status in the US, UK, Australia and Canada. No wonder there is a constant stream of fans who request autographed copies of Hogan’s books from her local Eason bookshop …
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