Truth Be Told – guest post by Sue Divin

Northern Ireland. 2019.

Tara has been raised by her mam and nan in Derry City. Faith lives in rural Armagh.

Their lives on opposite sides of a political divide couldn’t be more different. Until they come face-to-face with each other and are shocked to discover they look almost identical. Are they connected?

In searching for the truth about their own identities, the teenagers uncover more than they bargained for.

But what if finding out who you truly are means undermining everything you’ve ever known?

Macmillan Children’s Books

Very pleased to be asked to be part of the blog tour for Irish author Sue Divin’s second powerful novel: Truth Be Told, with a guest post!

Writing in a pandemic

What are you working on next?

Like many people, I think the pandemic has disrupted the ‘normal’ of everything in our lives. I spend more of my time not writing than writing – although if I’m not writing at all I can feel quite out of balance. Writing is like a release. Like many writers though, writing is not my full-time job. I had planned to take a year out once Guard Your Heart was published but the Covid pandemic put paid to that.

About six months after Guard Your Heart was published, I did make the decision to change from working full-time in my ‘day job’ to just 4 days a week. That has helped the stress levels a bit! Managing an EU funded Peace and Reconciliation programme for my local council still takes up most of my week – and my favourite bit of that is working with local communities and seeing projects make a difference to people’s lives.

My life circumstances have also made me a single parent to a brilliant teenage son with high-functioning ASD (autism/aspergers). The lockdown/home schooling phases of the pandemic were not fun. Thankfully at this stage of the pandemic, things seem to be becoming a bit more normal again. What keeps me on an even keel are things like walking/hiking and swimming. I’m also a musician – I play guitar and tin whistle. Lattes with friends are top of my favourite-things-to-do list and on a dark winter’s night, I’ll rarely say no to a warm fire, salty popcorn and a good movie.

I don’t have a specific new novel on the go yet, though I’m toying with some characters and a cross-border setting from Derry into Donegal. I’ve a fascination with a place called Fort Dunree in County Donegal. So much so, that I’ve already written two short stories based there – each with connections to my novels. Perhaps it’s time to explore a novel itself having that ingrained into its setting and psyche.

Over the last few months, I’ve started to get invitations to speak at literary festivals and occasional dialogue events. I’m also building up my skills in learning how to mentor other emerging writers and facilitating creative writing workshops. It’s fantastic fun and definitely an area of work that I love but, especially because it’s all quite new to me and because I live in the north-west of Ireland where historical political decisions meant that no motorways were built and the rail network was reduced, it’s quite time consuming. I’ve also been trying to tackle my TBR (to be read) pile but am not winning. This is entirely my own fault – I can resist books and bookshops. Once I’ve finally blethered all these excuses out of my system, I’m pretty sure a third novel will surface. I’m also pretty sure it will still be YA because I can’t resist writing teenagers – they’re the absolute best.

Truth Be Told by Sue Divin is out now in paperback (£7.99, Macmillan Children’s Books)

With a Masters in Peace and Conflict studies and a day job in Community Relations/Peace building in Derry for over fifteen years, Sue’s writing often touches on diversity and reconciliation in today’s Northern Ireland. Her first novel, Guard Your Heart, was shortlisted for the 2019 Caledonia Novel Award, was a Finalist in the Irish Novel Fair 2019 and was longlisted in the Mslexia Children’s Novel Award.

Check out the rest of the blog tour!

About Caroline Fielding

Chartered School Librarian, CILIP YLG London Chair, Bea-keeper

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