Claire Allan Interview
Posted on 23 March 2007. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
WriteWords talks to Claire Allan, aka WriteWords member Lola Dane
Tell us all about your writing background- what you've written, what you're currently writing
I've been a journalist for almost nine years and a writer, albeit a very haphazard one, for a lot longer.My first novel, 'Rainy Days and Tuesday' is set for release in July of this year and I'm currently working on book two, 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered.'
I'm a journalist for a provincial title in Northern Ireland. I think the discipline of working to deadline, and not overloading stories with unnecessary information does help when it comes to writing fiction. I see my writing now as a creative outlet after spending all day keeping it factual at work.
How did you start writing?
Properly? I started in early 2006. I challenged myself to write the book I always wanted to before I turned 30 - which was due to happen in June - so I sat down and became completely obsessed with my cast of characters and wrote my book over six months. It was one of the most exhilerating experiences of my life.
Who are your favourite writers and why?
It's perhaps no surprise that my favourite author is Marian Keyes. I love (and respect) how she mixeds humour with serious issues which makes for very readable and yet meaningful books. I also like that she makes no apologies for writing popular fiction for women.
How did you get your first agent/ commission?
I was exceptionally lucky. In May I submitted the first three chapters of 'Rainy Days...' to Ger Nichol of the Book Bureau. It wasn't even finished then and it definitely wasn't all that polished. I sent a few other submissions out in late June but it was Ger who eventually made me the offer to represent me in August- showing remarkable faith in what I had done. By December she had negotiated my four book deal with Poolbeg (where Marian Keyes started!) and I was over the moon. I grew up reading Poolbeg books.
What's the worst thing about writing?
Finding the time! As a full time journalist and also a mother of a three year old it can be hard to find time. Alongside that, when I'm really into the writing process I find it hard to switch the characters off in my head. They are always fighting to get out- so at times I'm covering the local news fixtures, planning what to cook for the wee man's tea and trying to keep my MC quiet until I can actually sit down in front of the lap top.
And the best?
When the words are flowing and you know a scene is working! On a similar level, one of the most amazing experiences I've had as a writer is to read over a scene I've written after some time has passed and feel the emotions I've created on the page sweep over me as if for the first time.
Tell us what kind of responses you get from audiences\ readers.
I've a nice following of people who read my weekly opinion column 'Skirting the Issue'. Generally they like that I'm writing about real women, facing real issues. I think it is so important that your reader can take an element of what you have written and identify with what you are trying to do.
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