It could be argued that Rose McClelland was born with a pen in her hand.
From a tender age she was scoring Brownie points for her skill at word weaving, getting top grades in school for her stories and enjoying success with her short stories.
With her love of storytelling well and truly ‘kindled’, the talented young woman is now branching out - and has secured an ebook contract.
A past pupil of Lisnagelvin Primary School, Rose admits to having always had an interest in writing ever since the age of 10, when she told her mum she wanted to be a writer.
“My dad, James McClelland, has written several books, short stories and ‘ghost-writing’ novels) and I remember him being tucked away in the spare bedroom with a rickety old type-writer.
“I went to Foyle and Londonderry College where I loved studying English for my A-levels. I remember my teacher Miss Smith giving me an A+ for a short story - that was such a thrill,” said Rose recalling her early days with a pen.
“At uni I had no idea what I wanted to work at and wasn’t one of these clever people who chose a technical course.
“I studied English and drama simply because I enjoyed it. It was there that I began writing for the student newspaper where I wrote theatre reviews, film reviews, and actor interviews. The only reason I did this was to get the free tickets,” she said laughing.
After University, Rose returned to Londonderry and worked at The Playhouse Theatre on Artillery Street as a Marketing and Publicity Officer.
Even thre she indulged in her love of writing, knocking out several theatre reviews and press releases which were published by The Sentinel.
“I found it a real buzz if I managed to get a full house,” she recalled.
Some years later, while living in London, Rose started a creative writing course.
“I wrote my first book which received a lot of interest from agents. I was picked up by literary agent Ger Nicholl of The Book Bureau, who also represents Claire Allan, another novelist from Londonderry.
“After trying a few paperback publishers, we were continually being told that their books were full but that they were reading my novel for pleasure,” she said, adding: “A long time later, a couple of years infact, my brother and his girlfriend sat me down and had a stern word with me. They told me I would be wise to attempt to get into the e-book market. They said that the number of kindle readers was growing and perhaps I would have more success if I went down that route.”
And so it was that after such a long time of trying to get my foot in the door, I submitted my novel to an e-publisher “Crooked Cat”. Within 10 days I was signing my publishing contract,” she said delighted.
“The words were dancing in front of my eyes - the day had finally arrived,” she said of the momentous occasion.
“I have to admit, I cried a good few tears of happiness - and have cried another few times since.”
Now living in Belfast, her book “The Break-up Test” is about three young women from Londonderry, but spans locations in Londonderry, Belfast, London and Brighton. The three girls are in tricky relationships and it takes an old male uni friend, Jamie, to give them a 10-point test to try to help them move on and be happy.