The Monthly speaks to author and community arts facilitator Kelly Creighton – Part 2

Part one of this interview is here

What is your process regarding the production of your work?

I wrote my first novel quite quickly and while that didn’t get published, it taught me a lot about structure and about how to go about editing your work.

When I wrote “The Bones of it”, I wrote that novel very quickly as well and then I spent a lot of time editing the work.

What other things do you do?

I take part in things like NanoWrimo where you set aside the month of November to write the draft of a novel. Part of that is the discipline of writing for an hour and a half or so a day and at the end of the month you have a fair bit of material to work with.

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Do you plot out your chapters or do you write instinctively?

I tend to plot out the chapters especially for the crime fiction work because I think that is the way that it works best for me.

I establish what I want to write and how I want each chapter to develop the story and I might write each day systematically.

I also like to allow myself areas where I can simply write without worrying too much about the narrative I have already mapped out.

What about the editing process?

If it is a book I want to get published then I use a professional editor. I think you need to have a person who looks at your work with a fresh approach.

If I am writing a short story to be published in a journal I would probably do the editing myself.

With regards publishing, I am publishing the crime fiction series myself but I have other novels where I will be going through a publisher.

There is a lot of work to do when you self – publish, from working out the general details, from the cover to the fine print and you don’t have a team behind you, you have to do all the marketing, and you also have to build a readership for your work. That requires a lot of effort.

And why crime fiction?

I have always been interested in True Crime and would tend to gravitate towards that kind of storytelling if I am watching television. I tend to watch True Crime documentaries, police shows, but I think also that growing up in Northern Ireland instilled in me an awareness of issues connected to conflict, so that keeps me focused on that genre. I like also that you are writing a puzzle which has to be resolved and that I find quite exciting.

The female detective at the centre of the series of books I am writing actually came out of a short story I had written. So my interest was developed before I started writing the series.

Where to now?

I have two books in the series coming out, I have a Christmas Anthology, “Underneath the Tree”, which is out now and I am working on other projects as well.

How have you managed during the pandemic?

I have found the pandemic has stimulated my writing and it certainly is the case that my writing has kept me sane during the difficulties brought on by the pandemic. I actually started writing a new book during the Lockdown along with setting myself physical challenges like going for walks and things like that.

Do you think there is enough support for women writers generally and mothers in particular?

I found that the things that have really helped me have been people pointing me in particular directions.

There is a well-known American poet Dorianne Laux and she says that being a single mother in between your jobs and looking after your children, you tend to come to the arts through bursaries and grants. I thought that very few people acknowledge that aspect of writing.

When I was attending writing classes my tutor Caroline Healy, she writes for teenagers, and she gave me a form to apply for a bursary from the John Hewitt society.

Thankfully my husband was very supportive and I went to the summer school and that was very useful for me. It allowed me to attend and I learned a lot at that event.

The support from the John Hewitt society was essential because it allowed me to think about my writing and about being a writer.

You have had some support then?

It was the John Hewitt Society’s support which helped me work on my first novel. My local council has also supported me with bursaries and those bursaries have allowed me to be able to attend events and retreats. So North Down and Ards Council has helped me a lot and I am pretty sure that if that kind of support was available from other councils, more people like me might get involved in the writing process.

Women and mothers in particular need support, they need networks to work through and financing to be able to further careers.

See more about kelly Creighton at the following link –

artist forms link
New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.