A bit on the late side today, but here she is my featurette for today. The great Gerry McCullough, and she will be telling us all about her book and what more she has to share with us.
So without further ado, let’s get this show on the road.
Hi Gerry! Glad to see you here on my humble blog. I’ll not waste your time and get on with the first question.
Can you give me your best Whoop? Unless you have another one which works better for you?
I went ‘Whoop!’ or words to that effect, when my first book Belfast Girls reached the overall top 100 paid on Amazon last Spring, and stayed there for some time!
Well done, Gerry! How you managed to get it there that fast is a question for another time. Now I’d like to say that it sounds like a winner that one, but does it work all the time, even those times when the muse has gone and done a runner on you? And when did you first start with it?
It always helps to think of the encouraging things that have happened with my writing. A few years ago, when I was still wondering if I should be writing at all, one of my short stories, Primroses, won the Cuirt Award (a prestigious Irish Literary competition) and that convinced me that I should keep on writing, at a time when I’d had only about a dozen short stories published, and mainstream publishers kept rejecting my novel. And not long after that, Belfast Girls was accepted by a publisher – a great moment!
Right, sounds like you are on the right track there. Let’s do a few of the yada yada questions before we move on to the fun.
What is the title of the book you would like to talk about?
People are still buying Belfast Girls. But I’d love to see my most recent romantic thriller, Angel in Flight, catch up with it. Angel in Flight is the first of a series about a Belfast girl called Angeline (or Angel) Murphy, a cross between Modesty Blaise, Lara Croft and James Bond, who tracks down killers and deals with them. Angel has come out of an abusive marriage and as a result has learned how to defend herself.
Did you have difficulty coming up with the titles?
I originally wrote this book a good while ago, and called it Lady in the Labyrinth. Styles moved on, and the title sounded old fashioned. When I recently got the book out and rewrote it completely, taking advice on modern trends from my friend Sam Millar, a well known local crime writer, I needed a new title. I’m not sure how I came up with Angel in Flight – it just seemed appropriate. Angels fly, don’t they, and Angel spends part, though not all, of the book escaping from her enemies, until she finally turns round and bashes them!
If you would have to change the genre, what would it be then?
I’ve already written in several different genres. For instance, Lady Molly & The Snapper, my most recently published book, is a YA Time Travel adventure set in Ireland and on the High Seas, and aimed at young people, rather than a romantic thriller aimed at adults. Belfast Girls was first labeled ‘Literary’ by my publisher, and in fact sat at #1 in Women’s Literary Fiction for over six months – so in a way I’ve switched genres already with it!
Just to confuse you we’ll take the alternative route now.
What don’t you like about writing, or whatever you need to do marketing wise?
I love writing, but marketing is a real pain. It takes up valuable writing time. And I really don’t like pushing myself – I’m modest by nature, believe it or not! But marketing is essential if you want people to know your books are there. And if they don’t know that, how can they buy them?
Tell me, when your muse is visiting and you’re on a roll, what would seriously drive her/him away?
I suppose illness, or a serious family problem which needs my input.
What does your muse look like?
I don’t think of myself as having a muse. I believe all creativity comes from God – the ultimate creator – and my inspiration comes from Him.
Do you ever speak to your characters and do you get along all the time?
Not exactly. I think of them and make up conversations and events that they take part in, in my head, before writing it down. I write about people I like (apart from the baddies) so, yes, I get on with them. If I didn’t, I’d stop writing about them and move on to others!
Can you name the food and drink that will surely get you started?
A glass of red wine? Well, occasionally!
Would you be able to come up with an excuse on why you haven’t written a whole day, and have me believe it too?
I hope so! I didn’t write on my husband’s birthday (Jan 16) because I was up to my eyes organizing the party, and going out with him to buy things with his birthday present money. Å very good reason, I think!
And finally why would you ever want to live life behind a keyboard slaving over a manuscript?
This is a hard one. I can only say that I’ve always wanted to write, and whenever I’ve stopped – at various times in my life – I’ve always been dragged back and inspired to write again. I don’t think I’ll ever give it up.
Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂
When I was in my teens, I was a vegetarian for six years, until I found being married with children, and having to cook for others as well as myself, made it too difficult. So I gave it up. Recently, with all my children grown up and away from home, I decided to give it another go. But, alas, after only five years this time (or nearly six, to be fair to me!) I’m going to give it up again – except when buying ready meals from supermarkets! (Or, indeed, when travelling in China – if that ever happens – where the meat might be anything, I’m told!).
There, Lucy, you heard it first here!
Thank you Gerry for sharing all this on my blog. But Let’s hear a little bit about the writer. I know us writers love our bios. So lets share yours.
Gerry McCullough, born and brought up in North Belfast, is an award winning short story writer, with a distinguished reputation. She has had around sixty short stories published, broadcast, or collected in anthologies. In 2005 her story Primroses won the Cuirt Award (Galway Arts Festival) and she has won, been short listed, and been commended in a number of other literary competitions since.
Gerry lives in Conlig just outside Bangor. She is married to singer-songwriter, writer and radio presenter Raymond McCullough, and has four children.
Gerry’s first novel, Belfast Girls, published by Precious Oil Publications, is a #1 bestseller on paid UK Kindle. Danger Danger, her second Irish romantic thriller, is fast catching up on Belfast Girls, as is her collection of 12 Irish short stories, The Seanachie: Tales of Old Seamus. Her new book Angel in Flight, featuring Angel Murphy, the new Lara Croft, described as ‘a feisty wee Belfast girl’, was published in June 2012. Gerry’s plan is that this new book will be the first of a series about Angel, the strong-minded Belfast Girl.
Now Precious Oil Publications has published a new venture – a YA Time Travel adventure, Lady Molly & The Snapper. This is a very different field for Gerry, who hopes that a younger audience will enjoy her writing just as much.
And then finally, where can your fans find you and those wonderful books online?
Gerry! You’re all over the place, but where are your books at?
Angel in Flight