FE me

8th September 2006 at 01:00
Job: Novelist Born: 1970. Attended: City of Westminster College, 2003 Studied: Creative Writing

Sinead was born and raised in Dublin where she grew up surrounded by books.

She was inspired by her mother, also an author, and dreamed of writing novels herself as she watched her mother type at the kitchen table. After leaving college and joining a creative writing group, she wrote The Baby Trail, published by Penguin in the UK and Ireland and by 15 others worldwide. She has since published her second book,A Perfect Match and just completed her third novel - From Here to Maternity.

"I attended a beginners' writing course and the support I received was immeasurable.I learned a lot about the process of writing, how to go about getting published, how writing about what you know rings so true and how to use your strengths and hide your weaknesses.

"Lis Leigh was my tutor and she was fantastic. From the first day she could see that I was very serious about the whole process and that it wasn't just a hobby for me, it was a passion.

"She gave me great guidance as my book began to take shape and helped me to plot the book out chapter by chapter before writing it. This is a tremendous help as it stops you from going off on tangents - which is a lot easier to do than you might think. It was with her encouragement that I sent my manuscript off to publishers and subsequently got a book deal.

"I acknowledged my classmates in my first book - because their support and encouragement was invaluable.

"The creative writing course gave me the confidence to send my manuscript out to publishers and agents.I now write full-time. My life has changed dramatically and I now do something I love every day.

"The course made me realise that getting published is possible. My classmates were very supportive and my tutor was a total gem.

"Going to the course once a week and bringing in chapters to be reviewed gave me the discipline to finish my novel and the courage to send it out to publishers.

"In an ideal world, I hoped to be writing full time. I never actually thought it would happen,but now I write full time for a living and it's a privilege I never take for granted.

"I moved back to Dublin shortly after the course ended, so I lost touch with my classmates, but I am still in touch with my tutor.

"I kept up with one classmate for a while, he was writing a script and was extremely talented. I hope he finishes it someday as I really think he could be a successful playwright.

"My hopes for the future are to continue to be able to write for a living.

To do something you love every day is such a blessing.

"Granted, there are days when I spend hours staring at the wall waiting for inspiration,but when it comes and you are on a roll, there is no better feeling.

"It's the best job in the world and, to be honest, I wouldn't do anything differently because I had such an incredible outcome.

"For me it was just what I needed - the discipline to bring in work every week, the encouragement of classmates and the honest feedback of fellow writers. Plus the advice and expertise of my tutor.

"The first time the class read my work and liked it was so liberating. To finally show your work to someone is terrifying but exhilarating and I knew they weren't pandering to me because they weren't friends or family. They were honest classmates.

"The best piece of advice was definitely when my tutor suggested that I do a chapter breakdown before starting the book.

"To have that kind of detail before you begin is reassuring and a great help. It gives you structure and direction and makes you really reflect on your story and where its going to go and how it will end before you launch yourself into it.

"Meeting fellow aspiring writers was a real treat - to know you are not the only person who is insane enough to think you might actually be able to write a book and maybe, just maybe get published.

"It was very reassuring and their feedback was extremely helpful.

"Since I left the college the best thing was seeing my book in a shop window. It's every aspiring writers dream and it's the most incredible feeling. Words cannot really do it justice."

Sinead Moriarty was talking to Shekhar Bhatia

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