Hugely inspiring stuff this month from our three writers. We are cheering you on all the way, ladies.
Casey King (@Letstalkcrime) – Don’t Look Back in Anger
Imagine asking someone who’s laying in their hospital bed: ‘What good are you now that your injuries are such that you can’t perform your job properly?’ You’d think – among other things – What a wagon or (insert relevant expletive). This was said to me. Not by a stranger, not by a friend, but by me to me. How destructive was that? Very, I can tell you.
With over a decade under my belt as an active, productive and ambitious member of the Irish Police Force, I suddenly found myself injured in the line of duty. As the physical injuries healed slowly, but surely – still not fully – that little voice, questioning my worth, remained. I needed help! It arrived in the form of a writing workshop in my local library. This workshop got me out of bed, out of my head, into the car, and among people. To others it looked like a little thing but to me this was huge. I met fellow writers and was encouraged to use the library to explore other abilities I had buried for years, and so began my writing apprenticeship.
It would have been easy to listen to that destructive voice, to believe it telling me my abilities and skills at the time of life altering injuries had an impact on my current worth to society, and I did listen, for a while. I won’t pretend it was easy to find myself again, it was damn hard, but so worth it. Be kind to yourself when you’re under pressure. If you hear that little voice telling you ‘you’re not good enough’ or ‘who do you think you’re fooling having these dreams and goals’, then STOP! If you wouldn’t say it to someone else, then do not say it to yourself.
Casey King is represented by Kate Nash of Kate Nash Literary Agency.
Clare Daly @claredalyauthor
A few months ago, I would have said I was done with writing pursuits that involve travel, money and worry. In particular my annual pilgrimage to the London Book Fair for an agent 1:2:1. Twice I’ve been and twice I’ve lucked out. The second time I went back because I felt I had something to prove to myself – that I was in this for the long game and however discouraged I’d been at the suggestion that I ‘write something else’, I would go back again. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but the chance to meet with an agent actively looking for crime and ghost stories this year is too tempting for me to pass up.
And so next month, I’m off again to London for the day. The meeting itself is ten minutes. Yes, I am crazy. I’ll be pitching the new draft of my supernatural detective novel, The Nothing After. Set in New York, it tells the story of a detective who must solve a series of supernatural murders with the help of his fourteen-year-old brother who’s dead.
After London I’ll start submitting elsewhere and see how it goes. The manuscript is with a few trusted readers, so I’ll have their feedback too before I go. I’ve also booked the ‘Beat The Slushpile’ course at the Irish Writer’s Centre with Sallyanne Sweeney later this month. I attended the course back in 2016, but I’m going back to see where my self-publishing now sits within my query letter. Sometimes it sits awkwardly with me (damn you inner critic), so I’m keen to put it across in the right way.
Finishing this draft of The Nothing After means I’m now full steam into re-writes on Heavy Lies The Crown for its October release. I miss my vampires when I’m not writing them, so it’s lovely to pick up where we left off.
For me, this year is all about perspective. One that lets the giddy joy of daydreaming back in and sees the rejections along the way as stepping stones towards achieving those dreams. Wish me luck!
Tric Kearney @mythoughtsonapage
So, we’re into February and I’m sure you’re agog wondering how I’ve been getting on? Well, firstly let me remind you what I’m doing. I’ve ditched the story of fiction I was writing, to write the one I need to write; my own story. But what exactly is my story and what parts of it should I write? That’s taken me time to figure out and in truth I’m not completely there.
If only I’d had an easy life with a measure of madness thrown in? Then I could write a hilarious memoir which people would lavish with praise, recounting the funniest stories to their friends and insisting it’s a book they must read. Unfortunately, that was not my life. Mine is a story of abuse by my swimming coach, George Gibney, and the loss of my dad. Of injustice in the Irish courts and heartache. Not much to laugh at there! Yet, that’s not the full story.
As a person, I laugh loudly more often than most and I’m living a happy ever after. So, what has made me, me? Were the seeds of survival sown in my carefree childhood? What does the isolation of abuse feel like? How is it possible to laugh again after the monster that is Motor Neurone Disease robs you of your father? How do you cope when your abuser walks free? Is it possible to love and be loved after abuse? Can you ever trust anyone with your child?
Through a series of short stories, I hope to bring you into my world as I lived it, and in so doing answer these and other questions. Each story will tell its own tale and collectively they’ll tell my story. For too long others have spoken on my behalf. Now, one word at a time I will be the one to tell my story.