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Bestselling author pays visit to school

Friends pupils Chris Kane and Michael Foreman, along with the well- known Irish author Brian Gallagher. He visited school recently to speak about his new novel Stormclouds.

Friends pupils Chris Kane and Michael Foreman, along with the well- known Irish author Brian Gallagher. He visited school recently to speak about his new novel Stormclouds.

Friends’ School Lisburn welcomed well-known Irish author Brian Gallagher to speak about his new novel Stormclouds and offer expert tips to budding writers in the junior school.

The event was staged by representatives from Eason in a positive initiative to promote local writing talent.

Born and raised in Dublin, Gallagher has written nine books around historical events, with his novel Stormclouds being the latest to hit bookstores across the world.

Writing isn’t the only pastime for this amiable Dubliner, however, as he spoke of his love for hill walking and travelling, stating that as a writer he can get inspiration from anywhere and travelling is a good source for ideas.

Enthusiastic students listened intently whilst Gallagher detailed the various stages of writing a novel.

He spoke at length about his research, admitting he walked around the city of Belfast months before beginning to write, to get a feel for the city and to pick out the houses for his characters.

He explained, “If you are inside the character’s skin, you have an emotional connection,”

Indeed he revealed he even goes as far as writing CVs for them, so he can fully understand their personalities before writing their story: “Even if only 10% of the information was mentioned in the book.”

With the recent flag protests and the simmering tension in Northern Ireland over the past year, the premise for Stormclouds has become disturbingly relevant again for a new generation of young people.

Set in the late 60s at the brink of The Troubles, Stormclouds is about two Northern Irish children, Sammy and Maeve, from opposing republican and loyalist communities.

When Jewish twins, Dylan and Emma move from Washington to Belfast they strike up friendships with Sammy and Maeve.

Although the four learn to put their differences aside, unrest in Northern Ireland erupts into violence, threatening their friendships, not to mention their lives.

Gallagher performed a reading from the novel before the visit came to an end and he took time to answer questions and graciously sign copies of his novel, much to the appreciation of the pupils.

He also hinted at a new novel, possibly coming out next August, to follow the success of Stormclouds and his previous bestseller Cross and the Boyle.

Although he kept his cards close to his chest when pressed for plot details, judging by the positive reception Stormclouds has received, it is bound to be a bestseller.

 

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