I have a great interest in psychology. My mother is a psychotherapist and my step-dad was a Jungian analyst. I learnt very early on that no one’s story is too weird or too strange. And that everyone, without exception, has a shadow side. This has always fascinated me and it is something I strive to explore in my writing. The theory goes, the more awareness you have of your shadow the less power it has over you.

Author Senta Rich Image Miles Rich O'Shea

Author Senta Rich Image Miles Rich O'Shea

My first experience of writing for other people was when I was fourteen and I started writing what can only be described as ‘sexy stories’. I wrote these on note paper stapled together and passed them out to my classmates. They quickly did the rounds at school and at one point I had about six in circulation. A few years later, I became ashamed of these stories and burnt them. And I’m sad about that, because I would love to read them now. I’m sure they would make me cry laughing.

I love to write about real lives. You don’t have to be really successful, rich, powerful, super talented or saving the planet to be an exceptional person. In Hotel 21, all the cleaners are exceptional people. 

My older sister is one of the funniest people I know and we’re very close. But she’s also one of the biggest pranksters I know too. One time, when I was seven and she was eleven, she went away for the weekend. Before she left she told me she had seen a wild horse on the golf course which backed onto the bottom of our garden. We both love horses. I spent the whole weekend in a too tight riding hat and too small riding boots, standing on the edge of the golf course calling ‘horsey, horsey’. When she returned and told me she’d only been joking about the horse, I was gutted. But, to this day, I love that I believed her and spent the weekend living in hope that I would find a wild horse and ride it across the golf course.

I’m prone to the giggles. And the more of an excruciatingly embarrassing situation it is to have the giggles, the harder it is for me to stop. It’s terribly juvenile, no one appreciates it and I’m not proud of it. But we are who we are.

My friends as a teenager were the most important people in the world to me. I don’t know where I would be without them and I’m eternally grateful for their friendship. There was a real sense that we were all in the chaos together. I’m going to write about them all one day and they’ve already given me permission.

I did Karate for six years and I am one grade below a black belt. This may or may not sound impressive and the truth is, it’s not, not to those in the karate world anyway. Being black belt merely means you’re ready to begin training properly. I once said to my sensei that I felt,  if it came to it, I could defend myself if I had to. He put his head in his hands and said: ‘No, no, no. If you’re ever in a situation like that, please turn around and run as fast as you can.’  Hard truths can save lives.

The Book

Noelle is an efficient, friendly hotel cleaner. She impresses managers. She avoids conflict.

And she steals from the guests…

Noelle is a model employee. Or so she’d have you think. The trouble is that she can’t help taking a little ‘souvenir’ as she cleans the hotels where she works. Nothing of value, just tokens of happy, normal lives: a lipstick, a hair clip, some tweezers. And by the time the guest has noticed, she’s long gone.

As she starts at her 21st hotel, she’s determined to beat her record of one month in a five star hotel before suspicion falls on her. But when she meets her new colleagues, her plans are complicated. These women aren’t just hands pushing carts down lonely hotel corridors: they are women with lives full of happiness and worry, pain and joy. The kind of lives Noelle has never known how to live. They make her wonder what it might be like to have real friends, people to stick around for…

Will the women at Hotel 21 give her the courage to claim the life she deserves?

The Author

Senta Rich began her career as an advertising copywriter. During this time she also wrote radio plays and articles for magazines. As soon as she could she left advertising and moved into the world of film and TV. She currently writes for TV shows in Ireland and the UK, including drama and animation. Her work has featured on RTE, BBC, CBEEBIES, Amazon Prime and other international and European networks. She also has a feature film in development. Hotel 21 is her first novel.

Senta has a BA (Hons) in Philosophy from Liverpool University. She has a strong background and interest in psychology with particular emphasis on Jungian psychology. She is originally from London but now lives in Dublin with her husband and son.

Senta Rich latest novel Hotel 21 is out 27th April Bloomsbury Publishing | Hardback | £14.99 EBook | £10.49 | Audio | £23.99

Our Opinion

We can honestly say we loved the women and felt for Noelle. That she found them in Hotel 21 hotel, with a determined and stubborn love for Noelle makes us tick this as modern feel-good read that we are glad to have discovered.

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