When I first decided to start blogging, I thought I’d write about things that tick me off (and they are numerous). I also thought that blogging would allow me say what I wanted to say in more characters than twitter, but I can’t be arsed, in truth. The world is already a grey place at the moment so I’ve been concentrating on family and losing myself in fiction. And anyway, as an impulsive person, social media has been great for teaching me how and when to bite my tongue, so far.
The last time I blogged I was about to head to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre (thanks Ards and North Down Borough Council!) where I met some amazing artists and plotted a police procedural novel. I don’t care what anyone, including Stephen King, says about not plotting, this beast needed it! I’ll let it stew and come back to it later.
(Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Newbliss.)
There have been library visits, which are always great for feedback on The Bones of It, and yes, it’s still proving to be literary Marmite – as a book of its kind should be. (Proud mamma!)
I was asked to interview Winnie M Li about her novel Dark Chapter for Belfast Book Festival. The novel mirrors the author’s experience of a brutal sexual assault in Belfast, 2008. Dark Chapter is not an easy book to read and nor should it be, but it is an important read and I urge everyone to buy a copy.
Belfast Book Festival was incredible this year. My good friend Claire Savage launched her wonderful debut novel Magical Masquerade in the Crescent Arts Centre with an interview chaired by Jane Talbot, founder of Women Aloud NI. It was a fab morning, and that afternoon forty of us shared our work in a readathon; I came home even more excited by local women writers, and about 8 books heavier! I’m thrilled to see the Women Aloud team go from strength to strength, and delighted (most over-used author word ever?) to be the group’s secretary. I feel like I need to get a sexier pair of glasses however…
The world of a writer is peppered so strongly with rejection, but of course you would never know this when you just see the good news. I go through stages when I feel dismayed with the whole scene, we probably all do if we’re being honest, and maybe it makes the good all the more sweeter.
Thank god for Women Aloud and for lovely friends (both in and out of the writing scene), and can I just say that I heart the Square Circle Writers! I’m very lucky to have this group of smart, warm, funny ladies to be able to sound off to and share ideas with. Isn’t community what it’s all about? I think so! We are working on an exciting group project and I am dying to tell you more, but at this stage it’s hush-hush!
Thank you to Brian McGilloway for including The Bones of It in his top 10 Northern Irish Crime Novels article that was published by Strand Magazine. Another lovely thing in ‘the sea of indifference’, as our cherished poet Michael Longley put it when talking about launching a new collection.
(A paper boat sailing on the sea of indifference?)
And what else…the cherry on the cake maybe, that I’ve been selected to be one of the seven writers in residence at Cill Rialaig in November, alongside Anna Heussaff, Sue Leonard, Fiona O’Rourke, Breda Wall Ryan, Moyra Donaldson and Aiden O’Reilly.
Ten days on a cliff in Co. Kerry come November, where I’ll be working on my second short story collection; I won’t tell you the title yet but I think it’s a good one. I’m loving writing these stories, they are mostly about women who do things that aren’t all that well thought out, which is so much nicer on the page than IRL.
On Saturday, I’m giving a workshop in Ards Arts on crafting the short story. Looking forward to meeting more writerly folk. Should be fun! We all need more of that.