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Claire Allan Interview

Posted on 23 March 2007. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

WriteWords talks to Claire Allan, aka WriteWords member Lola Dane

Tell us all about your writing background- what you've written, what you're currently writing

I've been a journalist for almost nine years and a writer, albeit a very haphazard one, for a lot longer.My first novel, 'Rainy Days and Tuesday' is set for release in July of this year and I'm currently working on book two, 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered.'

I'm a journalist for a provincial title in Northern Ireland. I think the discipline of working to deadline, and not overloading stories with unnecessary information does help when it comes to writing fiction. I see my writing now as a creative outlet after spending all day keeping it factual at work.

How did you start writing?

Properly? I started in early 2006. I challenged myself to write the book I always wanted to before I turned 30 - which was due to happen in June - so I sat down and became completely obsessed with my cast of characters and wrote my book over six months. It was one of the most exhilerating experiences of my life.

Who are your favourite writers and why?

It's perhaps no surprise that my favourite author is Marian Keyes. I love (and respect) how she mixeds humour with serious issues which makes for very readable and yet meaningful books. I also like that she makes no apologies for writing popular fiction for women.

How did you get your first agent/ commission?

I was exceptionally lucky. In May I submitted the first three chapters of 'Rainy Days...' to Ger Nichol of the Book Bureau. It wasn't even finished then and it definitely wasn't all that polished. I sent a few other submissions out in late June but it was Ger who eventually made me the offer to represent me in August- showing remarkable faith in what I had done. By December she had negotiated my four book deal with Poolbeg (where Marian Keyes started!) and I was over the moon. I grew up reading Poolbeg books.

What's the worst thing about writing?

Finding the time! As a full time journalist and also a mother of a three year old it can be hard to find time. Alongside that, when I'm really into the writing process I find it hard to switch the characters off in my head. They are always fighting to get out- so at times I'm covering the local news fixtures, planning what to cook for the wee man's tea and trying to keep my MC quiet until I can actually sit down in front of the lap top.

And the best?

When the words are flowing and you know a scene is working! On a similar level, one of the most amazing experiences I've had as a writer is to read over a scene I've written after some time has passed and feel the emotions I've created on the page sweep over me as if for the first time.

Tell us what kind of responses you get from audiences\ readers.

I've a nice following of people who read my weekly opinion column 'Skirting the Issue'. Generally they like that I'm writing about real women, facing real issues. I think it is so important that your reader can take an element of what you have written and identify with what you are trying to do.

A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Comments by other Members

Myrtle at 14:18 on 23 March 2007  Report this post
I enjoyed reading this, Claire, and I'm really looking forward to 'Rainy Days...' which I have, naturally, pre-ordered! My best wishes to you for a very long and happy (and prosperous!) career.


Luisa at 15:21 on 23 March 2007  Report this post
Great to read this interview, Claire.

Good luck - I can't wait to read your book!


Account Closed at 15:59 on 23 March 2007  Report this post
Really enjoyed this interview, Claire - exciting times for you.

Casey x

Nik Perring at 17:22 on 23 March 2007  Report this post
Fab interview Claire! Go you!

All the best for the release!


MariaM at 20:05 on 23 March 2007  Report this post
Congratulations on the book deal - I'm so impressed that you manage to keep so much on the go!

I'm a journalist too, and think it's fascinating the way you manage to shift from fact during the day to fiction at night... I'm locked-into non-fiction myself at the moment, and think I'd find freeing up my more creative/imaginative side a real challenge.

Incidentally, I remember you from another website (general one, not writing) - my name there was Demelza.

Look forward to reading Rainy Days. Incidentally, are you, or have you considered joining the Romantic Novelists' Association? Most of their meetings are in London, unfortunately, but they're a v supportive bunch - lots of fab advice on stuff like publicity, the business side etc and have a yearly conference.

JoPo at 21:55 on 23 March 2007  Report this post
Good luck Claire - very best wishes for future success.


Sappholit at 23:05 on 23 March 2007  Report this post
Well done, Claire, and good luck.

rogernmorris at 09:00 on 24 March 2007  Report this post
A very entertaining interview. Well done, Claire. Rainy Days... is obviously the start of something big!


ashlinn at 10:47 on 24 March 2007  Report this post
Well done, Claire, a great interview. You certainly have a lot to juggle in your life but you seem to be doing a great job all round!
Best of luck with the publication.

Lola Dane at 13:06 on 24 March 2007  Report this post
Thanks everyone!
It still feels very weird to be doing interviews in the first place!

Maria, I'll WWmail you later for a wee chat!


Gillian75 at 11:26 on 28 March 2007  Report this post
Hey Claire

It's your friend here! Yep, I've just joined Writewords...
Congrats again and may success follow you everywhere

optimist at 08:58 on 30 March 2007  Report this post
Thank for the interview Claire and congratulations on 'Rainy Days and Tuesdays'.

Wishing you every success!


Steerpike`s sister at 21:50 on 30 March 2007  Report this post
Well done on everything you've achieved and thanks for the interview - looking forward to reading the book! :)

smudger at 12:58 on 10 April 2007  Report this post
Enjoyed the interview, Claire, and congratulations. Hope the balls stay airborn.

Lammi at 19:50 on 24 April 2007  Report this post
Yay Claire! Enjoy the ride.

Kate X

RT104 at 13:37 on 02 July 2007  Report this post
Greatly enjoyed the interview, Claire. This is a bit belated - can't think how I've missed it before. Hope sales are going well...

Rosy x

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