Clodagh Murphy is a Dublin-based author of romantic comedy novels. Her most recent, Frisky Business, was reviewed by Novelicious back in November. Clodagh tells Novelicious why Rainy Days and Tuesdays by Claire Allan introduced her to a whole new world.
Much as I love books, the idea that a book could change your life always seemed like a bit of Oprah-style hyperbole to me, or a particularly grandiose cover quote.
There have been books that I’ve become so engrossed in I’ve missed my stop or lost whole weekends to devouring them; books I’ve related to; books I’ve learned from; books that moved me to tears or made me cry laughing; books that made me want to be a better writer or a different kind of writer; books that inspired me; books that spurred me on to have adventures and try new things. But I couldn’t say any of them materially altered the course of my life or changed my world view.
However, Claire Allan’s debut novel, Rainy Days & Tuesdays, did actually change my life in a very real and practical way.
When Claire’s book came out I’d just started submitting my first novel, The Disengagement Ring, to agents, and I always checked out the acknowledgements in other chick lit authors’ books, particularly Irish ones, to see who their agent was. In her acknowledgements Claire mentioned an online writers’ community, Writewords.org.uk, and I decided to check it out.
This was in Olden Times, back in 2007. I wasn’t on Facebook, I’d never heard of Twitter, and the idea of joining ‘real-life’ writing groups or classes scared me. So writing was a lonely pursuit, and joining WriteWords was like opening a door to a whole new world. I found my way to a very active, lively chick lit writers’ group within the WriteWords forum, and I settled in there. There was a mix of published and unpublished writers, and it was a very supportive, friendly and fun group. We critiqued each other’s work, we swapped information and advice, we chatted, laughed and gossiped. We even had a chocolate chain and a virtual Christmas party. I loved it!
So many things that have happened since then stemmed from finding that site. I was introduced to my agent by Claire, I discovered NaNo, I joined Facebook and later Twitter. I found books I’d probably never have heard of, got lots of feedback and advice, and became much more savvy about the whole writing and publishing business.
But best of all, I made some fantastic friends. Most of us have gravitated away from WriteWords now, but we still talk in various places online, and a lot of us meet up in real life as well. We continue to cheer each other on, celebrate our successes and commiserate about our failures, rant, moan, encourage, support and chat.
Finding that site transformed my writing world completely, and brought some lovely people into my life. It amazes me sometimes when I think of the friends I’d never have known and the places I wouldn’t have been were it not for that one line in the acknowledgements of Claire’s book.