There was a moment in the existence of Patricia Gibney in which they joined a desire, survive after the cataclysm, and a means, writing. Her peaceful middle-class life had been cut short earlier when her husband Aidan was diagnosed with cancer. He died three months later, in 2010. "It was devastating. He was a soldier, a strong man, and in three months he was gone, "Gibney tells EL PAÍS. "At the beginning writing was a therapy, a mechanism to control and endure, to make sense of life. The pain of Lottie Parker is largely my pain, "she says calmly, the suffering far away or controlled, to explain where this police that stars in her first novel comes from, The missing children, published this week by Principal (translation by Luz Achaval Barral and Albert Martí)
I do not get tired or afraid to do it. I write and edit all the time and I love that
Lottie Parker is also a woman who has become a widow, who does not control her life, who tries, like her creator, to raise her children. He works as a policeman in a quiet town in the heart of Ireland where in the space of a few hours there are two violent deaths. That is the thread that Gibney pulls to tell, with police rhythm, the consequences of the regime of terror, abuse and impunity, which enjoyed the Catholic Church for decades in his country. "It was horrible. People feared the Church and if someone dared to denounce the priest was transferred to another diocese, where he continued with the abuses. The cover-up was done from above and there has never been a desire to know the truth, "he says.
The Church has lost influence, but everything is still very hidden and they have not really asked for forgiveness
But there were also many people who concealed from the outside, who fell silent, citizens who had nothing to do with the Church, oblivious to any abuse. How is that explained? "Because of fear. Now it is difficult to understand the power that the priests had. They were gods. That's how we were educated. Only now they are raising voices "explains Gibney, who got involved in the issue dragged by the current situation in his country. "You also see the economic crisis through the characters. Always through the characters. I did not want to make a pamphlet, or a statement; This is fiction and what I want is to tell a story, "he hastens to clarify.
There remains an inevitable question. Has anything really changed? "In the recent visit of the Pope there have been huge protests and far fewer people at Masses. The Church has lost influence, but everything is still very hidden and they have not really lost their forgiveness, "he laments.
In The missing children plays a central role Saint Angela, a kind of orphanage in which children snatched from their mothers were systematically mistreated. Meanwhile, the progenitors were in a forced labor regime, says Gibney. "It was the way families had to cleanse their shame," he adds.
There is an accelerated learning process in all that Gibney does, which also turned to writing schools when he got stuck. "Finish your novel It was an essential course for me, it helped me a lot, especially to stop going back continuously, "he says. In the novel there are moments in which the author sees how the information is dosed too much, something that leaves in bad place in some moments the protagonist, a brilliant and powerful police. "It's human, things are missing. That's why he does not realize it before, "says Gibney, who is kneeling when he is presented with a concrete example, something essential that Parker must have seen much earlier. "Yes, I was afraid to give too much information at the beginning. Also, here the characters are present all the time because they help me a lot with the structure. Then I have been improving that. I do not know if you recognize this very often, "he says without apparent discomfort. "But, of course, black genre readers are deductive minds. It is a risk that must be taken ", ends this fan of Val McDermid, John Connolly or Ian Rankin and his character John Rebus, of whom Lottie Parker has influences.
The novel is part of a series of seven books of which three have already been published in the Anglo-Saxon market. The sales success has led Gibney to be a writer without books published in 2016 to get two a year. Do you have time? Are you not afraid of repeating yourself, of getting tired of the characters? "I do not get tired or afraid to do it. I write and edit all the time and I love that. And I have a great team with me, "he says, aware that his series is a product designed to operate in a saturated market, comfortably installed in a world that arrived before yesterday, when his life changed forever.