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Catherine Ryan Howard Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Distress Signals (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Catherine Ryan Howard is a thriller writer that hails from Cork, Ireland. Her debut novel and best known work is “Distress Signals” that she published in 2016. The highly popular and critically acclaimed novel went on to win and be shortlisted for many prestigious awards such as the WA John Creasey New Blood Dagger, and the Independent Press Awards Best Mystery of 2017. In 2017, Jet Stone Media announced that it had optioned the title which is to be adapted into a TV series. Before embarking on a full-time writing career, Howard was a front desk agent for Walt Disney, Florida, a travel administrator in Holland, and a campsite courier in France. She had always wanted to pursue a professional writing career ever since as a child she came to realize that actual people wrote the books that she loved. She remembers being about 6 or 7 when her teacher would read aloud from books while seated on her desk, and hold out the pages so that they could see the pictures. Back home, she would have her Barbie dolls and teddy bears in conference, climb up on her table, and read to them just like her teacher. As such, the argument may be made that she has been telling stories long before she could even write. Her first foray into writing proper was when she self-published two light-hearted travel novels, detailing her experiences working in Europe and the United States.

Before Catherine made it as an author, she was brazenly obsessed with writers, recorded their interviews on TV, and clipped magazine interviews of them. She also read tens of books on how to write and get published, but never got to writing anything for years. Her first attempt at publishing was a terrible young adult novel on the theme of studying for a Leaving Certificate that she hated. She would also write an F1 themed three chapter thriller she titled “Chequered Flag”, and a similarly bad 5000 words about the struggles of an NYPD detective trying to make sense of the 9/11 attacks. She would surprise herself when she finally finished her first piece of writing – a nonfiction work that she wrote while she was in Orlando. In 2006, Ryan Howard moved to Orlando, Florida to work at Disney World, and in 2008 returned home and decided to write about her experiences stateside. But no publisher wanted to touch her travel memoir either as they said that it was an enjoyable read but it had no market. With no one willing to publish “Mousetrapped” she decided to self-publish it. It was a time when self-publishing was in its infancy, but with nothing to lose since all she needed to so was upload the novel on Amazon, it was the most viable path. It was not long before the novel took off thanks to her blogging and social media efforts, which made the novel sell more than 10,000 copies a few months after publication.

The idea for her first novel was given to her by her mother who has the habit of giving out links to articles and newspaper clippings, that she believes you would like. In 2012, she gave Howard a copy of the Guardian’s magazine that had the story of a British Disney employee that had gone missing from a Disney cruise ship. It was an interesting article that turned the notion of a cruise ship as a place full of relaxation, buffets, cocktails, tropical beaches, and sunshine on its head. Doing more research online, she was shocked to learn that a cruise ship was the perfect setting for a how to get away with murder story. That is when she got the epiphany and of how she had been going wrong with her publishing ambitions. She had been trying to write a funny and lighthearted women’s fiction, when she loved to read intricate detective thrillers, which is what she also needed to write. Concrete ideas began to form in the back of her mind, including how the ship would set out from Cork before a woman disappeared from the ship on the high seas of the Mediterranean. She sat down to write the novel and almost heard an audible click as she churned out the bestselling novel “Distress Signals”. Having struggled to find a publisher, she started her own blog “Caffeinated”, where she teaches upcoming authors on how to self-publish. Her self-publishing story has featured on The Marian Finucane Show, Newstalk, and BBC Radio Ulster.

“Mousetrapped” is a hilarious novel about the year and a half sojourn of an Irish girl that got a job in Walt Disney in Orlando, Florida – supposedly the happiest place on Earth. With a J-1 visa, two Mouse Ears, and three big dreams, what more could one need in the quest for happiness. It is a dream for Catherine Ryan Howard to exchange the gloomy climate of Ireland for the Sunshine of Orlando, where she will work at Disney World and get a chance to see a Space Shuttle launch. She dreams of a skinnier version of herself spending her mornings by the pool, and her weekends on the sandy beaches. But it is not long before the dream is shredded as she learns that pixie dust is not that common and in between the world-famous theme parks, the heat and monotonous mall clusters, getting straight hair is almost impossible. It is a humorous take on the working of Walt Disney’s empire, the Ebola virus, Space Shuttle launches, humidity challenged hair, Bruce Willis, and the religious themed parks of Miami.

“Distress Signals” is the explosive debut thriller from one of the most exciting thriller writers to emerge from the UK in recent times. When Sarah, Adam Dunne’s girlfriend does not return from a business trip to Barcelona, his entire life is thrown into disarray. Things get even worse when days later he gets a letter in the post with a passport and note that starts out with I’m sorry. Alarm bells ringing in his head, he vows to do whatever is in his power to find out just where his girlfriend has disappeared to. The plot thickens when he learns that Sarah had been on a cruise ship christened Celebrate. The cruise ship has the dubious honor of being the very same ship that had a woman named Estelle disappear never to be seen or heard from again, about a year before. To unravel the mystery he needs to come to terms with some unpalatable truths about his relationship with his most likely deceased girlfriend. He may be forced into doing things that he never thought he would ever do, while trying to match the cunning of a predator that seems to have stumbled upon the perfect hunting spot.

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