As part of the publisher (thanks to Philippa Cotton, Press Officer for Cornerstone Publishing) organised blog tour, announcing the release of Hidden, the latest psychological thriller by Emma Kavanagh, the author stopped by with this great guest post …
Hi! I’m Emma Kavanagh
I was born and raised in Swansea, South Wales and first announced that I wanted to be a writer at the grand old age of 5. I believe that I was dazzled by the riches that would fall to writers after being awarded a gold star and a lollipop for a 6 line short story. Ah! the ignorance of youth.
I did however, take a somewhat circuitous route to authordom. Having decided that if I was going to write then perhaps I needed something to write about, I studied psychology in Cardiff University and then, continued on into my PhD. The next logical step, having achieved my much longed for doctorate, was to carry on into psychological research.
I started my own consultancy business, specialising in providing training to police officers and military personnel on the psychology of critical incidents. My main area of focus was the use of firearms and I spent many fulfilling years travelling across the UK and Europe providing training and consultancy to police forces and NATO. It was, by anyone’s standards, an unusual life.
But still, it wasn’t writing. So, now that I had something to say, I faced the demon of the blank screen and started to write my first book. It was not good. It was, however, undeniably a book shaped creation and it gave me the courage to try again. This next book was better, although still, the holy grail of the publisher’s deal remained just out of reach. I took some time off, had my first son, and then, when he was three months old began to write the book that would become Falling, my debut psychological thriller, followed by this, my second book Hidden.
You can follow me on Twitter
I think the thing I love most about writing is that there is nothing that is beyond the scope of what I do. Anything that catches my interest – a crime, a personality trait, a large-scale catastrophe – can evolve and grow into a story. I also love how writing can be used to expose us to a world in which we would never normally find ourselves, and can give us the opportunity to imagine how we would react to it, how we would cope.
The Redemption of Writing: Is Writing A Healer?
I love words!
I believe in their power to soothe, to comfort, to heal. I believe in their ability to inspire, to capture the unthinkable, to help us cope with the unimaginable.
As a psychologist, words have been my tool. They have allowed me to take the experiences of police officers, military personnel, and translate them, turning response that are visceral, often cruel, into a logical process, our cognitions at work. Words can help us give structure to traumatic events. When we experience a shooting, a car crash, an armed robbery, our brain will often store these occasions in a piecemeal format. We may recall images, flashes of colour, smells, sounds that apparently come from nowhere. But we are humans. Humans need stories like they need air. So to experience that, to have this event in our memory that makes little to no sense, can be excruciating. We can experience flashbacks, recurring dreams, and can find our daily lives tainted by these little sensory snippets that refuse to retreat. Words can help. Allowing and encouraging people to tell the story of their experiences can, in some instances, help them remove themselves from the centre of it, enabling them to gain some distance, some perspective. Sometimes, it is the physical force of writing that does it – forcing people to form a coherent narrative from their darkest, most traumatic experiences can sometimes bring relief and even understanding.
There are some exceptions.
I believe in meeting people where they are. Not everyone uses words to heal. For some, being forced to talk or write about their hardest times is tantamount to forcing them to relive it. It does not bring closure. It does not bring relief. Not everyone heals in the same way, and that’s okay. It’s the way it should be. So, for such people, other means must be found.
The other point I have to make is that, yes, writing can be a great healer. That’s what diaries are for. Writing that is meant for public consumption is something else entirely. Do you want your deepest fears, your most painful memories ripped apart in a 1 star Amazon review? No? Me either.
Writing for me is redemptive. The act of forming words, even if they are words that make up a story I am telling, soothes me and makes me feel whole. But when I write a novel, that is what I am doing. I am not trying to battle my demons or trying to seek public sympathy with my troubles. I am telling a story. The rest of it, I’ll save for my diary
Thanks For Having Me … Emma Kavanagh
Thanks for stopping by Emma, it has been a pleasure to have you visit 🙂
Here is just a little background information about Hidden, the rest you need to discover for yourself!
Have You Ever Felt Watched?
A gunman is stalking the wards of a local hospital. He’s unidentified and dangerous, and he has to be located. Urgently.
Police Firearms Officer Aden McCarthy is tasked with tracking him down. Still troubled by the shooting of a schoolboy, Aden is determined to make amends by finding the gunman – before it’s too late.
To psychologist Imogen, hospital should be a place of healing and safety – both for her, and for her young niece who’s recently been admitted. She’s heard about the gunman, but he has little to do with her. Or has he?
As time ticks down, no one knows who the gunman’s next target will be. But he’s there. Hiding in plain sight. Far closer than anyone thinks…
Check out those all important opening lines
Be inspired by these teaser lines
Read this short extract from the first chapter
Read my personal thoughts about Hidden