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From Novice to Novelist by Jackie Walsh

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Jackie Walsh

Jackie Walsh

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The reason I became a writer is simple. I was bored. I wanted something to drag me away from the ‘have to do list’ my life had become. Something to awaken the creative part of my brain that had slipped into a coma while I wasn’t looking. Everything had become justified, qualified, dignified. And it was boring as hell. I needed to try something new.

My plan to become a writer sounded ridiculous to everyone including me. I wasn’t one of those kids you see with a book constantly in their hand. In fact, if I was caught reading at all it was most likely the cover of an album, The Stranglers. Clannad. The Jam or even Michael Jackson. But as Marylin Munroe once said, “It is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring” and I have to agree. But where would I go? How would I accomplish this? Luckily for me, a writing course for beginners was starting in my local school the following week so I didn’t even have to travel far. The stars were aligning.

My first sense of achievement came when I had a short story published as a winner in an RTE competition. I could almost smell the Booker, so off I marched to the Writer’s Centre in Dublin’s city centre. Another short journey but one that was to prove far steeper. It was like lining up at the start of a Formula One race on a bicycle. Everyone was so good, so far ahead of me. I knew nothing about writing. But I was there to learn. If I paid attention, knuckled down, did the work, in no time at all I’d be able to write a novel.

Ten years later and I have written a novel. But it wasn’t the ‘paying attention’ or the ‘knuckling down’ that got me there. It was the glorious journey. The people I met along the way. I think spending time with people who share the same creative interests is one of the most satisfying things a human being can experience. Success is nice but not necessary. The real satisfaction comes from progress. Each step, each recovery from a fall, the events, the introductions, all culminating in a whole new addictive world that I fell in love with.

Writing had brought me to festivals, launches, holidays, had introduced me to those at the top of their game and blessed me with some wonderful friends. It also thought me never to give up because belief can let you down at times, hiding behind self doubt. Perseverance on the other hand, will always take you over the line.

I have to admit I didn’t start out planning to get published. It was my brain that needed expanding not my bank balance. Writing was supposed to be my hobby not my job. But when the opportunity came to get published, I jumped at it. I was overwhelmed and over the moon that someone believed my work was good enough to publish. Hera, a London based publishing company, offered me a two book contract and boom, my hobby had become my job.

When it happens, it happens quickly. Only two years have passed since that unbelievable moment when I signed the first contract. My third novel, Five Little Words is about to be released on Oct 21st. My first novel, Familiar Strangers was released in May 2019 and The Secrets He Kept, in Nov 2019. I’m now about to venture into the unknown world of ‘novel number four’ and I can’t wait to meet the characters.

I would describe my novels as domestic noir. An ordinary person having the rug pulled from under them. There are good people, bad people, liars and saints, confused people, manipulative people and at least one dead body. They are all stand alone novels with twist and turns and a plot that has to make sense. So it takes a lot of head melting and sleepless nights to get there. But I love it. And while writing under contract brings its challenges, even the bits I hate, like the pressure of deadlines, the social media end of things, the bad review or the second guessing, they are all doable when the urge to write becomes so great.

There is something special about taking a journey you never thought you’d take. Meeting people you never thought you’d meet and creating something that only exists because you created it. Writing is a wonderful accessible hobby for anyone who is interested. There are plenty of courses available to get you started and connected with fellow writers. All you need is a good idea, a willingness to improve your skills and the grit to push through to

‘The End’.

(c) Jackie Walsh

About Five Little Words:

When new mother, Laura Caldwell, opens the card dropped through her letterbox, she expected to see a heartfelt note, congratulating her on the birth of baby Shay.

Instead, she sees a message that makes her blood run cold. ‘Your husband is a murderer.’ It couldn’t be true, could it? Not Conor, her adoring husband. He couldn’t be behind the brutal killing of local barmaid, Vicky. Not him.

But while Laura fights to discover the truth about her husband, she’s also holding dark secrets of her own; secrets she’s spent years trying to hide. Could the card be a desperate attempt at revenge – or could her husband really be a murderer? There’s a tangled web between this perfect couple – and the truth might just destroy them…

Readers love Jackie Walsh’s gripping, twisty thrillers…

‘It is SUCH a good mystery book, a real page turner… I’d mark it a 6 out of 5 if I could.’ ☆☆☆☆☆ Reader Review

‘wow! It was excellent…This book is very well written, has great characters and grabbed my attention and held it the entire time I was reading.’ Goodreads reviewer

‘I loved this and devoured it to the end… A stunning piece of writing with the tension and drama you expect from a top psychological thriller. Very highly recommended.’ ☆☆☆☆☆ Reader Review

Order your copy online here.

About the author

Jackie Walsh lives in Dublin with her husband Paul and dog Layla. She is published by Hera Books and is a member of the Irish Writers Centre and The Irish Crime writers group.

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