I first came across Clare Dowling on a train from Swansea as I left the BeyondTV International Film Festival.
I would hasten to add, not literally.
What I actually came across was the first chapter of My Fabulous Divorce. A very clever publicity stunt.
Not having anything better to do, I read it.
My initial impression was 'what a load of crap', badly written crap at that.
Girl meets boy, a complete moron, loads of internal inconsistencies. But I was intrigued, and the next day, I went out and bought a copy, and sat reading it for the rest of the week.
I expected a slim volume, and was quite surprised at the thickness of the novel. What also surprised me was that I quite enjoyed it.
My Fabulous Divorce is of a similar genre to works by Sarah Webb and the 44 Scotland Street series of novels by Alexander McCall Smith.
My Fabulous Divorce revolves around a flower shop, It Had to be You by Sarah Webb a bookshop, 44 Scotland Street around an art gallery and a café. The main difference is that the latter two are wittier, and with 44 Scotland Street, better written.
It comes as no surprise therefore that Clare Dowling mentions Sarah Webb as an influence, in turn Sarah Webb mentions Claire Dowling on her own web site, and both are young Irish writers.
My Fabulous Divorce is more a script for a film than a novel, and reading it I felt it would be better as a film than a novel.
Clare Dowling was born in Kilkenny in 1968. She trained as an actress and has worked in theatre, film and radio. She began writing for theatre in 1992 for Glasshouse Productions, of which she was a founder member. She has had five stage plays produced in Dublin.
She co-writes a weekly children's fiction series on the Internet and she is currently a scriptwriter on Ireland's top soap, Fair City.
Her published novels include:
She lives in Dublin and is married with a son and daughter.
BeyondTV is an annual film festival held in Swansea on the south coast in Wales hosted by Undercurrents featuring the very best in activism and alternative culture.