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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.

The Ex Factor By Eva Woods

The Ex Factor‘The Ex Factor’ is the latest book by Eva Woods.

Modern dating is hard, especially when all you meet are liars, oddballs, men who wear Superman pants and men who live with their mums. So why not date someone who already comes pre-approved? Just because your friend’s ex wasn’t right for her doesn’t mean that he won’t be right for you. That’s Marnie’s new plan for herself and her three best friends, perennially single Helen, recently divorced Rosa and cynical lawyer Ani. Through bad dates and good, the four friends begin to realise that there are advantages to dating pre-screened men…but there can be some serious pitfalls to falling for your friend’s ex.

‘The Ex Factor’ is seen from the perspective of four best friends, Helen, Marnie, Ani and Rosa who have all given up on love. Helen is busy working on her unique dating website, which is aimed for people in relationships, Rosa is trying to get over the heartbreak off her husband going off with the work intern and has to see him everyday at work, whilst Ani, is a divorce lawyer and is unable to get past a second date meanwhile Marnie has returned from years of travelling, full of mystery and intrigue, her friends are dying to hear about her exciting life, but it seems that life is far from glamorous for Marnie, but she’s not letting anyone know about what really happened.

Right from the start, this story was fun, based in London, the four friends are reminiscent of the ladies from ‘Sex And The City’, their fun loving, adventurous, enjoy cocktails and most of all they are looking for their Prince Charming. The concept of sharing exes from their past does make for interesting reading and I found myself wondering how this would effect their friendship, as they all enjoy dates with past partners as they wondered if these exes could potentially be the ones who got away.

The mixture of characters, personalities and fun situations all make for light hearted and entertaining ladies. Each character was unique and relatable with their own issues and I found myself warming to each of them. I loved Helen, a quiet character, she’s content with her quiet life involving routines and spending time with her cat, Mr Fluffypants, but when her old flame from her past reappears, she finds herself struggling with the project even when she meets IT consultant Karl, a man who is helping with her website that is forever being hacked. I particularly loved Rosa, I found myself sympathising with her as she is suddenly thrown into the world of singles, having adjusted to married life and content in finding her happy ever after, it falls apart when her David has an affair. She’s a sweet character, who has to write about the dating project much to bemusement of her handsome boss Jason and bitchy Suzanne. She’s constantly found in ridiculous dramas and is a bit like the Bridget Jones character of the story. Ani is the more sensible and serious of the group, coming from an Indian background, she feels the pressure of being single and throws herself into her job, whilst the instigator of the project, Marnie is quite a mysterious character, her life is far from perfect but she refuses to divulge about her life and where she has been from the past couple of years much to the frustration of her friends.

I really enjoyed this story, I thought it was a fun and refreshing book with plenty of witty one liners and funny situations that made for refreshing reading. A story about friendships and starting over ‘The Ex Factor’ is a great introduction to a new author.

You can buy The Ex Factor from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.