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Claire McGowan

Claire McGowanClaire McGowan is a Northern Ireland author who writes crime under new own name and female fiction as Eva Woods. Her latest thriller called ’The Push’ is out now.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
    I grew up in Rostrevor Co Down in Northern Ireland and now live in London. I write mostly crime fiction and also women’s fiction, as well as radio drama and scripts.
  2. Tell us about your new book called ‘The Push’.
    ‘The Push’ is about a group of couples, all very different, who are all expecting babies and go to the same antenatal group. When someone dies in a suspicious fall at one of their gatherings, their secrets and lies begin to unravel.
  3. You write both female fiction and crime. Which genre do you find easier to write?
    Definitely crime! I tend to over-plot my women’s fiction as I’m so used to having to write lots of twists and turns.
  4. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    I’d invite Marian Keyes who seems brilliant fun and reads a lot!
  5. You come from a rural village in Northern Ireland, has that been a setting in any of your books?
    It features in some of my Paula Maguire books, though I rarely write about actual real places. I usually give them a different name and change them slightly.
  6. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    ‘The Secret History’ -The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation
  7. Why do you think Northern Ireland is so popular and successful for crime authors?
    I think we have an incredibly rich history of crime and loss here, which we are only now beginning to be able to write about.
  8. The Push

  9. Who’s your favourite villain or hero?
    It’s hard to think of a better or more interesting character than Hannibal Lecter – he’s sometimes a villain and sometimes an ally, at least in ‘The Silence of the Lambs’
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    Something very long – I still have to read the new Hilary Mantel, so probably that, then maybe the complete works of Shakespeare, and the artist’s way so I could work my way through it.
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    I think there needs to be a balance between developing your skills, and almost more important,
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    Giant cup of tea – I drink lots of tea all through the day
  13. And finally, do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    I’ve just finished my next thriller, ‘I Know You’, and also have a true-crime audiobook coming, which will be announced soon.

    You can find Claire McGowan on Twitter and her website for updates.

You can buy ‘The Push’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Noireland – The Best Crime Festival In Town

Noireland International Crime Festival, Belfast

It’s fair to say that the first Noireland International Crime Fiction Festival went off with a bang. With a packed programme and a well thought out schedule that made sure no one missed out on a precious moment, there was plenty of food for thought for the aspiring author as well as book lover.

Set against the backdrop of the Europa Hotel, with its mirrored walls and winding staircases, it was the perfect setting for this atmospheric festival, slap bang in the centre of Belfast.

On the Friday, I participated in workshops with authors, Gerard Brennan and Claire McGowan and both workshops, were informative and interactive as we engaged in some light writing exercises as well as given the opportunity to question published authors.

The event kicked off on Friday night with a ‘Line Of Duty’ panel and Strabane author, Brian McGilloway quizzed the shows creator Jed Mercurio, actor, Adrian Dunbar and the show’s producer Stephen Wright about the success of the Northern Ireland show.

Over the weekend, there were talks catered for everyone who has an interest in crime and varied from the research and ideas of genre, as well as some added humour to lighten the dark subject.

Between each talk there was ample time and opportunity to browse the compact bookshop as well as chat to the authors and get books signed.

I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of Noireland. It was wonderful to see such an exciting range of talent from across the water and to meet the people who have written for books and screen. With panels of authors featuring some of my favourite authors such as Ali Land, Liz Nugent and Sophie Hannah, as well as a packed out rooms for the events featuring the people behind ‘Line of Duty’ and Aidan Gillen.

It was also exhilarating to be amongst such talent and to be able to listen about their own writing experiences as well as meet other like-minded people, who like myself are also tentatively starting their own writing journey’s.

One particular moment that stood out for me, was when Brian McGilloway asked me if I was a writer. I was hesitant with my response as I am trying to be and I’m actively working on something at the minute, so I told him that I was trying to and his reply stayed with me all weekend.

“You are a writer, even if you’re not published”

As an aspiring author, I found the festival to be an absolute fountain of information, packed with support and advice. I parted ways with Crime Noireland on a high, loaded with books, inspiration and a lot lighter purse.

A monumental thank you and well done to David Torrans, his staff from No Alibis Bookshop (the best bookshop in Northern Ireland) as well as all the volunteers who were all so friendly and approachable. They did such an amazing job of organising a fabulous event and gave book lovers and writers an unique opportunity to network and engage.

With a promise of another festival next year, I’m already counting down to 2018. Hopefully by then, I will have finished all the books that I bought at this year’s event!

Noireland International Crime Festival, Belfast

Noireland International Crime Festival, Belfast

If you’re a fan of the crime genre, whether you enjoy reading the books or aspire to be an author, then Belfast’s debut crime festival is a must attendance.

Noireland (great name by the way) will be running from 27-29th October and taking place in the Europa Hotel.

Organised by the people behind the amazing bookshop ‘No Alibis’ which is situated in Botanic in Belfast, this festival celebrates the island’s love of crime fiction.

The 3-day event will be showcasing the amazing talent emerging from Ireland currently as well as some of the popular authors from all over the world, such as Sophie Hannah, Arne Dahl and Benjamin Black, to name just a few.

Noireland International Crime was organised to provide a platform for the wealth of crime writing talent emerging from Ireland, showcasing it alongside some of the biggest international names in crime and thriller writing.

With a jam-packed programme of great authors plus a selection of entertaining events, this debut festival is an exciting introduction to Northern Ireland’s love of all things crime and suspense.

As a very new and independent organisation they rely on partnerships, sponsors, donations, ticket sales and volunteers to support their work.

If you are interested in partnering with Noireland or sponsoring them you can contact them at info@noireland.com

For more information and updates about the events plus tickets, go to Noireland.com