Self-published Leitrim crime writer wins award

Kevin McManus’s third novel Under the Red Winter Sky was judged by readers of readfree.ly to be the best crime book of 2017

Kevin McManus: hopes to secure a deal with a mainstream publisher

Kevin McManus: hopes to secure a deal with a mainstream publisher

 

An Irish crime writing novelist latest book has been voted one of the best self-published books of 2017. Kevin McManus’s third novel Under the Red Winter Sky was judged by the readers of the site readfree.ly to be the best crime book of last year.

It was also judged to be the fifth best book of the year by the American-based website which is dedicated solely to self-published books. Some 4,000 books worldwide were put forward for the awards.

McManus is a secondary school teacher from Carrigallen, Co Leitrim. He teaches history and geography in Drumshanbo Vocational School.

He previously published two novels, his debut The Whole of the Moon and Death Rains Down. Under the Red Winter Sky is a follow-up to The Whole of the Moon.

The Whole of the Moon is set in the winter of 1989 and 1990 and features Conor Doyle, a returned emigrant from London, who becomes mixed up in a murder in the fictional village of Ballinastrad in Co Sligo.

Under the Red Winter Sky takes up the story 30 years later with Doyle’s daughter Grainne about to marry the son of a retired movie director who has bought and renovated a large house on the outskirts of the village.

McManus said the recognition arising out of the readfree.ly award helped boost sales of Under the Red Winter Sky online. Most of his sales have been through Kindle, but there are print copies available mostly in local bookshops in the northwest.

His ultimate goal is to get a deal with a mainstream publisher. “There are thousands in the same boat as me in Ireland and beyond,” he said. “Without a big publisher behind you, you are fighting an uphill battle all the time.

“Sometimes it is about being in the right place at the right time. A lot of it is down to perseverance. You just keep writing and hope some day to get lucky.”

McManus said he writes most of his novels during the three-month summer holidays from teaching and his next novel will be the sequel to Death Rains Down, which was published last year.
Under the Red Winter Sky on Amazon

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