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Stay-at-home mom turned vampire author Clare Daly: 'How I became a writer'

Clare Daly is about to self-publish her first novel, an Irish Vampire story, Our Destiny is Blood.

Clare Daly Author

I HAD ALWAYS known I wanted to write. In what capacity I wasn’t sure until I hit sixth year and discovered that if I could marry it to my other passion – film – I could be onto a winner. So, I set my heart on being a film journalist.

I’d been devouring Empire magazine for years and read Michael Dwyer’s work in the Irish Times religiously each week. What a job, I thought. When I didn’t get the points I needed for journalism in Rathmines, I was gutted but soon found myself at Senior College Ballyfermot and a Diploma in Broadcasting and Journalism. I loved it.

The icing on the cake was getting a part time job at UCI Cinemas in Tallaght and I was on my way. I could keep up to date with every new release and get the necessary skills to make my dream a reality.

Little did I know then, that selling popcorn and ushering people to their seats would lead to a dream job I’d never even considered. I became part-time assistant to the marketing manager and through her was introduced to all the film studios and independent distributors. My first press event was a Q&A with Danny Boyle for Shallow Grave and from that moment on, I was hooked.

From there I moved to an Irish company Clarence Pictures and have since had a varied and fulfilling twenty-year career.

My dream faded

The dream of the writer faded, taken over by career, a wedding and first home. There is nothing like having children, though, to change your priorities and in 2007 I decided to give up my job to be a stay-at-home-mum, working freelance publicity jobs as and when they came up.

When my second child arrived and life got twice as hectic, I realised more than ever, that I needed something for myself. I didn’t have the definition of career anymore and without its distraction, buried notions of writing began to seep back in.

I knew I’d love to try my hand at a novel but about what? The saying of ‘write what you know’ swam in my head and I couldn’t get over the hurdle that I didn’t want to write about my career or motherhood. So, the idea sat dormant in my mind, quietly waiting for inspiration.

When at last it came, it was like magic. I dreamt it. I know how ludicrous that sounds but this dream woke me with a start and I couldn’t get it out of my head.

I have zombie nightmares

At least once in every season of The Walking Dead, I have a zombie nightmare. I’m usually holed up in a shop somewhere terrified as hordes of zombies press their rotting faces to the glass outside, hungry for my flesh. This dream though was completely different.

Yes, the zombies were there in a long dark corridor, but among them, walking through the biting horde, were two people – a man and a woman, moving through them as if they were nothing. Their skin was impenetrable. They had no fear and moved with a preternatural confidence. Immortal. Invincible. Had the zombies still had their faculties in check, they would have run the other way. I awoke immediately wanting to know more about them. Who were they?

I got the kids ready for school, but couldn’t leave this couple behind. They wouldn’t let me. And then it hit me. They were vampires. Of course, they were. This revelation threw up a hundred other questions including how old they were and where were they from and I knew then that something was happening.

I’m a massive fan of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and the thought that I had two of my very own was too good to deny. I started to fill in the blanks and decided I would begin my story during the Irish Famine, a period I’d always been fascinated by at school.

It was peppered with rejections along the way

The seed germinated the more I wrote. I grew more dedicated, getting up in the dark to write before the kids were up and I knew within three months that I’d found something that I was never going to let go of.

Writing allowed me to escape into another world, and it was free. I didn’t even have to leave the house if I didn’t want to. There were times of course where I questioned my skills, when self-esteem was low and because it now meant so much to me, I piled the pressure on myself for it to be good – no, not only that – but publishable. I was going to make something of it. Follow the path to the end and see where it led.

As it turned out, it was peppered with rejections along the way with some saying the vampire trend was dead – but how can it be when they are immortal? They will always be around. And so, I persevered and have arrived here, about to self-publish that novel, Our Destiny Is Blood.

It’s been five years since the dream that sparked it but the time is right now to send them out into the world. The first in a series, the next instalment will release in the spring. I’ve also written a supernatural detective novel so all going well, I’ll release it late next year.

Writing has transformed my life. It’s very tough mentally and picks endlessly at my self-confidence but its capacity to offer me a portal to another place, time or indeed into another’s mind is a gift that keeps on giving. So much so, that I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Clare Daly is an author. Our Destiny Is Blood is available to buy now on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

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