January, Part Two: New beginnings

feck off

For Part Two of our January updates we are so delighted to introduce our three former Inspiration Project attendees – Casey King, Clare Daly and Tric Kearney – who will share monthly musings on their writing year. We have three words to say to these ladies: GO, GO, GO!

Casey King (@letstalkcrime) – Parking My Dreams

It is close to the date, my self-imposed deadline to call a halt to my writing pursuits in the face of rejections. I wasn’t firing my laptop out of the window – though there were many times this did seem like a logical option – nor was I abandoning all writing ventures, no, I was going to complete the project I was working on then shelve my ambitions for the time being, and, as such, park my dreams. It had the effect of clearing my mind.

I went to events and festivals, not with expectation, but with a clearer picture of what I wanted to achieve, and I set about clearing the rubble. Despite my deadline, I continued to submit, changing my query letter somewhat, remaining professional, but I refined and focused my points. I began to get requests for more, one agent looking to see the whole thing within two hours of reading the first three chapters and synopsis. As well as having a play longlisted, I won an opportunity to pitch to an agent at Wexford Literary Festival. Bag of nerves wouldn’t begin to describe my demeanour. I’d held my passion and belief in my book, and while surrounded by the most wonderful well-wishers, hugs and support, I pitched and it went great.

Then I received another two requests for full manuscripts, including follow up email correspondence with one agent and an invitation to meet another while she was in Ireland. Just before Christmas, I accepted an offer of agent representation, close to one year after travelling to Wexford to attend the inaugural Inspiration Project. It did no harm to take a step back, but I’m so glad I did not park my dreams.

Casey King is represented by Kate Nash of Kate Nash Literary Agency.

Tric Kearney (@trickearney)

Firstly, let me into introduce myself, my name is Tric Kearney … and I’m a writer. There you go, that’s my first time publicly describing myself as such. For a long time I’ve struggled to justify that title. Over and over I’ve asked myself, is a writer someone who writes, or someone who is a published author? I’ve decided, a writer is someone who takes their writing seriously, and this year I intend to do just that.

Currently, I write a weekly column in the Irish Examiner newspaper called ‘It’s My Life’, but I want more. My New Year writing resolutions were to call myself a writer (job done) and by the end of 2019 have finished my book and hopefully found it a home.

This time last year I attended the Inspiration Project weekend. I was floundering, drowning in a sea of doubt and deafened by the voices in my head, laughing at my writing ‘notions’ and criticising everything I wrote. That weekend put an end to my doubts and gave me the courage to stand up to those voices and write on. I’d an idea for a book and by the time the weekend was over I was determined to get it written.

And I nearly did. I wrote over 40,000 words and entered a chapter to be critiqued by an agent. The feedback was very encouraging. However, the words stopped. Another book was calling me. A less than easy write. A voice from my past whispered the idea and it was not easily silenced.

Write what you know they say. Well this was a story I knew well. My story. A tale of abuse, loss, love and healing, the writing of which I’d like to share with you here over the next few months and hopefully in time we’ll celebrate together as I type ‘The End’.

Clare Daly (@claredalyauthor)

Let’s start with a few numbers. Books on release: 1; Books in progress: 2 (2nd drafts) Agent: 0; Rejections: Plenty, thank you very much.

I approached 2019 with a big NO to making plans and setting out writing goals. In 2018 I was laser-focused and well, nothing of great repute happened, other than attending The Inspiration Project which basically has kept me in the game. Maybe my goals were too ambitious – to self-publish the second book in my historical fantasy series and find an agent for my third novel, but then 2018 beat ten bells out of me and it just didn’t happen. But the thing is my goals are still the same and if I want to make them happen, I’m going to need a plan. I released my debut Our Destiny Is Blood in October 2017, so I’m eyeballing this October for its sequel Heavy Lies The Crown.

If I’m honest I’m not sure had I written a standalone novel I would self-publish again, but I began something with these characters and I’m not ready to give up on them. The self-publishing came about from being told by agents that the book and its characters (there be vampires!) weren’t on trend, so doing it myself was my best bet. It wasn’t a disaster. It’s selling, I’ve had some nice publicity opportunities, and readers even like it, but I find it a lonely ship to steer and an expensive one (it costs very little to put a book together on Amazon, but to meet professional standards and then be visible, costs plenty). Going again does require another leap of faith.

But then if I hadn’t taken the chances I have, I wouldn’t be three books deep and thinking of my fourth. So lots of work to do this year. My heroine Evelyn is heading to Victorian London, so we have quite the bags to pack and though writing is a lonely pursuit, I get to share the journey with Catherine, Hazel, Carmel and you! So come on 2019, *rolls up sleeves* let’s just get this done, shall we?

January, Part One: The Coffee Diaries


Welcome to a new year, and our new monthly blog, The Inspiration Diaries, where we’ll share the ups and downs of six writers over the course of 2019. Part One each month will feature three published writers (the Inspiration Project founders). Part Two will feature three writers who attended an Inspiration Project event and are now chasing publication and snapping at our heels! Six writers. Twelve months. What could possibly go wrong?!

We hope you enjoy following our progress and that our collective writing experiences inspire and motive you, and remind you that you’re not in this alone. If nothing else, we hope it makes you smile! First up, it’s January, which means big plans and coffee feature very highly …

Catherine (@cathryanhoward)

For the first time in a while, I didn’t have a deadline looming over at Christmas because I handed in my second draft of Book 3 on Friday 14 December. (At 4.59pm. The deadline was that day, so 5pm.) It’s called Rewind and it’s due to be published in September. I wasn’t planning on writing anything until I got back to my desk on the 7th of this month, but I actually ended up starting the synopsis for Book 4, which is what my editor needs next. I’ve already given her a short pitch and she loves the idea, but I need to prove I have a plot to go with it (!!) before I can run off and start writing.

The German translation of The Liar’s Girl (Ich Bringe die der Nacht, ‘I Bring You The Night’) was published on the 1st, the print edition of that will follow on the 22nd and the UK/Ireland paperback of The Liar’s Girl came out on the 3rd. (Just as I’m writing this update I got an email from my editor showing a lovely display of it in Heathrow Airport!) I also signed Norwegian contracts for The Liar’s Girl; foreign translation deals are always a lovely and exciting surprise. I’m expecting my line edits back on Rewind any minute, which is where my editor will have gone through the whole manuscript marking notes as she goes, and I’ll have to get them back ASAP.

I’ve cracked the spine on a new Best Self Journal, which is sort of like an intensive 13-week planner, which I find great for making progress on projects. I’ve committed to writing at least one new blog post on CatherineRyanHoward.com each month this year, so ideally I’ll draft a couple this month and hopefully manage to send out a newsletter as well. This may be wishful thinking, because we also have our first Inspiration Project in Cork on the 26th. A busy month! SEND COFFEE.

Carmel (@happymrsh)

Happy New Year! Mine was a happy one, deep in my writing cave working on my eighth novel – Finding Greta Gale. The deadline is 11th Jan. (Fork!) So other than taking a few days off, I’ve been at my desk chasing the lovely. This book will most likely hit the bookshelves in Ireland in the autumn. Once my editor in Harper reads this draft, I’ll start edits throughout January &  February. To help with edits, I’m off on a big research trip next weekend. I’m driving from Kansas to Las Vegas on the same epic road trip my central characters undertake! I always go method in research and this is the ultimate method authoring!  Follow me on Instagram if you want to see what I get up to.

In other news, the Harper Collins art team have been working hard on the UK & Ireland paperback cover for A Thousand Roads Home, which comes out in June. It’s very different from my previous covers, I’m excited to share it with my readers! I was chuffed to make the top ten in the annual Eason’s readers poll for favourite books in 2018. It’s always extra special when it’s a readers vote.  Speaking of readers, did you know about the Carmel Harrington Reading Room – a private group on Facebook. We’ve started a reading challenge for 2019, which kicks off with a book in January that has a movie/tv tie-in. I’ve chosen Bird, but will hopefully get to You and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society too. If you want to join the group for bookish chat & competitions and of course this reading challenge, the link can be found: Facebook.

Aside from all that fun, I’m already thinking about possible ideas for book 9, which will be pitched to my agent early this year. I’m out of contract once I hand Finding Greta Gale in. (Fork!) And so the cycle will begin all over again. I need to do a newsletter, blog posts, our Inspiration Project event in Cork, several author events … so in summary: SEND ME COFFEE TOO!

Hazel (@hazelgaynor)

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.” This quote from T.S. Eliot sums up perfectly how I feel about 2019.

2018 was a great year for me professionally, but it wasn’t perfect (what year is?), so I’m very ready to embrace a new year with all its possibilities, fresh starts and bold intentions. Of course I really just want everyone to be healthy and happy this year, but I also really want a movie deal and a hardback with sprayed edges and posters on the underground, so I hope 2019 (and Reese Witherspoon) are listening! All aboard the Hopes and Dreams Express, my friends!

As I do every year, I’m approaching 2019 full of new hope and writing aspirations, and the usual combination of excitement and dread. Early January means diving into copy edits for my summer release, MEET ME IN MONACO – my seventh novel and the second I’ve co-written with Heather Webb. After that, I’m really looking forward to our next Inspiration Project event in Cork on 26th (come and join us!), and then it’s back to the desk to tackle the ‘shitty first draft’ of my next historical novel, an ambitious project which is already challenging (aka terrifying) me in lots of ways – and I’m really excited about it! Early summer will see the UK paperback release of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, and in July I’ll be heading to the USA for a conference and book tour for Meet Me in Monaco. I also have loads of ideas buzzing around my head for new projects, so I might need a long lie down in August.

My word for 2019 is ‘soar’ (I have a painting of a kingfisher on my desk as inspiration, the reason for which will hopefully become clear later in the year). This year I want to write for the pure pleasure it brings, and try to worry less about things that are out of my control. 2019 is about stretching my writing wings, and being brave. The rest, as they say, will hopefully follow. In the meantime, SEND ALL THE COFFEE!


The Inspiration Diaries

Welcome to The Inspiration Diaries, a monthly blog from six writers – three published, and three on the way to being published. After running three Inspiration Project events we’ve been continually impressed by the level of talent, hard work and determination. We’ve also been thrilled to see attendees make great progress with their writing and we wanted to capture that journey through this new blog.

Throughout 2019, Hazel, Catherine and Carmel (the Inspiration Project founders) will share monthly updates about their own writing year. Three former Inspiration Project attendees – Casey King, Clare Daly and Tric Kearney – will do the same. Six writers. Twelve months. What could possibly go wrong?!

We hope you enjoy following our progress – the ups and the downs – and that our collective writing experiences inspire and motive you, and remind you that you’re not in this alone. If nothing else, we hope it makes you smile!