How am I still standing? (More adventures-hashtag blessed)

Finally, September has come! And so I get a break. I know that’s not how it works for the rest of the world, but there you go. I rounded off August with lots of work – short story for Radio 4, article for Glamour magazine, edits of Paula Maguire 3, being on the radio for…

Yet more of what I’ve been up to

Phew! It’s August. How did that happen? Soon it will be time for my annual wistful re-reading of Louis MacNiece’s Autumn Journal (September has come, etc). The past few weeks have been very busy – I went to Berlin to visit a writing friend, the inestimable Kerry Hudson, and we drank beer, ate sausages, stayed…

What I’ve been up to

Greetings! Suddenly, the writing life got busy. My new book The Dead Ground (set during a snowy and blood-stained Irish December) came out in April, with launches in both Belfast and London. The Belfast one in No Alibis bookshop was very special as it was the last time I saw my granddad, who died a…

What’s wrong with your book??

So you’ve finished your book. Congratulations! This is a major achievement, and you should be really proud. Finishing a book is more than half the battle. But what if you feel something isn’t quite working? Maybe you’re getting interest from agents, but for some reason they aren’t totally sold on it, and they can’t quite…

Going Home

They say home is the place where, if you go there, they have to take you in. Home for me is a small village in Northern Ireland where the most exciting thing that ever happens is a herd of cows get loose on the road and cause a traffic jam. There’s three churches, two takeaways,…

Writing from life

As crime writers, we have to take the worst events that ever happen to people – murder, bereavement, torture, pain – and make them into a story. That story has to be entertaining or people won’t read it, no matter how much we also want to make a point or debate social and moral issues….

How I write

My writing process by Claire McGowan   There are a couple of questions that always come up when I’m being interviewed, and which I really should have worked out better answers to. One is: are you disciplined with your writing? And the other is: how much research do you do? At the moment I write at…

Launching The Dead Ground

My third book, The Dead Ground, came out on 10 April this year. Just two years ago I was excitedly waiting for my first, The Fall, to come out. I waited to see it on a shelf, thinking this would be the moment I’d dreamed of all my life. And you know what, it was…

Words with Wine

About a month ago, a friend of mine held a reading evening. The ingredients for this were pretty simple – a group of about fifteen people gathered, in a circle, and reading aloud pieces we loved to each other. Poems, polemics, bits of novels, non-fiction, diaries, letters – these were all by women, but you…

Where do books come from, Mummy?

Where do you get your ideas from? It’s a common question. Some authors get annoyed and fire back snappy answers. I buy mine on eBay! I order them up, one adventure story with a strong female lead and side of elves! I don’t find it annoying, just puzzling. Every month since I was seven, at…

What you say and what writers hear

If Twitter has taught me anything it’s that people who create stuff are a deeply neurotic bunch, quick to panic and anger, sliding into hopelessness at the slightest knockback, yet at the same time doomed to megalomaniac dreams of world domination (when I say ‘people’ here, I obviously mean ‘me’, you see). My own second…