Dervla McTiernan

Posted by Sue Leonard on Sunday 25th March 2018

As a child Dervla moved from Cork to Dublin, Limerick, and then to Galway where she spent her teens. A lawyer, she worked in Dublin before setting up practice in Oranmore at 26.

“I worked for six years before my daughter was born, and carried on afterwards, but the crash hit the practice hard.”

In 2011, with Dervla 36 weeks pregnant, the family decided to move to Australia, where Kenny, an engineer secured a job.

“After my maternity leave I went back to work part-time in law related jobs. Life settled down.

“In 2014, I was thinking of doing an MBA in law, but with Kenny’s encouragement, decided, instead, to give five years to writing. Then I’d reassess.”

She wrote every night, and had soon accumulated 40,000 words, and then attended classes, and read lots of books on the art of writing.

In July 2016, an agent expressed interest on the same day that Dervla learned she had a large benign brain tumour. Three weeks later, it was successfully removed.

Who is Dervla McTiernan.

Date of birth: 1976, in Cork.

Education:  Presentation Secondary School, Galway. University College Galway: Law. (Finished exams in Law Society.)

Home: Near Perth, Western Australia.

Family: Husband Kenny, Freya, 8, Oisín, 6.

The Day Job: Part-time for the Mental Health Commission. “I love it.”

In Another Life: “I’d have a farm in Kildare, adjoining a farm my cousin, Kevin, would own.”

Favourite Writers: Tana French; Don Winslow; Sara Foster; Sophie Hannah; Jane Casey; Liz Nugent; Sinead Crowley; Michael Connolly.

Second Novel: In the same series, it’s out next March.

Top Tip: “Read everything on writing, but take what works for you.”

Web:  Twitter: @DervlaMcTiernan


The Debut: The Ruin. Sphere: €15.84. Kindle: €5.51. 

Garda Cormac Reilly has never forgotten when, calling at an isolated house, he found Maud and Jack, neglected and terrified, their mother dead upstairs. Years later, newly returned to Galway, he’s handed the cold case after Jack has drowned in the canal.

Maud and Aishling, Jack’s doctor girlfriend suspect foul play, but Cormac’s colleagues disagree.

Maud and Aisling represent the two sides of Irish women. Maud is self-sacrificing, and Aisling thinks, ‘What about my life?’

The Verdict: Absolutely brilliant! Wonderful characters, authentic settings, and a sublime, twisty plot.


Published in The Irish Examiner on 24th March

© Sue Leonard. 2018

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