Writer Of The Week: Eithne Cullen

writer of the week

Eithne Cullen is our Writer Of The Week. Her very first story, “Sing A Different Song”, will appear in our December 21 issue.

This is your first story for “The People’s Friend”, though actually we bought two at once — this and a remarkable little story about a pencil that I’m also eager to share with “Friend” readers. How did it feel to hear that you had been successful? Had you been submitting material for long? Have you always written stories?

I’ve really begun to write in the last five years, and it’s given me great pleasure.

Short stories are so satisfying to write and to read. Though I’ve had some success with sending stories to writing competitions, this is my first time being accepted by a magazine.

It’s great to be in “The People’s Friend”, which is all about sharing short stories.

Your story is Christmas themed, of course. Did you write it in December, surrounded by Christmas music? Is that what inspired it?

Christmas with my children always began when we put up the tree and played that “Best Christmas Album” CD over and over.

It was the memory of these significant songs that gave me the idea for “Sing A Different Song”; hearing them evokes all kinds of feelings.

I found there was plenty to write with those tunes in my head. I didn’t need to put the CD on, I know them so well.

Who are your own favourite authors and what do you admire about them?

I grew up in a house where there were always books and stories. I read a lot.

I have a few favourites, but come back to Jane Austen for her wry sense of humour and well-drawn characters. I especially love “Persuasion”.

What are your writing ambitions? Do you see yourself as an aspiring novelist?

I have written two novels: “The Ogress of Reading”, the story of a terrible woman, a baby killer; and a modern story about obsessive love, “Never Not In My Thoughts”.

There is a third on its way, but it’s coming very slowly.

Notebook and pencil or laptop? Kitchen table or study? Blank wall or inspiring view?

I write in a notebook with a pen and lots of scribbling out, then I sit at the computer and type up my work.

I often wake up with stories in my head, so I’ll be in my dressing gown, typing away.

When I need a break I look out at the birds in my garden, it’s always delightful.

And a P.S. – what’s your top tip for another aspiring Writer Of The Week?

I always advise others to make time to write every day, but I don’t always take my own advice.

It will be my New Year’s resolution . . . again!

For more from our Writer Of The Week series, click the tag below.

Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.