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…

Seven Things About Me

Thanks to Vic Watson for nominating me for a Very Inspiring Blog Award. In return, I’m going to tell you seven things you might not know about me.     When writing this post, I really struggled to think of seven things people might not know about me. Which is probably a sign that I…

Five…worst literary losses

Last year, I taught a term of creative writing. Ten weeks. Intensive stuff. At the end of the term, I said to my students that I was going to tell them something very important about writing. Maybe the most important thing they’d ever hear. Were they listening? This was it: BACK UP YOUR WORK. They…

5 Things…Not To Do On the Internet If You Want To Keep Your Sanity

These days half of writing is Tweeting. Or have I got that wrong? Anyway, authors everywhere are being urged towards the be-dazzled empty stage that is SOSHUL MEJEEA and told to perform. Turn tricks! Do a twirl! Dance, Baby! No one puts you in a corner! The sad truth though is that most writers belong…

Myths about writers in films

Of all the professions regularly committed to celluloid, some are more common than others. Journalist, say. Lawyer. Professor at a university. You rarely see films about binmen or sewage workers, yet someone has that job. Novelist is for some reason also a common trope. Since becoming one myself, I can barely sit through a film…

Your Vagina: A How-To Guide

(Originally published here http://vagendamag.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/your-vagina-how-to-guide.html) The vagina is pretty amazing. It can expand and contract up to 200%. It’s self-cleaning, like an oven. It almost never gets caught in your zip. If you’ve got one of these essential bits of kit, be sure you know the rules of ownership. If not they might introduce a licence, and…

What does your husband think about your sideboard?

(originally pubished here http://vagendamag.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/the-mid-life-crisis-of-womens-magazines.html)   There comes a point in every woman’s life when she tires of reading about blow jobs (like, tell me something I don’t know) and yearns instead to read of paint jobs. The questions that keep you awake at night are no longer, What does he really think of my new leather…

Keeping Up With The Kirsties

(Originally published here http://vagendamag.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/keeping-up-with-kirsties.html)   Christmas these days seems to be all about the ads. What latest witchcraft have John Lewis employed to jerk upon our tear-ducts like the evil scarf-peddling puppet-masters that they are? Who’s that dancing in the M&S ad, a smile on their face as they quietly survey the ruin of their career…