How to be a Writer

I’ve always appreciated the fact that while I can read a book in a couple of days, it might have taken the author years of hard work and dedication to write and edit it. So, while I curl up on the couch with a cuppa, ready to dive into my latest ‘must-read’, authors the world over are spending whole days banging out hundreds and thousands of words onto blank sheets, only to repeat the process over and over again.   

My former colleague used to come into work and tell us how many words she’d done before breakfast. It appeared to be a great source of pleasure and satisfaction to her; to have a wordcount running into the hundreds, or sometimes even the thousands. The rest of us had merely managed to butter some toast and slurp down a cup of tea before climbing aboard public transport to face the day ahead. 

Author Helen Corcoran

Helen was an avid reader as a child, encouraged by her grandmother who taught her to read. While devouring another adventure by Enid Blyton, it occured to her that maybe she, too, could write: “It clicked in my head that someone actually wrote the stories I was reading and that maybe this was something I could do, too.” And so she did; she wrote and wrote and wrote, completing her first novel (about werewolves) when she was eleven years old. She then wrote fan fiction before finding her own voice and a whole cast of imagined characters, just bursting to get out. 

Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran took six years from start to finish and now sits in bookshops up and down the country, waiting for the doors to open. The novel opens with Lia, an idealistic queen, who has inherited a bankrupt country from her uncle, and Xania, her new spymaster, who’s taken the job to avenge her murdered father. As they fall for each other, they soon realise that all is not fair in love and treason; they must decide not only what to sacrifice for their country, but also for each other.

This is a success story that didn’t write itself. It’s about determination from an early age, an ability to block out the world and bang out words day after day after day. It’s about self belief and starting afresh when things don’t work out. My copy is on order, so is Aisling’s and Gabriela’s, and Martin’s, and Karina’s. We always believed in you, Helen, we now delight in your success xxx

Mary says she is in the enviable position of combining work with pleasure as books are what have always sustained her in good times and bad!

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