Gold­en­de­light­for Dun­dalka­u­thor onA­ma­zon

The Argus - - NEWS - By ANNE CAMP­BELL

A Dun­dalk writer’s sec­ond novel set in Malta has al­ready reached num­ber one on Ama­zon’s Ir­ish and his­tor­i­cal fic­tion list and con­tin­ues the out­stand­ing success the au­thor has al­ready has achieved with her de­but novel.

Ni­cola Kearns, a for­mer St Vin­cent’s stu­dent who is orig­i­nally from Farn­dreg and now lives in Leitrim, has just pub­lished her sec­ond novel, The Azure Win­dow, which is the sec­ond of her Mal­tese tril­ogy and fol­lows her highly suc­cess­ful Un­der A Mal­tese Sky.

And lit­tle did Ni­cola know that the real Azure Win­dow, a ma­jor nat­u­ral tourist at­trac­tion in Malta, would crum­ble into the sea in March be­fore she had her novel pub­lished.

Ni­cola said: ‘ The new book is a se­quel to the first novel, be­cause I didn’t get ev­ery­thing I wanted into Un­der A Mal­tese Sky. Read­ers were ask­ing me about the next part be­cause they wanted to know what hap­pened to the char­ac­ters and I wanted to keep it do­ing too’.

Like her re­search trips for the first novel, which fo­cuses on WWII and its im­pact in Malta, Ni­cola trav­elled to the idyl­lic is­land and spent time at the world fa­mous Azure Win­dow.

She said: ‘ When I was at the site, I got a real feel­ing of sad­ness about it, like some­thing very tragic had gone on and it kept com­ing back to me, I wor­ried about it and it be­came a back­drop to the novel’. Her brother rang her to tell her the Azure Win­dow had col­lapsed and Ni­cola’s novel now im­mor­talises the fa­mous land­mark that is no longer there.

And she was pleased that her dad, Nicholas, pro­vided the dis­tinc­tive and eye-catch­ing cover art­work, fea­tur­ing the land­mark, for The Azure Win­dow like he had done for Un­der A Mal­tese Sky.

The new novel spans 60 years, from an is­land torn apart in the Sec­ond World War, to what is now a tourist’s par­adise, the story in­ter­twines three sep­a­rate love sto­ries. The fo­cus is on three gen­er­a­tions of women, who like The Azure Win­dow, are beau­ti­ful, frag­ile and enig­matic.

Pri­mar­ily set in Malta in present times, Jessy McGuill be­comes drawn into the past and the life of her mother, Maria, whom she never knew. The truth she learns of her grand­mother Ana’s en­durance as she strug­gled to sur­vive se­vere loss and heartache dur­ing the Siege of Malta, forms the back­drop to Jessy’s own story.

Like Ana, Jessy also finds love in Malta, un­til her grand­fa­ther ar­rives on the is­land, with a rel­a­tive in tow. This young man Neil, brings with him his own se­crets and the friend­ship be­tween him and Jessy soon causes a rip­ple of un­ease for sev­eral rea­sons. A plot un­rav­els that pro­vides a par­tic­u­lar and un­be­liev­able twist which will cap­ti­vate the reader.

Af­ter the success of the first novel, Ni­cola was con­tacted by a Mal­tese pub­lisher and worked ‘night and day for two months’ to com­plete the sec­ond book. It was re­leased onto Ama­zon a few weeks ago and she got a call from her editor to tell her that it had raced into eighth place in the Ir­ish and his­tor­i­cal fic­tion rank­ings.

‘I was jump­ing around the place, and then a short time later, it went from four to three to num­ber one. It’s in­cred­i­ble. All writ­ers have times when they are not sure about whether what they’re do­ing is good enough but I’m re­ally pleased with the re­ac­tion to the books’.

Ni­cola will launch The Azure Win­dow in Dun­dalk on Thurs­day July 13 at the County Li­brary at 6.30pm. For more, see nico­lakearn­ Both books are avail­able on Ama­zon.

Au­thor Ni­cola Kearns with her dad, Nicholas and mum, Mary with her new book, The Azure Win­dow which is avail­able now.

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