Writers Room: Rosaline Callaghan

Jennifer Gitler

I’m thrilled to welcome Rosaline to the Writers Room!

Rosaline, who’s your favourite author, and what’s your favourite book?

Elaine Feeney’s As You Were

What are you reading right now?

Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Tell us about your writing journey so far.

I started writing full time in May 2020 following my diagnosis of hereditary amyloidosis and being home alone with the cat for 19 months. I have always written poems for as far back as I can remember but a busy career as a barrister left little time for anything else. I fell in love with writing full time and have attended many online courses and workshops to help me hone the craft.

What’s the best and worst thing about being a writer?

The best thing about being a writer are the infinite possibilities of where concentrated effort and creativity can take a person. The worst is that it can be isolating if one does not reach out to others in a similar position. I have found fabulous support and encouragement from the writing community.

What does your writing process look like?

Much of it is rather sporadic but I set aside two full days a week to get writing down on paper and thoughts out of my head onto something tangible. Another day is set aside for research. I have learned the hard way that I can research too much and get lost in that rabbit hole rather than creating anything. The remaining days are used to to do real-life things like meeting with friends, entering writing competitions, and looking after my support group for other people who are affected by amyloidosis.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on getting my book Donegal Amy ready for digital production on bookselling sites such as Kindle.

What would you like to have achieved by the end of this year?

I would like to have completed the first draft of my memoir which is currently around 40,000 words.

If you could share just one piece of advice with other writers, what would it be?

Don’t allow the fear of criticism to silence you.

Finally, where can we check out what you’ve written?

My website.

Bio

Rosaline Callaghan

Rosaline is a writer and poet, and shares her Derry home with her rescue cat, Beannacht, Irish for Blessing. She’s a retired barrister also living with Hereditary Amyloidosis, a rare, fatal disease originating in North-West Donegal, for which there was no treatment until recently. Rosaline has written a book on her family’s experience of Donegal Amy: A Rare Disease from Ireland. It is available through her website wildstoryteller.com.

Rosaline’s poems have been published in the Community Arts Partnership anthologies Heartland and Threshold and the Seamus Heaney Homeplace pamphlet Autumn Fragments. She was shortlisted in the Saolta Arts poetry competition 2022. Rosaline’s first poetry chapbook Losses and Laments will also be available to purchase from 15th August 2022.

One artist commissioned for the ‘Bloody Sunday to Brexit’ exhibition which was held in Derry from 13th to 19th June 2022, Rosaline is 62, five feet tall, slightly round, and divides her time between penning poetry, her website, ignoring housework, killing houseplants, and trying to cuddle the aforementioned cat.

Follow Rosaline on Twitter, Facebook and her website.

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