20140417_133701_resizedThe blurb for my first book said:

Claire McGowan grew up in a small village in Northern Ireland. After a degree in English and French from Oxford University she moved to London and worked in the charity sector.

I think that makes me sound either like the kind of country-bumpkin rube who’d drink from the fingerbowl in 80s restaurants, or a charmingly fresh ingenue to the literary scene. Take your pick.

I was indeed born in a small village in Ireland, at the tail-end of 1981, which means I’m 32 this year (or older if I forget to update this bit and you’re reading in the future….hi.). After spells in exciting places like France, Oxford, China, and Tunbridge Wells, I now live in a murdery part of London where I try not to antagonise my neighbours. The Paula Maguire series has been optioned for TV by BBC Drama. Which is nice.

I’m represented by Diana Beaumont at Rupert Heath. Please drop me a line on here or on Twitter – like many writers, I’ll do anything for a distraction. And I always write back!

You can get signed first edition hardbacks of my books from No Alibis in Belfast and           Goldsboro Books in London.

See me read from The Dead Ground at the Belfast Book Festival, 2014.

69 Responses to About

  1. Hi Claire,
    It was great to meet you yesterday at the lunch.My wife was very interested to hear about Peter James and the Brighton connection, and also your forthcoming book – she likes crime fiction with a different twist!
    Fascinating to meet so many writers in different genres – a real experience for me who has spent so much time mixing only with lawyers.
    Wishing you great success with both books!
    Robert Seymour (Charles Courtley is a pen-name).

  2. Sanjeev says:

    Hi Claire,
    I know your mum through work. She told me about your book. I shall be buying it. Best of Luck with the book. regards sanjeev

  3. Bronagh Vos (nee Williamson) says:

    Dear Claire,

    So dreams really do come true?!

    I was delighted to hear on the grapevine that your first book, The Fall, is due to be published early next year. I remember a very dedicated and determined young writer who couldn’t leave a good book down!

    As for country-bumpkin rube versus charmingly fresh ingenue: it is a tough one. I would have to say ‘charmingly fresh ingenue from a country-bumpkin village that never had an 80s restaurant’!

    Can’t wait for my copy to arrive!


  4. Nick Ball says:

    Hi Claire
    I’m a close friend of Rob Naylor’s. He’s been enthusing about you today. Just wanted to wish you well for The Fall, I’m really looking forward to it.

  5. Maeve Lambe says:

    Hi Claire
    Congratulations on the book’s publication from the Lough book club. Two copies ordered already by members – will past the news on to the others this Thursday. My daughter tells me word is already spreading around Sacred Heart about it We are all so excited to be connected. Wishing you every success


  6. Maeve says:

    Hi Claire
    Emma’s mum here. Best wishes on The Fall. Just ordered it today and really looking forward to the read. I’m so delighted that your dream of writing and having a book published has come true for you. You deserve it so much.
    Maeve Cole

  7. Chris says:

    Any plans for a US edition?

  8. Congrats on THE FALL. Found aout about it from the CAP interview. Best of luck, and I look forward to giving it a read!

  9. Hi Claire – Bronagh Vos (Williamson) sent me a link on the Rostrevor News facebook page, we are doing some promo work free of charge for local businesses and local people in business, so I think your book definitely counts! Could you send me through some info on yourself, the usual stuff so that we can put it up and promote your success and remind people who you are and what you have been upto since you left us to become middle-class (lol)



  10. Jacqui Corscadden says:

    Hi Claire

    Congratulations on your first book ‘The Fall’. Have just finished reading it and really enjoyed it. An excellent read with great twists. Looking forward to reading the next one. Keep up the good work, so proud of you.

  11. Gareth says:

    Hi Claire, Liz nominated The Fall for our book group (Red Deer Readers) and we’ll be discussing it in April. Really looking forward to reading it.

  12. Gareth says:

    Oops, We’ll be reading The Fall in April and discussing it at our meeting on May 1st. My mistake – apologies if Red Deer Readers saw the date aove and panicked

  13. Helen says:

    Hi Claire,
    I don’t think we have met since Mark and Margaret’s wedding many, many years ago when you were one of a host of gorgeous flower girls and I was bridesmaid along with your mum – it seems like a lifetime ago. Congratulations on your first novel. I read it on a trip home recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. Well done and I look forward to the next one.
    Kind Regards
    Helen Langhammer

  14. Maeve Lambe says:

    Lough Book club has fallen for “The Fall” – could’t get anyone to say a bad word about it even in private when your mother couldn’t hear “Brilliant title” “Vivid scenes” “Wonderful characters” “pulled you into a vortex” “accomplished first book” “must have been scary to live with she is so observant” “was that your mother’s quote – “If you don’t know the price of anything you know the value of nothing” (apologies if that is a misquote my husband has taken the book off to read it). Made me cry at the end (and moreso at the dedication) which hasn’t happened in a long time but really want to know do Barbara and Peter bring their own Bran Flakes??? We are all looking forward to the TV version. Any chance of reading the unpublished first novel???

    • Thank you Maeve (though I suspect they couldn’t be 100% honest!) Really glad you enjoyed it. I’ll very happily send you the first one if you like, send me your email. They don’t bring Bran Flakes but have been known to bring their own coffee and teabags.

  15. Doug Nicholson says:

    It took 10 bus trips back and forth to Edinburgh last week and a Saturday morning to read “The Fall”. Glorious characterisation, detail and more detail. eg “falling out of Kilburn Wetherspoons any day of the week you wanted to walk past”. Will Hegarty come back, we need to be told! Thank You

  16. Aidan Cole says:

    Hi Claire

    Just fiinished reading your book which I really enjoyed. Congratulations on your first publication. I hear you are working away on another book. Look forward to reading it.

    Aidan Cole

  17. J.C. Martin says:

    Congratulations on your release! I saw the pictures on Mystery People. You must be well chuffed!

  18. Colette says:

    Hello and thank you. I throughly enjoyed your book ‘The Fall which I found myself making time to read during the day. (I tend to only get time to read at bed time.)Fantastic story line, easy to read yet captivating. Your surname first attracted me to your book as it was my maiden name. My family are also from a nice part of Ireland. I wonder it its the same. It is a ver popular name in those neck of the woods. We also have the same hound dog, I hope yours is a little quiter than ours. Anyway, I wish you every success and look forward to reading your next book.

    • Hi Colette, thank you for getting in touch and really glad you enjoyed it. I’m from Newry though I think the name i is originally from Sligo. Our beagle is very naughty! Thanks again, Claire

  19. Gavin Weston says:

    Hi Claire,

    I’m going to try to make your signing at No Alibis on Saturday. Good luck with that! (I have one there in a month’s time, for my debut novel HARMATTAN.) Best. Gavin Weston

  20. ANN TRENT says:

    Hi Claire, I just want to say how much I enjoyed “the Fall” I couldn’t put it down, it was such an insite to how other people have to live, and how privileged some are. It really made me think, I can’t wait for the next book.

  21. vivienne edwards says:

    Hello Claire, I have just finished “the fall” and absolutely loved every page of it. Found it almost impossible to put down and yes, a couple of tears squeezed out at the end. Can’t wait for your next book!!

  22. Eithne Benson says:

    Hi Claire! Just finished ‘the fall’ and having withdrawal symptoms. Sad to be leaving the characters behind – they have been part of my life for the last week or so! A terrific read. Not just an original plot well crafted but we get to really care about the characters and understand their complexity.
    We lived beside you in Rostrevor and I remember you growing up – you were the same age as our daughter Catherine. Lovely to see what an interesting life you’ve had so far and how much your story draws on experiences from so many other worlds. With parents like yours I’m not surprised.
    You clearly love what you do and have a real gift for writing, so I know there’ll be lots more books to enjoy. Thanks for this one :)

  23. amy says:

    I came across your Writing.ie guest post and new book following a link that Louise Phillips posted at the Irish Crime Fiction Facebook group. I can identify with needing to keep the momentum going and get everything onto the page before allowing distractions to take over. I joined an informal peer review group when I first started writing my M.A. thesis and quickly learned it was more productive to leave and come back to the group for the final editing stage. There are so many great books to read in this genre, but I will be adding The Fall to the top end of my list.

    Who can resist bbb\’s (badly behaved beagles)! Our beagle is ten years old and has only mellowed out in the last few years.

  24. Bev Begnal says:

    Hi Claire,

    I don’t use twitter, but wanted to take this opportunity to let you know….I ABSOLUTELY LOVED “THE FALL” AND CAN’T WAIT UNTIL YOUR NEW BOOK COMES OUT IN 2013. I loved your book so much, I re-read parts of it to slow down the end of it.

    Warm regards,
    Bev Begnal

  25. Cathrine Reid says:

    Hi Claire,
    During a recent chat about books by local authors, I was told about a book written by the daughter of a former work colleague. I had worked with the your mum some years ago. I love crime writing and your book was so enjoyable,covering many challenging aspects of everyday life! Looking forward to reading your second book. Regards Cathrine Reid.

  26. Pingback: Crime Writing with Claire McGowan « Sally Jenkins – Writer

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  28. Julesb says:

    Just finished The Fall. couldn’t put it down! Felt you captured the environment exactly as I imagine it to be. Looking forward to your next novel.

  29. Sarah Jane Holmes says:

    Hi Claire, I just wanted to say that I’ve just finished reading ‘The Fall’ and I had to drop you a line and tell you how much I enjoyed reading it. I am very much looking forward to reading your next book! I have struggled for a long time to get my work published as a writer and so I appreciate what you must have gone through to turn your idea into reality.
    Wishing you all the best for the future
    Sarah Jane

  30. NaturalWoman says:

    Just read your post on deodorant advertisements on Vagenda. Snorted and giggled all the way through it. Brilliant.

  31. Brian Hardy says:

    Rattling good story written in a clear, simple language – but only in the way that say, Gray’s “Elegy” is simple language, not clever, clever stylistic bumph. But consider ( and I open a page at random) ” Charlotte shook her head to chase away the ghost of the laughing polished girl, encircled with love”. No need to linger over these images though – the story surges on, wave after wave. The complex thoughts and feelings of the characters made them so real, that afterwards I could not believe they were not still here! I must say that I nearly did not continue with the book after reading the prologue as it sounded a bit too creative-writing-class- grab-your-reader sort of opening. That was the only thing I tripped over and I’m glad I carried on. I was surprised, and delighted, at the ending. Keep writing, Claire, that was just wonderful.

  32. Kent Schroder says:

    What a great second novel. I can’t remember reading a book that was so intense all the way through. Loved Paula. Can see- as you point out- she will eventually cross one boundary line too far. Nice touch that the boyfriend comes to save Paula, but fails miserably. Can we expect to see Paula again? Will we ever learn what was in the envelope about Paula’s Mother? With a novel so intense, was it hard to step away from at the end of every writing session? Thank you so much for the great read. Kent Schroder

  33. Annette Gerhart says:

    Hi I just read The Fall it is Am Rande des Abgrunds in German. I liked it very much, I read it in two days. I look forward for your second book. I think I will read it in English. there is always something missing in the translation. Kind regards from Germany Annette

  34. Des Whyte says:

    Claire – I just finished reading- the fall – and really enjoyed it. As you say in the interview at the end of your book(a great concept by the way)- not a “who done it” more like “what happens next” I live in Hamilton,Canada,came from Belfast in 1965. Claire McGowan was brought to my attention a few months back by my brother’s nephew(not blood relative) who lives in London. He was promoting a wee girl from Newry on her second book – The Lost – I could not locate it and later found out, it will not be available in the Colonies until November. Good luck in your writing career. Looking forward to reading The Lost – in “the fall” sorry couldn’t resist . Des.

  35. bree says:

    Hi Claire

    I have just finished reading The Lost, and am now officially Australia’s most intrigued fan. Please get Paula back in action soon, you have some left MASSIVE tales to be told in another book, not to mention a few stones unturned!
    Can’t wait to hear more.

  36. Dear Claire,
    I just finished the Dutch version of this wonderful thriller, ! It is called ‘Verloren” in the Netherlands and I must say I could not stop reading ! I would love to read more from your hand ! Thank you very much !! http://www.miekeschepens.nl

  37. Hello Claire.
    I finished reading your book The Lost. I read it in Dutch and liked it very much. It is not just a good thriller but also delves into a dark page of Irish history. I´ll give the book 4 stars on my weblog about books. One of these days the review will be online. http://www.mijnboekenblog.com

  38. Zahra Elaudo says:

    Dear Claire,

    I’m reading ‘The Fall’ at the mo – really enjoying it. Well done.
    May I ask something? I have a beta reader reading my current WIP (I’ve not been published yet, still working on edits of the first two I’ve written before subbing). I use my characters’ ‘voice’ in their POV, ie, ‘If he gave the man some money, Lisa’d throw a fit.’ His comment: ‘LISA WOULD. Don’t mix dialogue with descriptive prose.’ I notice you also use this technique, one of the things I like about your work. Is this a big rule you’ve broken, or generally frowned on – I notice you also use prologue, which I’ve heard a lot of agents and publishers hate – or is he being pedantic or old-fashioned? I don’t want to be one of those writers who defend every little thing, but neither do I want to continue with a beta who is out of touch. Help!

  39. Tina Cushman says:

    Hi Claire’
    Just finished “The Lost”…..as other readers have said “Is Paula coming back? “……oh to know what was in the envelope !! I only got the book as I have been doing family research of my Irish family, coincidently called Mcgowan, and felt the need to read it……couldn’t put it down. Will now have to go and find “The Fall”. Thanks for such an exciting read, ……..hope there is more to follow.

  40. John M. Warman says:

    Just happened upon your book “The Fall” in the Frome Library, really glad I did. The best book I have read in ages, the characters draw you in to a great story. Sadly seems that abused women really do find it difficult to break away from the abuser and want to believe that the perpetrator will change. This was made very real in The Fall and the tension was palpable. Shall be seeking out The Lost and hope you keep writing, great you have already achieved your ambition to be published. More please.

  41. REINU says:

    Thank you for being my friend, It was just when it was convenient writing. The best books for your lifetime. Wishing you great success with in future books ! Let’s hope for a Best books..!!

    • Des Whyte says:

      Claire – Having read The Fall in 2012 after my brother’s nephew in London UK -turned me on it and The Lost – it took almost a year before it(The Lost) became available here in Canada. I got it last November. Well worth the wait. Wonderful !. I read it in about 3 days. Normally I take a couple of weeks off and on to read a novel – forgot about TV. It is so very intriguing.. I kept thinking – although may not admit it – Ballyterrin could well have been Newry. (Too close to home ?) I am looking forward to your next rendering. Thank you for your work.

      On Sat, Jan 11, 2014 at 12:37 PM, Pains, trains, and inkstains wrote:

      > REINU commented: “Thank you for being my friend, It was just when it > was convenient writing. The best books for your lifetime. Wishing you great > success with in future books ! Let’s hope for a Best books..!!” >

  42. Kate Turner says:

    Just finished The Fall. Absolutely loved it. Took a few days annual leave to catch up on jobs’!!!!!!!!! Nothing done, could not put this book down. Havn’t been so enthralled in a book this much in ages. Great find, can’t wait for shops to open to get your other books. Thank you for a wonderful story and relaxing few days holiday. We’ll done keep them coming.

  43. Patricia Sharvin says:

    Hello Claire,

    You will not know me but your dad and i are first cousins. Your uncle Michael told me about your success. Congratulations on achieving your dream. Barbara and Peter must be very proud! I was reared in Belfast but came to live in the “sticks” 36 years ago. The townland we live in is Kilclief Co.Down every bit as lovely as Warrenpoint & Rostrevor. I look forward to reading your books.
    Good luck in the future.

  44. Dag Einar says:

    Hi Claire!
    Just read your book The lost in Norwegian translated by my friend Unni Rom Stueland. It was a fascinating read! I enjoyed the realism and I thought it was an intelligent book. The description of Northern Ireland and the people there were brilliant. I also have your first book The fall in Norwegian and look forward to reading it.
    Good luck with future books!

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  46. Hi Claire, I am looking forward to joining tomorrow in Harlow for the “How to plot the perfect crime” seminar. As an avid reader of crime and a blogger of all things travel and book related I thought I would try and spread my wings and move into the genre that truly fascinates me (which I probably shouldn’t admit to as it sounds almost gruesome!). :)

  47. Nick Turner says:

    Hi Claire. Alex’s dad here. I’ve just finished reading The Dead Ground and really enjoyed it. Looking forward to the next! Nick Turner

  48. loopymo says:

    I just discovered you and LOVE your books. When will the 3rd Paula book be written/available?

    Hurry up, you are FANTASTIC!
    Can you write about 3 of them at once? LOL!

    Are the BBC going to make them into a series?


  49. Andy says:

    Hi Claire,

    Just to say I have literally just finished reading ‘The Lost’ and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Like yourself I am an NI native living in England. Will be starting to read ‘The Fall’ tomorrow which I am eagerly looking forward to.

    Keep up the great work.

    Best Wishes,


  50. Jenny Hutton says:

    Just finished “the lost”. What a fabulous read. Just loved it.
    Am taking “the fall” on hols on Monday. Can’t wait 😉

  51. Joe Cox says:

    Hello I stopped reading The Dead Ground this morning after page 63. I could not bring myself to read more as this wouldn’t mean finishing the book quicker. The first chapter is tour de force in how to grab a reader and keep them. As an avid crime fiction reader and visitor to No alibis in Belfast I can only say keep them coming and well done.
    Kind Regards
    Joe Cox

  52. Dominique van Thiel says:

    Its a long time ago that I read such a beautiful book! I learned a bit of the (Northern-)Irish history and because my husband is Irish I was very interessed. Thank you very much. I hope all of your books will be translated in Dutch!

  53. linda walton says:

    hi Claire,
    I have read The Lost and now Dead Ground and can’t wait for the next one.
    Linda in Australia.

  54. David says:

    Thx for the read! Just finished ‘The Dead Ground’ …well done.

    Good strong middle and end..enjoyed it..

  55. Petra Hink says:

    I have just finished ‘The Lost’ in Dutch and enjoyed it very much. I am looking forward to read more of your books.

  56. C.Mowatt says:

    Hi Clair, just read The Dead Ground which I loved. Will definitely look for your other books.

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