Who are we?
"the3percenters" is a writer’s collective and publishing partnership formed to promote emerging writers. It originated in a group of writers associated with the annual Dalkey Creates writing festival.
Who are we?
the3percenters is an authors' collective and publishing partnership formed to promote emerging writers. The group were originally associated with the annual Dalkey Creates Writing Festival.
was born in London and lives in Greystones with her husband and Noggin-the-dog, both of whom love to walk! A professionally trained pianist, she decided to instead pursue a career in the National Health Service and has drawn on both experiences to write her first novel – a psychological thriller set in the world of music and medicine.
writes crime fiction with a psychological twist, drawing upon her practice as a psychotherapist to create complex plots and engaging characters. In 2018, she was selected as a finalist in the Irish Writer’s Centre Novel Fair for her novel Remember Me, and her short story Vainglorious Bastard was published in Sins, New Irish Crime Stories. In 2019, her crime novel I Will Make You Pay was published by Joffe Books, becoming an immediate bestseller.
His first two novels were children’s fantasy thrillers set in seventeenth century London and were followed by a novel on abusive control. His short stories include supernatural, crime, and historical fiction. He is currently working on his poetry anthology and a novel on corporate intrigue.
worked as a freelance writer and editor for magazines in the United States before moving to Ireland in 2001. Her short story ‘The Other Woman’ was published in Storytellers, New Writing from Ireland in 2017. She is in the process of completing a collection of short stories entitled Body on the Beach.
About our third book
BETRAYAL. BLACKMAIL. DECEPTION. MURDER. REVENGE.
Sinners is the third enthralling anthology of new crime writing from the3percenters.
A chance meeting on a luxury cruise liner triggers a series of terrifying events. Craving the approval of his aloof father, a young boy sets in motion the destruction of his whole family. A woman sits opposite a mass-murderer on a train, only to discover she is to become his next victim. Somebody must pay when a victim loses her husband, her reputation and her business.
'The sinner is never beautiful.’ —Lalita Vistara.
LAUNCH DATE : FEBRUARY 2022
Sinners is available online and in selected bookshops
VENGEFUL. DECEITFUL. SPITEFUL. SINFUL
About our second book
Following the success of SINS, New Irish Crime Stories, the seven writers from the3percenters take us back to the dark side of life. Edited by Ferdia Mac Anna, these new stories hit new highs in crime fiction while bringing us new lows in human behaviour. SINFUL is the second in a scheduled trilogy of short story collections from the3percenters.
Seven deadly writers, each with their own distinctive voice.
TOGETHER THEY ARE - SINFUL
An evil presence stalks the Irish countryside. A debt collector receives a most unwelcome present. An aggrieved farmer, cheated of his inheritance, develops a taste for killing. A once-besotted lover turns to revenge.
LAUNCH DATE : 9th OCTOBER 2019
Available online and and in selected bookshops
About our first book...
PRIDE, ENVY, GLUTTONY, LUST, ANGER, GREED, SLOTH
Seven Deadly Sins. Eleven Killer Stories.
Nothing matches the Power of Seven. In this anthology, seven writers tempt you with a modern take on the Seven Deadly Sins, unleashing eleven riveting new crime stories, edited by Ferdia Mac Anna.
Take a walk on the dark side.
A woman seduces her boss and considers murdering his wife. A case of mistaken identity leads to disastrous consequences. An unexpected visitor arrives with a camera but takes more than photos. A bitter sixth-former at an English public school exacts the ultimate revenge.
Published : OCTOBER 2018
Available online and in selected bookshops
Stellar Review for the3percenters and our new book - SINNERS
Ferdia Mac Anna
is a novelist, film director, screenwriter and lecturer. He has written three novels, The Last of the High Kings (made into a Hollywood movie starring Jared Leto, Gabriel Byrne and Christina Ricci), The Ship Inspector and Cartoon City. His films include All About Eva (2016), and Danny Boy (2019).
‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’
Thursday, 3rd May 2012 should have been like any other normal day for me. Alarm at 6.15a.m. Shower. Breakfast, then commute to work for a 7.45a.m. start. The alarm went off as usual but this time it was a different type of wake up call. My life was about to change, completely.
I wasn’t able to lift my head from the pillow. My whole body felt like a dead weight and I had no control over it. I lay there in shock, fear and silence until eventually my wife woke and realised something was wrong. Why was I still in bed?
It took six months to get a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / ME after which point I made the decision to retire from work at the age of fifty six. No one could tell me if I would be able to work again. My consultant said,
‘We don’t know what causes it. We don’t know what cures it. All we do know is that yoga helps.’
Following two years with little or no energy, twice weekly physio sessions to release muscle spasm and constant headaches, I started to realise that my illness was beginning to define me as an individual. I wasn’t going to let that happen. It was time to re-engage with the real world both physically and mentally. In addition to my regular yoga classes, I started going to the gym with a personal trainer and I also joined a writing group.
After an initial stint at Carousel Creates in Rathfarnham, I followed up by joining a group in Dalkey where Ferdia Mac Anna was our mentor. We were an eclectic mix of 10/12 individuals who met weekly with a variety of reasons for being there but we all had one common trait. An ability and willingness to tell stories. I had spent much of my working life writing reports and speeches; preparing presentations for myself and for others and all in the Financial Services arena.
I had been involved in the world of theatre in my early years and in a way this new experience felt like coming full circle. The environment was a place to relax, to share, to be fulfilled. Reading my own work aloud and listening to the work of others was invigorating.
Over a number of years the participants came and went but a core group emerged and a bond of trust and friendship was formed. October 2017 saw the publication of ‘Storytellers’ New Writing From Ireland, edited by Anna Fox. I had a couple of stories in it along with nineteen writers from the Dalkey writing group. It felt good to be in print. To have work published. And so when Ferdia suggested that a few of us should consider following up with a book of short stories, crime stories, we were very interested.
Initially we were ten and when the plan was finally put together to form a partnership and self-publish three books over three years we ended up with seven writers in the ‘collective’. Over a coffee in Dalkey we came up with a name for the group.
‘97% of what gets written never gets published.’
‘Then we will be ‘the3percenters’.
Simple as that. We got our website organised (www.the3percenters.ie) , opened a twitter account and set up a Facebook presence. With the help of Vanessa Fox-O’Loughlin from writing.ie and under the watchful and critical eye of Ferdia Mac Anna we delivered ‘SINS, New Irish Crime Stories’ in 2018 and ‘SINFUL’ in 2019. Covid meant we had to reschedule our third book and as a result, ‘SINNERS’ will be published in early February 2022. During the lockdown we continued bi-weekly meetings on zoom and in addition to delivering the stories for our next publication, we helped each other with the development of our own novels. I am heading into the fourth re-write of my own novel and hope to publish during 2022/23.
Joining a writing group back in 2015 was one of the best decisions I ever made. My life could have gone in many directions because of my state of health at the time. Thankfully, I found myself in the company of individuals that I grew to trust and confide in. From this too came the opportunity to develop my skills as a ‘storyteller’ in a creative space as against the work environment that I had been more accustomed to.
Yoga and meditation brought a new calmness into my life. My personal trainer along with regular visits to the gym and swimming pool helped improve my physical health. Being a member of ‘the3percenters’ collective was a key component in underpinning my mental health.
There is a saying ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. I believe that and I can look back now to 3rd May 2012 and that fateful morning when I couldn’t lift my head from the pillow. My life changed in so many ways and new challenges emerged that I had to deal with. I still struggle with many of them today but, overall, my life is more fulfilled as a result.
‘Had I a guardian angel called Serendipity?’
As a child growing up in London I loved reading and listening to stories my parents told me: Mum walking to school through streets devastated by the Blitz; Dad, barely eighteen years old, sleeping on a pile of shells on a landing craft headed for the beaches of Normandy; and how they fell in love at first sight when they met at their local operatic society. I inherited their passion for music and aged eleven won a junior scholarship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where I studied piano with some of the finest teachers in England.
When I was seventeen my family moved to Malvern, a sleepy little country town in Worcestershire. I gave up my dream of becoming a concert pianist and took a degree in business administration. I eventually joined the NHS as a hospital manager and met my husband, Chris, becoming stepmother to his three small sons. The years that followed were happy and fulfilling, until, in his early fifties, Chris was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Against the odds, and with the help of an amazing medical team, he lived for a further six years, but in February 2013, a couple of weeks after his fifty-eighth birthday, Chris died peacefully at home.
During his illness Chris often said that he hoped I would find another love after he died and asked me to promise that I would be open to it. I pushed that promise to the back of my mind as I struggled to navigate the alien landscape of widowhood. Everyone tells you that the first year is the worst, punctuated by sad landmarks such as birthdays and anniversaries, but as 2014 began, my grief intensified and I felt I would never be happy again. What followed was a series of coincidences so extraordinary I began to wonder whether I had a guardian angel called Serendipity.
That summer I went to Dublin with friends to attend the World Flower Show at the RDS. Whilst visiting the beautiful gardens of Powerscourt and Kilruddery I felt an almost imperceptible lightening of mood and for the first time since Chris died felt hopeful. I vowed that day to return and see more of Ireland.
The following year, a close friend persuaded me to join an internet dating site telling me ‘You need to test the water. It’ll be an experience’. A man called Rory contacted me. He was attractive and his profile was interesting, but he was from Dublin. How could such a long distance relationship ever work? As my finger hovered over the delete button another message from Rory pinged onto the screen. He was refreshingly honest and, like me, he had baggage, but I decided to reply. We emailed daily for the next few weeks before arranging to speak on the phone. It was like chatting with an old friend. He asked me where I lived. ‘Solihull,’ I replied, ‘It’s not far from Birmingham.’ ‘How strange,’ he said, ‘My first wife lives in Solihull’. ‘What is her name?‘ I asked, surprised. A minute later, I was reeling with shock as I realised that I knew her and that she had been Chris’ first schoolboy crush. Was this wrong or were the stars aligning?
Six months later, completely in love, I moved to Ireland. Our first home was an apartment in Dalkey overlooking the station at the front and Maeve Binchy’s house at the back. The place felt magical and full of possibility, but I missed my piano and itched for a creative outlet. A couple of months later, queuing in the bank, I picked up a leaflet advertising the Dalkey Creates Writing Festival. Someone tapped my shoulder and turning I saw a young woman with a lovely smile. ‘Are you a writer?’ she said, ‘You look like a writer.’ She was Anna Fox, founder of the festival.
I attended a workshop for beginners and loved it so much that I signed up for weekly class at The Magpie run by Ferdia Mac Anna. Ferdia proved to be an inspirational teacher and the attendees were interesting, friendly, and, without exception, talented writers.
Anna gave me the first opportunity to be published in Storytellers for which I wrote a story about a woman who takes revenge on an ex-lover. Then Ferdia challenged the group to produce an anthology of crime stories. Seven of us formed an authors’ collective and publishing partnership which we named the3percenters derived from the statistic that only three percent of writers complete their novels. We met regularly, reading our work out loud and providing constructive criticism and encouragement to each other. It was a proud moment in 2018 when I held my copy of Sins which included two of my stories. Rory and I had married earlier that year and moved to Greystones, just a stone’s throw from Kilruddery and Powerscourt. Serendipity was keeping me on my toes.
Sinful followed in 2019, including my story Goodbye Bella Bailey. We used the 2020 lockdown to write or complete novels. By the end of the year I had written a psychological thriller called The Possibility of Love. A novella entitled The Last Trance inspired by my honeymoon cruise will be published next year in our third crime anthology entitled Sinners.
I now live in our forever home in Greystones with Rory, a baby grand piano and a puppy called Noggin. The3percenters are amongst my dearest friends and I am working on my second novel. Thank you Serendipity!
‘I still bear a grudge against Pinkie the Interloper.’
I was born and brought up in Edinburgh, in Scotland, and have since lived there and in London, Paris and New York for varying lengths of time, before moving to Dublin in the 1970s.
I cannot trace a thread in my story that leads to me writing. If there is one thing that distinguishes someone who wants to write from someone who does not have that urge, I can’t find it. This is my attempt at finding a thread.
Our house was always full of books, which I began to devour: a series of classics bound in blue leather and my mother’s library books, all crime fiction, as well as every children’s book I could lay my hands on. When I was around 14 or 15 years old, Jim Haynes opened a bookshop in Edinburgh, The Paperback Bookshop. He was famous for being part of the American ‘Underground’ and was also one of the people who launched the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. Jutting from the outside of the shop onto the pavement was the enormous head of a rhinoceros, a reference to Eugene Ionesco’s play of the same name, I later discovered. I was smitten with the place and used to hang around, hoping Jim would talk to me and offer me a cup of coffee, which he often did not. It was in the early 1960s, and everyone who frequented the place dressed in black, the men with beards and the women with dark eye makeup and pale faces and looked like Juliette Greco. I longed not just to be like them, but to be them and started dressing all in black. They were exotic and romantic and discussed books and writers. I didn’t know what they were talking about, but they were heroic to me. I had no thoughts of writing myself then, though in my head I described in detail everything that happened there, and quite a few things that didn’t happen. I made them up, to make me heroic also.
When I was around 19, I went to Paris for a year to learn French. I ended up living in the Shakespeare and Company bookshop for six months. George Whitman, Walt Whitman’s nephew, the proprietor asked me to be a ‘house mother,’ which involved cleaning up every night after the shop closed, and bringing coffee, coke and cigarettes to George, who, to my knowledge ingested nothing else except porridge for breakfast that I would also bring him. I also had to clean out his spittoon and his ashtrays. But I got to sleep in the single bed in a room with books everywhere, up to the ceiling. It was heaven. My other job in Paris at the time was selling The New York Times on the street.
One Thanksgiving, George made pecan pie. I had barely heard of Thanksgiving, let alone pecan pie. So exotic! Just as he handed me a plate with the pie, some cream and a fork, the door from the street opened with a ringing of the bell at the top, and a young beautiful woman came in, all blond curls and smiles to George. He whipped the plate with the pie from my hands and handed it to her. “Pinkie, darling, have some pie. Happy Thanksgiving!” and he hustled her off to another part of the shop without a glance in my direction. Later he told me Pinkie was Lawrence Durrell’s daughter, as though his snatching my pie was quite justified. It was almost 60 years ago, but I still bear a grudge against Pinkie the Interloper and I can’t say I have much time for Lawrence Durrell either, though it was hardly his fault.
I went to Trinity College Dublin to study French and Italian literature in my forties and subsequently got a job as an abstract writer in a publishing company. I was required to read articles in art and design magazines and reduce each one to six lines. This taught me how to be spare with language and I think helped me keep to a point without too much fluff. I then worked as a proof-reader and sub-editor in newspapers and magazines. I wrote a tree column for Village Magazine.
It was only about 15 years ago that I decided that all the narration going on in my head could be written down. I showed a friend a small piece I had written years before and she sent me the phone number of the Writers’ Centre. There was a class beginning almost immediately and I joined and started writing, mostly short stories, the odd poem and the start of a couple or three novels.
I wrote lots of short stories and then joined Ferdia Mac Anna’s writing class in Dalkey, where I met the group now known as the 3percenters. We have published two anthologies of short crime fiction, Sins and Sinful, and have now finished a third, Sinners, which is to be published in February 2022.
‘The type of people you hope to meet at a party but rarely do.’
Growing up in the shadow of Windsor Castle, and having spent most of my time looking out the window at school, it may come as no surprise that my first job was working for Her Majesty The Queen at the Royal Gardens. I was paid the sum of two shillings and seven pence-halfpenny an hour.
I moved on to make inert batteries, load and unload trucks and, eventually, to assemble D-Series trucks at Ford Langley. During this time, I was studying to qualify as an accountant.
I had been working in Switzerland, a country I liked. During this time, I was offered a post working for an Australian corporate to set up a company to provide treasury services to their European businesses. This new company had to be based for tax efficiency in either Switzerland, the Netherlands, or Ireland. My wife, Esther, wanted to return to her home country of Ireland. So, Ireland it was.
Writing fiction came by accident. I was having lunch in the Corner Note with my wife, Esther, when we saw a flyer for the Dalkey Creates Writing Festival. I suggested she enrol on one of the festival workshops and she in turn goaded me to enrol for one as well. I so enjoyed the workshop I booked up for a six week workshop every Thursday morning in the upper room of the Magpie with Ferdia Mac Anna as the tutor. These Magpie sessions were magical and I booked up for more. The group members, and it was a shifting membership as some would drop out and others join, wrote their own unique fiction in their own unique style. And what they wrote was good. I sometimes wondered if I was the only one there who needed the workshop. But most of all they were an interesting, diverse, unique bunch. The type of people you hope to meet at a party but rarely do.
A group of us founded ‘the3percenters’ to carry on writing and provide a vehicle for some of our work to be published in anthologies of crime based short stories. The group operates on the basis of mutual respect, honesty, and ability to openly critic each other’s work honestly without hesitation. Having a reliable and critical audience has given me confidence in my writing and encouragement to continue.
To date I have completed two children’s fantasy thrillers set in seventeen century London and a novel on abusive control. Short stories include supernatural, crime, and historical fiction. I am currently working on a poetry anthology and a novel on corporate intrigue.
Do I aspire to be a great writer? No. I aspire to be a great storyteller because the only time I enjoyed school was when the teacher sat down and read a story.
‘I like to beat on them m***********s!’
I grew up on the plains of West Limerick; the only notable point of interest on that flat, featureless expanse being the chimneys of the cement factory in Mungret. I attended university in Limerick, where my first published writing was a student column in The Limerick Weekly Echo. I managed to severely annoy Dr Edward Walshe, president of the university – I even get a mention in his autobiography. Apologies, belated though they may be, Dr Walshe. I also wrote some very bad jokes for the rag mag.
My business career was spent in finance and corporate strategy. In the latter role, I wrote one-hundred-thousand-word documents that few people actually read, and then only the executive summary and whatever section they felt required changing. Excellent training for an aspiring novelist; I learned (1) never to take apathy, rejection or criticism personally and (2) how to edit and re-edit (and re-edit some more).
I fell in with the happy band of 3percenters, through Anna Fox and the sadly now defunct Dalkey Creates festival, when one of my stories won the festival’s 2016 short story prize. We got to know each other through the writing workshops that Ferdia MacAnna ran in Dalkey, and we further benefitted from his mentoring as editor of the Sins series, now in it’s third iteration.
There is a story, no doubt apocryphal, that speaks to why I particularly like writing crime stories. During the golden age of heavyweight boxing in the 1970’s, the journalist George Plimpton interviewed the great fighters of the time, interested in their motivation for participating in such a cruel sport. Ali said that he wanted to be a symbol for his oppressed people. Ken Norton was attracted by the athleticism and technique (Brainy Ken knew his St Emilion from his St Julien). George Foreman – this is seventies’ Ass-Whuppin’ George not oughties’ Home-grillin’ George – was succinct, ‘I like to beat on them, (not his precise words), persons who fornicate with their mothers.’
I’m not really one for whodunits; I like my crime raw and red. The writers I return to are American or Scottish, Ellroy, Higgins, Highsmith, Himes, Rankin, Sallis and Welsh. Apart from Lisa McInerney, Patrick McCabe and Kevin Barry I don’t read much Irish fiction, crime or otherwise. The house of Irish literature reminds me of the crumbling country mansions of my Limerick youth, ageing, timid men polishing their medals in the parlour and planning to write the Henry James novel that Henry James never got around to writing, while keeping the drapes drawn tight against the shrieking feminists besieging the sheltering walls.
Above all, writing fiction is fun. With morale boosting moments, like being shortlisted for the Irish Writer’s Centre Novel Fair in 2018 (along with 3percenter colleague Caroline Bale) and having a non-crime story included in the 2020 Fish anthology. Also, when you are part of something as special as our group, writing is a jolly companionable thing.
‘I have always loved a good story.’
I grew up on St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands at 45 kilometres at its longest point and 11 kilometres at its widest. And while it was a paradise, one that I never fully appreciated until I left, it was small and isolated. Television was limited in both airtime and channels, and lagged months behind the mainland releases. My sisters and I turned to books for entertainment and an idea of a world outside our tropical environment.
When it came time for college, I wanted to study English but was advised by both my parents and college advisor that journalism would provide a better possibility for employment while still allowing me to write stories. With a degree in journalism I went into the workforce honing my writing skills in a variety of roles for non-profits, government agencies, media, and finally in the corporate environment. And while all these positions – writing and editing; public relations; and marketing and communications – made me a better writer, none of them offered a true outlet to satisfy my creative passion. I went back to university at night to study film and do a master’s in communications. I also volunteered at the local public television station and served on the board of a media arts centre in Atlanta, Georgia.
When I arrived in Ireland almost 20 years ago, I decided to take a break from my stressful corporate career in technology. One year turned into 14 as my husband and I started a family. During these years, my favourite nights were my monthly book club meetings. I loved the opportunity to discuss stories with friends – what we liked, what we didn’t like, how we related to the characters. By the time my oldest child started secondary school, I had more free time. This time was sacred, and I wanted to spend it doing something I loved. I convinced a few friends to join up with me on a number of creative writing courses through the UCD Adult Education program. It opened a whole new world, and I looked forward to those weekly classes and the excitement of storytelling and dissecting both my work and others to determine how and what made a compelling narrative.
On a trip to Dalkey, I came across the Dalkey Creates Festival, run by Anna Fox. It was 2014 and there were talented authors reading work and talking about their writing process. Anna offered a class entitled How to Write with Confidence and Craft. I took the leap and signed up. Beginning of January 2016, I attended my first class with Ferdia Mac Anna upstairs in The Magpie Inn.
It was rewarding and I am forever grateful that I scrounged up the courage to walk up those stairs and join that motley crew of writers. Those attending were from different backgrounds and ages varied. Some had no experience writing, while others had been toying around with novels, short stories, poems, and autobiographies. Ferdia had a gentle touch, coaxing the best out of everyone with his positive feedback and constructive advice for improvement.
I continued to take the classes over the next few years and felt my confidence grow with each writing prompt. Anna gave us the opportunity to submit a story for an anthology of work that had been created through the writing classes. The Other Woman became my first published story. It is a part of a series that I hope to one day publish.
The biggest challenge became what do with all the content we created. Within our group we started discussions on how to put together our own anthology of work to understand the process of becoming a published author. Ferdia was instrumental in guiding us through the editorial slant and agreed to act as the editor for the publication. We set up a consortium with a bank account, applied for ISBN numbers, found an editor to typeset and publish the work, secured a copy editor to clean up the stories, and a printer to publish the book. In retrospect, there was a great deal of work that went into the initial book, Sins. On our launch night, we were all proud authors with a book in hand.
The second book, Sinful, was an easier process. We had been through the steps before. We were able to focus on our storytelling and more comfortable with giving feedback and encouragement having grown closer through the first project. We were confident in our ability. Consequently, our second anthology was a stronger set of work. And now we are at the denouement of our experiment. In the meantime, we endured a pandemic and we have all had our personal challenges. This project and the tenacious spirit of our group has carried me through the dark days of lockdowns and worry over my family here and back in the US. We worked on our submissions for our third book, Sinners, as well as other projects. Personally, I have a few short stories written that are not in the crime genre, a children’s novel completed and am working on a crime noir novel. We have supported each other every step of the way – critiquing each other’s work, bouncing ideas off one another, sharing writing tips, or just being there for each other when we struggle. Each member of the 3 percenters has been a teacher, a colleague, a therapist and a friend and my stories are all the better for it.