Writer Of The Week: Claire Gallagher


Our Writer Of The Week is Claire Gallagher. Claire’s story, “The Tattoo Killer”, is in the June 29 issue, on sale this week.

Congratulations on being awarded the thriller runner-up prize in our recent Writing Bursary Competition. Is crime a genre you like to read and write?

I read eclectically. What I love about the crime genre is that it’s like a puzzle for the reader, whether that’s a whodunit or a whydunit. A story which keeps the reader guessing will always be a page turner.

In terms of writing, I’ve only recently attempted crime. It felt too daunting before. How, I wondered, does a writer weave elements such as clues, misdirection, red herrings, reveals and twists into the narrative in a seamless way? It took building my experience writing other genres to feel confident enough to finally have a go. Luckily, I enjoy a challenge!

Your story is cleverly constructed – where did the idea come from?

When I saw the Writing Bursary Competition advertised, I knew I had to enter. I’ve self-published contemporary romances, so I wrote a story for this category first. Writers were allowed to enter into each of the three categories, so I thought I’d attempt a humorous narrative next (though humour is notoriously difficult to write!).

I told myself I wouldn’t even touch the thriller category, but my mind started whirring with an idea and I just had to start typing. The idea for “The Tattoo Killer” came from the knowledge that serial killers are usually men. I wanted to play with the concept of a female killer, with a female detective pitted against her. When I received the e-mail saying that I was runner-up in the over-30’s category, I was surprised and delighted!

If you could only take two books with you to a desert island, what would they be and why?

A Christmas Carol” would be my first choice. I read it every December. It’s such a heart-warming tale of redemption and Dickens created some great characters. My other choice would be between “Jane Eyre” and “Pride And Prejudice”. I love a strong female character, though Jane and Elizabeth are very different. Combined with a love story – perfection!

What makes fiction writing special for you?

Escaping into another world and controlling what happens in it (though my characters often decide to do their own thing!). I’m also fascinated by human emotions and motivations, and fiction is a great way to explore them. I actually learn a lot about myself in the process.

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

Laptop. I like the fact that I can edit neatly as I go. My dining table is my go-to place for writing. Sitting there, I have a wonderful view of the woods opposite my house. Nature seems to calm my mind and leave it open to creativity.

What’s your one top tip for aspiring writers?

Expect rejection. Most authors experience it – a lot. It’s okay to be demoralised by it, but it’s important to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and persevere. Hone your craft and write, write, write – even if you have to shelve an idea and start afresh.

You never know which piece of writing will be the one that wins a competition or gets published. And there’s no feeling quite like that!

Alan Spink

I am a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. I enjoy working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, I also write fiction and enjoy watching football and movies in my spare time. My one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.

Writer Of The Week: Claire Gallagher

Our Writer Of The Week is Claire Gallagher. Claire’s story, “The Tattoo Killer”, is in the June 29 issue, on sale this week.

Congratulations on being awarded the thriller runner-up prize in our recent Writing Bursary Competition. Is crime a genre you like to read and write?

I read eclectically. What I love about the crime genre is that it’s like a puzzle for the reader, whether that’s a whodunit or a whydunit. A story which keeps the reader guessing will always be a page turner.

In terms of writing, I’ve only recently attempted crime. It felt too daunting before. How, I wondered, does a writer weave elements such as clues, misdirection, red herrings, reveals and twists into the narrative in a seamless way? It took building my experience writing other genres to feel confident enough to finally have a go. Luckily, I enjoy a challenge!

Your story is cleverly constructed – where did the idea come from?

When I saw the Writing Bursary Competition advertised, I knew I had to enter. I’ve self-published contemporary romances, so I wrote a story for this category first. Writers were allowed to enter into each of the three categories, so I thought I’d attempt a humorous narrative next (though humour is notoriously difficult to write!).

I told myself I wouldn’t even touch the thriller category, but my mind started whirring with an idea and I just had to start typing. The idea for “The Tattoo Killer” came from the knowledge that serial killers are usually men. I wanted to play with the concept of a female killer, with a female detective pitted against her. When I received the e-mail saying that I was runner-up in the over-30’s category, I was surprised and delighted!

If you could only take two books with you to a desert island, what would they be and why?

A Christmas Carol” would be my first choice. I read it every December. It’s such a heart-warming tale of redemption and Dickens created some great characters. My other choice would be between “Jane Eyre” and “Pride And Prejudice”. I love a strong female character, though Jane and Elizabeth are very different. Combined with a love story – perfection!

What makes fiction writing special for you?

Escaping into another world and controlling what happens in it (though my characters often decide to do their own thing!). I’m also fascinated by human emotions and motivations, and fiction is a great way to explore them. I actually learn a lot about myself in the process.

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

Laptop. I like the fact that I can edit neatly as I go. My dining table is my go-to place for writing. Sitting there, I have a wonderful view of the woods opposite my house. Nature seems to calm my mind and leave it open to creativity.

What’s your one top tip for aspiring writers?

Expect rejection. Most authors experience it – a lot. It’s okay to be demoralised by it, but it’s important to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and persevere. Hone your craft and write, write, write – even if you have to shelve an idea and start afresh.

You never know which piece of writing will be the one that wins a competition or gets published. And there’s no feeling quite like that!

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