The Monthly speaks community arts facilitator and author Kelly Creighton – Part 1

How did your commitment to writing start?

I think my earliest memories are of being an avid reader. I was always encouraged to read and reading was seen as a good thing.

I was always attracted to art and I would paint and draw and when I started to read properly around the age of 7, I remember thinking that I might move in that direction, reading and writing. I can remember saying in P4 that when I grew up I would like to be an author and an artist but generally life always brought me back to reading and writing.

Were you encouraged in your interests at school?

I was more encouraged at home. While our house may not have had a lot of books when I got into reading I would wait for the library van to come around my local area and I got a library card and was able to get books from there.

Was there a lot of a material available that was appropriate for your age?

I remember reading Fudge by Judy Bloom, and for Christmas I would get given books by that author. I read the Twits and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl was an author that I liked reading. And from there we would just get more books at Christmas and for birthdays.

Did you start writing at that time as well?

I think I was writing poetry at that stage. At least that is what I seem to remember.

And support was mainly coming from home?

Yes as far as I remember. I might have picked up books at school and I might have been really enthused when the teacher was reading books at school. I certainly felt that reading was a transformative experience and I think books by Enid Blyton and authors like that might have played a role in my enthusiasm for books.

Do you go on from there; do English Literature or something like that?

I did do an A level in English Literature. I studied architecture for a brief time at University and that wasn’t for me so I went into a more educational direction.

I worked in caring jobs and I worked with people experiencing learning difficulties for some time

And 2012 was a turning point?

In my late teens and in my early twenties I was writing poetry and plays and I was getting good feedback on my writing at that point. However I didn’t go on with things and after that I had my family.

I have 4 children, and my eldest child has severe autism, and I needed to find a way to be able to look after her. I found myself needing to be at home and I had been thinking about writing a novel and that started to take me in a particular direction. At some point after attending classes on creative writing I decided to make that happen.

What happens then?

I researched online about how to go about writing a novel, how to put together a draft, how you go about structuring a book, and I came across a course at Ards Arts Centre. It was a Creative Writing course and I wasn’t sure about it but I went along and I am so glad I did. I met people who were also writing, I found people who were interested in going along to events with me and I really got the bug then. I stayed at that course for over a year and a half. I would go along to Saturday workshops and I would read blogs as well.

Eventually the person who was taking the course suggested to the group that we should submit our work to journals and I did that but I also went about setting up The Incubator, my own journal.

How did you go about getting published?

Firstly I think it is important if you are serious about writing then find a workshop to be part of. I certainly found that I learnt a lot at the workshops I attended.

When it came to publishing I have had three books published through the traditional route of a publishing organisation; Lapwing and Liberties Press and later Doire Press.

What happened after that?

I wanted to write a series of books which would be based on a specific character and in the genre of crime fiction. I had been going along to Crime Fiction festivals and immersing myself in the genre. Because I had 4 books in mind for the DI Sloane series, and while I think I was close to being published a couple of times, in the end I decided to do it myself. I might really have a hybrid approach, sometimes I go through the traditional route but for the Crime Fiction books, they will be self-published.

Part two of this interview is here

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