Aspiring novelist Niall Cunniffe talks vampires, teenage fiction, and finding your own place in the writing community.
Could you give readers a brief introduction to what you’ve written, and what you’re currently writing?
To date, I have written one and a half books, including several short stories. I wrote my first book one summer while at University, having failed to find a job and wondering what to do with all my time. I’d been studying English Literature, so I thought, why not write a book?
I didn’t have much of a plan, apart from write a modern Gothic story for today’s readers. The book is called Elm, a character I was then obsessed with. I got up every day, started writing at 10am, and didn’t stop until I wrote 2,000 words. Only about half way through the book did I actually know where the story was going. I think I finished it in about a month, and have been editing it since – that’s when the real work begins!
I am also currently writing a vampire book, and hopefully series, for teenagers as part of NanoWrimo. I’ve just hit the half-way point so wish me luck!
Do you have a place you always go to write, or somewhere you feel most inspired?
I wish I had my own ‘writing place,’ but my current lifestyle doesn’t allow for such luxuries. It’s difficult to find somewhere quiet in London. I tend to write best at home, in Ireland, as there are few distractions and I can let my mind wander. Thinking is very important, and undisturbed time. Libraries close too early, so that’s out. I get very distracted writing in cafes, as I am drawn into conversations and sometimes find them more intriguing than my writing! It’s terrible, I know, but I think all writers are curious like that.
Who is your favourite author at the moment?
Oh gosh – I admire so many for different reasons. I don’t think I have a favourite author. I mean I admire J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Dan Brown, but all for very different reasons, like how they have contributed to the publishing industry and beyond, not necessarily because of their writing. In terms of writing, if Madeline Miller has a follow-up to The Song of Achilles, let me know.
Do you think having a writing community is a good idea for aspiring writers?
Absolutely. It is important to stay motivated, and having others around you for encouragement definitely helps. Writing is a lonely pursuit, plagued with self-doubt. Ensure you surround yourself with encouraging people, unless of course you are one of those lucky few who have the utmost belief in themselves.
What is your favourite age range and genre to write for?
I would say teenagers and young adults. I read a lot of books as a teenager, so I feel I know how to write for that age group. Books helped me a lot as a teenager, so I feel I should help others struggling in that age group too. My favourite genre would be horror. There’s so much you can do with it, and so many sub-genres to explore.
If you have one piece of advice to offer to young aspiring authors, what would it be?
Believe in yourself. There won’t be a word on the page if you don’t believe in yourself.
If you are an unpublished writer with your own writing journey to share on Quills and Coffee, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.