Beginners Pluck


Brought up in a village in Northern Ireland, Claire began writing when she was nine but until recently she’d never finished anything. She assumed that writing wasn’t a career option.

“After university, I spent a year in China and then lived in Oxford for a while, before moving to London. I worked in the charity sector, mostly in medical disability,” she says.

Then, in 2006, Claire became ill. She had a few months off work, and she began to write in earnest. She completed a novel in two years and almost secured an agent. By the time the third agent said, ‘no,’ she’d started writing The Fall.


Date of birth: Dec, 1981.

Education: The Sacred Heart in Newry, Northern Ireland. Oxford University, English and French.

Home: Tunbridge Wells, England.

Family: Husband, Oliver, and a Beagle called Eddie.

The Day Job: Writer; and director of the Crime Writer’s Association. “I was offered that job the day my book deal was finalised.”

Hobbies: Everything to do with books, and travelling.

Favourite Writers: “Lionel Shriver. I think she’s brilliant. And Elizabeth Jane Howard, John Irving and John Fowles.”

Second Novel: “My second novel is more traditionally crime than The Fall. It’s due out next February.”

Top Writing Tip: “To try and finish it. Loads of people have books they have started. Write to the end, then go back and fix it.”


Twitter: @inkstainsclaire


The Debut: The Fall. Published by Headline: €17.65. Kindle: €8.72

Charlotte has everything. A job in PR, a lovely flat, and a high-flying husband-to-be. Keisha is not so lucky. Her boyfriend is violent, and her baby is in care. But when their worlds collide at a Jamaican nightclub, they end up needing each other.

Charlotte’s Dan is arrested on charge of murder. Keisha knows something that might help. But if she tells, those she loves will be endangered.

The Verdict: Hugely impressive. The crime will keep you reading, but it’s the characters you’ll remember.

— Interviewed by Sue Leonard


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