Replay – Truth In Fiction – Guest post by Claire Fullerton

 Claire Fullerton, author of A Portal in Time was my guest, sharing a little background to Dancing to an Irish Reel… and looks at a question Stuart and I are often asked about our books… just how much is true?


Photo: Claire Fullerton

I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. Now that my book, ‘’Dancing to Irish Reel” is out, I’m being asked the inevitable question, “How much of the story is true?” Everyone who knows me personally knows I picked up and moved to the west coast of Ireland without much of a plan, and that I stayed for a year. Add that to the fact that the book is written in the first person, that the narrator’s interior monologues in the story are unabashedly confessional to the point of unnecessary risk. I’ve been told the book reads like a memoir, and for that, I can only say I’m glad because this was my intention. I can see why readers might think the entire story is true.


Photo: Claire Fullerton

But writers make a choice in how to lay out a story, and in my case, I wrote the book based on the kind of books I like to read. I’m a one-trick pony kind of a reader. I want an intimate narrator’s voice with which I can connect. I want to know exactly whom I’m listening to so that I can align with a premise that makes the story’s swinging pendulum of cause and effect plausible. The way I see it, there are always bread crumbs along the path to the chaotic predicaments people find themselves in, and although many are blind to their own contributions, when I read a book, I want to be the one who divines how the character got there.

Photo: Claire Fullerton

Photo: Claire Fullerton

What fascinates me about people are their backstories. Oh, people will tell you their highlights, alright, but they rarely reveal their churning cauldron of attendant emotions; they rarely confess to carrying acquired fears. We all want to appear bigger than our own confusion, and the key word here is “appear,” because when it comes to faces, most people like to save theirs. This is the point I wanted to make in the story, but I also wanted “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” to be about discovery, so I started with a narrator who is a fish out of water: a twenty-five year old American ensconced in a specific culture she uncovers like the dance of seven veils. In the midst of this there enters an Irish traditional musician named Liam Hennessey. He is from the region, of the region, and therefore it can only be said he is because of the region in a way that is emblematic. From a writer’s point of view, the supposition offers the gift of built-in conflict, most poignantly being the clash of the male-female dynamic set upon the stage of differing cultures trying to find a bridge. And I can think of no better culture clash than America and Ireland. I say this because I happen to know to the Irish, we Americans are a bit brazen, we have the annoying habit of being direct. But the Irish are a discreet lot, culled from a set of delicate social manners that seem to dance around everything, leaving an American such as I with much guesswork.

Photo: Claire Fullerton

Photo: Claire Fullerton

No matter how they shake it, writers write about what they know, even if it has to be extracted from varying quadrants that have no good reason for being congealed. “Dancing to an Irish Reel” is a good example of this: it came to me as a strategy for commenting on the complexities of human beings inherent longing to connect—the way we do and say things that are at variance with how we really feel in the interest of appearances, and how this quandary sometimes dictates how we handle opportunities in life. In my opinion, there is no better playing field on which to illustrate this point than the arena of new found attraction. I’m convinced the ambiguity of new love is a universal experience, and since the universe is a big wide place, and since ‘”Dancing to an Irish Reel” has something to say about hope and fear and the uncertainty of attraction, it occurred to me that I might as well make my point set upon the verdant fields of Ireland because everything about the land fascinated me, and I wanted to take every reader that would have me to the region I experienced as cacophonous and proud: that mysterious, constant, quirky, soul-infused island that lays in the middle of the Atlantic, covered in a blanket of green, misty velvet.

Connect with Claire on her Amazon author page, through her blog and via FacebookTwitter @cfullerton3 and Goodreads.

Claire in front yard with dogs Dec 28 2011-1007895 1About Claire:

Claire Fullerton is the author of “Dancing to an Irish Reel” (Literary Fiction) and “A Portal in Time,” (Paranormal Mystery), both from Vinspire Publishing. She is an award winning essayist, a contributor to magazines, a five time contributor to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series, and a former newspaper columnist. Claire grew up in Memphis, TN, once lived in Connemara, Ireland, and now lives in Malibu, CA with her husband, two German shepherds and one black cat. Currently, she is writing her third novel.

On sabbatical from her job in the LA record business, Hailey takes a trip to Ireland for the DancingtoanIrishReel2 200x300[1]vacation of a lifetime. What she finds is a job offer too good to turn down.

Her new job comes with one major complication—Liam Hennessey. He’s a famous Irish musician whose entire live has revolved around performing. And Hailey falls in love with him. Although Liam’s not so sure love is in the cards for him, he’s not willing to push her away completely.

And so begins Hailey’s journey to a colorful land that changes her life, unites her with friends more colorful than the Irish landscape, and gives her a chance at happiness she’s never found before.

Available via Amazon UK and

51XYrp8hy7L._SX305_BO1,204,203,200_When we are inexplicably drawn to love and a particular place, is it coincidence, or have we loved before?

Enigmatic and spirited Anna Lucera is gifted with an uncanny sixth-sense and is intrigued by all things mystical. When her green, cat-eyes and long, black hair capture the attention of a young lawyer named Kevin Townsend, a romance ensues which leads them to the hauntingly beautiful region of California’s Carmel-By-The-Sea where Anna is intuitively drawn to the Madiera Hotel. Everything about the hotel and Carmel-By-The-Sea heightens her senses and speaks to Anna as if she had been there before. As Anna’s memory unravels the puzzle, she is drawn into a past that’s eerily familiar and a life she just may have lived before.

Available via Amazon UK and

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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28 Responses to Replay – Truth In Fiction – Guest post by Claire Fullerton

  1. Pingback: Truth In Fiction – Guest post by Claire Fullerton | Writing Notes

  2. Ronovan says:

    I so love how Claire “dances” around how much of her book is real or not. 😉 Also after reading this my interview with her seems so much less for the simplicity of in depth and language. The girl’s got literary chops. (It’s after midnight here, meds aren’t kicking in, and I’ve been doing a poetry review for several hours, so excuse the nonsense. But I’m leaving it anyway because it’s the truth.) And Dancing to an Irish Reel is in my top 2 favorite books I’ve read and reviewed this year. (At least from the ones I can remember. I have short term memory problems. Her book could be really bad and I’m just trusting what she tells me I said. Muahahahaha.)


  3. Ronovan says:

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    Find out more about Claire Fullerton and her writing of Dancing to an Irish Reel, which is my 5 Star Review and one of my favorite Interviews ever.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Both of Claire;s books sound interesting, especially “Dancing to an Irish Reel.” Best wishes to her continued success with her writing career. Thanks, Sue, for this good review. 🙂


  5. olganm says:

    Fascinating interviewee, Sue. The ever present question…


  6. Mary Smith says:

    A really interesting post. I’m putting Dancing to an Irish Reel on my wish list.
    On the subject of what is true and not true: I was invited to a book group which had read No More Mulberries. One person arrived very late, saying, “Don’t mind me. I’ll catch up. I’m assuming we’ve covered you going to Afghanistan and marrying an Afghan doctor.” It took a wee while to convince her I was not married to an Afghan and that the character in the book who was, was entirely fictional.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sue Vincent says:

      It’s a fine line, isn’t it? We draw from life and experience, even in the wildest fantasy… there is always some truth in what we write. And when much of a book is factual, with a fictional thread binding it together, it gets even more difficult to tease the two apart…. though I’m not sure why we feel the need to do so.


  7. Reblogged this on BART Station Bard and commented:
    A different perspective reveals a different facet of the truth.


  8. Pingback: Truth In Fiction – Guest post by Claire Fullerton | KENYONA R. COPELAND

  9. dgkaye says:

    Thanks for sharing some insight about Claire and her books here Sue. I love that Claire shared her insights about how and why she wrote about the topics in her books, yet remained elusive to the question of whether it is fictionalized writing or not. Now, I’m dashing off to add some new books to my TBR! Book reviews are like damned chocolate – you see your favorite flavor in the box, and you just have to have it! (Hmm, I think I’ll have to coin that phrase, lol. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. macjam47 says:

    Dancing to an Irish Reel was wonderful! So, it seems Claire isn’t going to give up how much of Hailey’s story is real. A Portal in Time sounds interesting, so I will be adding it to the ole’ tumbling TBR.


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