Claire Allan is the author of Rainy Days and Tuesdays. Her book is a hilarious, yet pointed look at motherhood. Her contemporary fiction has become a favorite of many and readers anxiously await her second novel. I had the chance recently to speak with Allan about her writing.
Jill Hart: Hi, Claire! I’m curious, how did you get started writing?
Claire Allan: I’m a journalist by day; I work for a local newspaper here in Northern Ireland called The Daily Journal. I’ve been working as a journalist for about 10 years. I actually started creative writing, always liked writing when in school. When I was turning 30, which was 1 1/2 years ago; I just decided I really wanted to write. It was kind of a now or never type thing and at the same time a friend of mine passed away. She had brain cancer and she passed away like six months before I turned 30. We had always chatted about one day we would write this book – she loved writing as well but she never got the chance. It sort of inspired me on to think that, well, if she didn’t get the chance to, who am I to throw the chance away? So, I started writing Rainy Days and Tuesdays.
Jill Hart: I love the book, it was absolutely fabulous. It’s so open, honest and fun. This is silly, but I love the fact that she goes on medication. Nobody talks about it. I really liked that part of it. It’s just completely honest and entertaining. It was somewhat like reality and yet it was an escape because it was someone else’s life.
Claire Allan: Exactly. A big thing for me; anything I write I like to be really, really brutally honest about it. In my writing as a journalist, I write a weekly column which you can read on the blog – I upload every week. I’m always really honest about my life and what’s going on. People at work tell me I can’t believe you have written that in the newspaper. I even wrote at one stage how many stitches I had with the episiotomy when I gave birth.
People will relate if you are honest and you are talking from a real place. Maybe as a journalist, I speak to a lot of people and tell them very human stories. I’m used to really telling the nitty-gritty so it was important to put that in the book and there is a lot of humor in it as well. There is a lot of humor in every aspect of life, every tragedy, every tough situation and I like to reflect that so it’s not just dragging people down all the time.
Jill Hart: I love to read humor, but this one actually made me laugh out loud.
Claire Allan: It’s great when a book can do that. The first time I read Marian Keyes Rachel’s Holiday I was on a ferry between Ireland and Wales and I just kept laughing out loud and I’m sure people thought I was completely lit. It’s fantastic when a book just touches you like that.
Jill Hart: I have to admit that I’m an avid reader of your blog as well. I think I started reading that before I got ahold of your book. Your blog is open and honest (and hilarious). You talk about being a writer and a mom.
Claire Allan: My son, Joseph, is an absolute dream. He’s fantastic and he makes me laugh so much. I think boys tend to be really affectionate more so than girls. I have a six year old niece and she is really canny the way she operates but Joseph is so affectionate and loving. It’s great. I love him to pieces.
Jill Hart: So, what is next for you on the writing front? I know you have another book on the way – I don’t know how much you can tell us.
Claire Allan: I have another book due out in Ireland in September. It’s called Blue Line Blues. Basically, it’s two best friends and their story of running side by side parallel. One of them has an unplanned pregnancy. The other, her best friend, is a mite and has fertility issues and can’t get pregnant. So, it’s how their stories progress and the different feelings towards one another. I spoke to quite a few women who have fertility problems to make sure it was absolutely honest as it could be but again with an awful lot of humor in it.
It’s just a very real story essentially about friendship and about believing in yourself as a parent and accepting yourself whether or not you can be a parent, and whether or not your relationship to your mate can survive. There are lots of things in it and I’m really, really excited about this book, actually.
Jill Hart: It sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to read it.
Claire Allan: I’m really excited to get it out there. September seems a long, long way for me because we work a year in advance. I finished this back in July, so now I am half way through my third book and even sort of starting the fourth, so it’s crazy how it works.
Jill Hart: I’m just excited to hear you’re writing more. The worst thing is when you find an author you love and you find her first book and then you have to wait and wait.
Claire Allan: I hate the wait.
Jill Hart: It sounds like you are working hard for us readers, though.
Claire Allan: It’s an addiction. I always say this is an addiction – once I sort of tapped into this book because for years I didn’t allow myself to write creatively because I was writing all day at work and I would come home and go, oh, can’t do that. I think once I tapped into that I can’t switch it off and the more I write the more I want to write and the more ideas form and the more books that are dying to get out.
Claire Allan: Thank you so much!Powered by Sidelines