It is always terrifying to call yourself a writer.
Until recently, my creative writing played second fiddle to my journalism - where I have bylines in publications such as Huffington Post, Metro and the Independent. The first time I really felt confident calling myself a writer is when I finished the first draft of my book; a memoir which charts the story of my dad, Patrick, through the trees and wildflowers in the places that shaped him: the gorse covering the Wicklow mountains, the cherry blossom in Paris’s botanical gardens and the Old Man’s Beard that lines the paths of Gravesend, where I grew up.
It took me 18 months to write my dad's life story, a journey which saw me travel to Dublin, Paris, Suffolk and London, sneaking around in graveyards, knocking on people's front doors and uncovering dusty archives in library vaults around the country. I then spent a further 9 months editing, and am now seeking agent representation for my manuscript - a brand new chapter, just as daunting as writing the thing!
What I write about
Although I love experimenting with form and genre, I'm particularly interested in narrative non-fiction. This is an umbrella term for anything rooted in truth but told in a narrative way - for example, nature writing, travel writing and biography. In adult fiction, this might be a title like 'H is for Hawk' by Helen McDonald or 'Hidden Figures' by Margot Lee Shetterley.
Memoirs in particular tend to be considered a bit 'stuffy' or middle class, but as the genre becomes more popular we are seeing the authors become increasingly diverse. A few of my favourite narrative non-fiction titles are:
'On Chapel Sands' by Laura Cumming
'Bandit: A Daughter's Memoir' by Molly Brodak
'Fairyland' by Alyssia Abbott
'Bageye at the Wheel' by Colin Grant
'The Salt Path' by Raynor Winn
At the moment, most of my writing commissions are to do with my work with young people, although I do take on a little freelance editing and writing tutorial for beginner writers. If this interests you, then do feel free to get in contact below.