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Hazel Gaynor

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Introducing a new style of creative time-out

International bestselling Irish authors, Hazel Gaynor, Carmel Harrington and Catherine Ryan Howard launch a writing retreat with a difference: THE INSPIRATION PROJECT.

The Inspiration Project is a new concept in writing retreats, offering what the founders call ‘creative time-outs’: weekend events which focus on delivering practical advice about the publishing industry and developing a career as a writer, while also giving participants the time, space and inspiration to focus on individual creative goals. The concept is the brain-child of three successful Irish authors who, in the last five years, have all made the leap from slush piles and rejection to global publishing deals and bestseller lists, and who all now make a living from their writing and believe others can, too.

With a total of 14 bestselling historical, crime and commercial fiction novels between them, Hazel Gaynor, Carmel Harrington and Catherine Ryan Howard are excited to offer an event which focuses on delivering positive and practical advice to help writers achieve their creative dreams. ‘So often when we were trying to get published we repeatedly heard how difficult it is, not to mention how tough it is to make a living from writing. While it certainly isn’t easy, we are proof that it can happen. We asked ourselves, what advice would have helped us before the good stuff started happening, and what did we learn after our books hit the shelves? With this in mind, we’ve designed a weekend writing retreat which we believe will work for writers at any stage of the publication journey. If you don’t know where to start, don’t know what to do now that you’ve reached ‘THE END’, or even if you already have a book deal but don’t know what to do next, we’re here to help, and inspire.’

The weekend creative time-outs will focus on a series of Inspiration Shots (dynamic 45-minute coaching sessions packed full of useful information on everything from writing a synopsis to understanding the publishing process), but will also include blocks of uninterrupted writing time, writing prompts (for those who need them), and one-on-one mentoring sessions. ‘We know how busy life is and how difficult it can be to find time to write and think without distraction,’ the founders explain. ‘The Inspiration Project is all about providing an opportunity for writers – at any stage of their career – to check out of everyday life and check in with their writing, and to do so in an environment where they can think big and dream even bigger. A lot can happen in 48 hours, and we’ve devised a programme that makes every minute count before our participants return to their busy lives.’

The first Inspiration Project weekend will be held at the Seafield Hotel and Spa Resort, Ballymoney, Gorey, on the Wexford coast, from 12-14 January 2018. The introductory price of €399 includes two nights B&B in a luxury room, a drinks reception and one evening meal, plus full use of Seafield’s award-winning Oceo Spa. And, of course, a full day of ‘Inspiration Shots’ coaching sessions, one-on-one mentoring and the time and space to write, as well as post-event check-ups and regular inspiration top-ups.

For further details, and to secure a place on the first event visit www.theinspirationproject.ie

Interview requests, please contact: theinspirationprojectd3@gmail.com

More about the founders

New York Times and international bestselling historical novelist Hazel Gaynor lives in County Kildare with her husband and two children. Her debut novel The Girl Who Came Home won the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award and hit the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers. A Memory of Violets was also a bestseller and a 2015 WHSmith Fresh Talent pick. The Girl from The Savoy was shortlisted for the 2016 BGE Irish Book Awards and a bestseller in Ireland and Canada. In 2017 Hazel has published The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas In Paris (co-written with Heather Webb). Hazel also contributed to WWI anthology Fall of Poppies. Hazel’s novels are all published internationally, and she is translated into eight foreign languages to date. Her fifth solo novel will be published in autumn 2018.

Hazel has written articles for publications including TIME, Salon, Irish Times, Writer’s Digest, and the Huffington Post, has completed two US book tours and has extensive media experience in the US, UK and Ireland, including RTEs Ryan Tubridy Show, TV3s Elaine, NPR, and the BBC World Service. She is a popular speaker at literary festivals, sharing her love of historical fiction at the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Historical Novelist’s Society, Kildare Readers’ Festival, Mountains to Sea, Waterford Writers’ Festival and the Dublin International Literary Festival, among others. She has also taught creative writing at a number of schools. Before stretching her literary wings in 2009, Hazel was a Training and Development Manager for professional services firms in London, Sydney and Dublin. Her claim to fame is John Cleese tweeting how much his wife loved Hazel’s book.


Sunday Times bestseller Carmel Harrington writes issue driven commercial fiction. From Co. Wexford she lives in a small village with her husband Roger and two young children, Amelia and Nate. Carmel began her writing career, as a self-published author, before landing a book deal with Harper Collins. Since then she has published six novels, won two writing awards – Kindle Book of the Year 2013 and Romantic eBook of the Year 2013 and was shortlisted for a BGE Irish Book Award in 2016. Her books are published worldwide, regular chart toppers and are translated into eight languages to date.

In 2017, she published two books – the official ITV novel and UK bestseller Cold Feet The Lost Years (Hodder & Stoughton) and The Woman at 72 Derry Lane (Harper) which remained in the Irish Top 10 for five weeks. Carmel has vast media experience, as a regular panellist on TV3’s Elaine Show and Midday. In addition, her TV appearances include – WNDU-TV in US, BBC in UK, The Today Show, IrelandAM and The Morning Show in Ireland. She has been interviewed many times on radio, on shows that include – BBC Radio Ulster and RTE’s Ryan Tubridy Show. If that wasn’t enough to make the juggle struggle real, she is Chair and Curator of Wexford Literary Festival, which she co-founded. She has given author talks and workshops in schools, libraries and festivals, throughout Ireland, UK and US. Before writing, she was a Sales and Marketing Manager for an American multi-national and if she ever stops writing, she has notions of becoming a Broadway star. Sadly talent does not always match ambition.


Catherine Ryan Howard is a crime/thriller writer from Cork. Her debut thriller, Distress Signals (Corvus Books/Blackstone Publishing) was an Irish Times and USA Today bestseller, shortlisted for the IBA Crime Novel of the Year 2016 and the CWA’s John Creasey/New Blood Dagger 2017, and optioned for TV by Jet Stone Media. Her second thriller, The Liar’s Girl, will be published in March 2018.

Catherine began her writing career self-publishing non-fiction: two light-hearted travelogues, Mousetrapped and Backpacked, followed by the obligatory ‘how to’, Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing. Known for her pragmatic approach to all things publishing DIY, she has delivered workshops and seminars on the subject for the likes of Faber Academy (London), Guardian Masterclasses (London), Irish PEN, Publishing Ireland, the Irish Writers’ Centre and The Inkwell Group. Before writing full-time, Catherine stapled things together in various offices in Cork, worked as a campsite courier in France and was a front desk agent in a Walt Disney World hotel. She is currently studying English at Trinity College Dublin as a mature student and still wants to be a NASA astronaut when she grows up.

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