An Irish Lagnaippe

In Louisiana, they use the phonetically pleasing word lagniappe to denote a little something extra. Typically, a lagniappe is a small gift given with a purchase to a customer, by way of compliment or for good measure as a way of saying thank you. I’ve been so enamored with this word that it’s found its way into my psyche and influenced my behavior, where it prompts me to go the extra mile, when in deep gratitude. And deep gratitude I have for those generous souls who have posted reviews, written me, and recommended my second novel, Dancing to an Irish Reel. Some have done as I suspected; they’ve written me to ask how much of the book is true, for I made no secret in sharing that I actually lived on the western coast of Ireland, where the book is set, and most readers know that writers pull from their own life to one degree or another.

I’m a fan of the first person essay. I consider it the art of brevity whose aspiration is to create a whole world around a case in point. I could wax loquacious on how the pursuit thrills me, how the challenge ignites the deep-seated, smoldering embers of why I write in the first place, which is to say I experience life as a witness and write to decipher its nuances in a manner that seeks to compare notes.

Sometimes life itself will hand you a lagniappe when you’re not looking. This was the case for me when I came across the Irish on-line community, The Wild Geese. There lies a compatible fraternity of like-minded souls, who can never get enough of their favorite subject, which is themselves. Proudly, I say, I am one of them; I am one of the island folk by lineage, and I flew into formation the second I found the flock. I brought much of who I am to this union: a writer, a shanachie, a child of Eire. I started writing the stories behind the stories that were my inspiration in the crafting of Dancing to an Irish Reel and as time stretched on, I realized I’d created my own lagniappe to give to those who read my book.


On my website, there are three tabs on the homepage titled “Dancing Companion,” where a collection of my first person Irish essays can be found along with attended photographs.


Please accept them as my lagniappe!






Dancing to an Irish Reel

Thank you so much to Michelle James!


By Claire Fullerton

Dancing to an Irish ReelBook Blurb

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

But her life in Ireland comes with one complication—Liam Hennessey. He’s a famous Irish musician whose entire life revolves around performing, so when he meets Hailey, he is so unbalanced at the prospect of love that he can’t decide whether to come closer or run away.

And so begins the push and pull of Hailey and Liam’s attraction. It is a dance enriched by colorful Irish friends who help Hailey navigate her budding romance with Liam in a landscape with more charm and character than any place Hailey ever imagined.

Publisher: Vinspire Publishing

Publication date, March 6, 2015

Page count; 236

Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0990304256

ISBN-13: 978-0990304258

My Review

Dancing to an Irish…

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A Banter That Sings by @CFullerton3 on @TheWildGeese.

With Gratitude to Ronovan Hester for championing this “little Irish story!”


claire-geeseThe streets of Galway were gray that night. Everywhere I looked, gray buildings, gray sidewalks, gray sky, beneath a mist that floated inward from the Atlantic and hovered ominously, casting contrasting coronas of light upon the sidewalk from the interior lights of the handful of pubs still open in the midnight hour. Our footsteps echoed as we walked from The Kings Head to the hackney office on Dominic Street, right across the street from Taylor’s, which was Kieran’s favorite pub. Kieran used Taylor’s as if it were his personal office, and many was the night he summonsed Darren and Shannon and me to the pub to talk business because Kieran never did see the line between work and play.

Were it any other night, the four of us would have gone into Taylor’s; we would have sailed through the door in Kieran’s wake, following that proprietary swagger of his…

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Interview by Coreena MacBurnie on author Claire Fullerton

Author Interview: Claire Fullerton

Today I have Claire Fullerton on my blog. Her book is set in Galway, Ireland, the place my grandparents were born, so I am thrilled to have her here talking about her book.

Hello Claire. What book are you promoting right now?
My second novel with Vinspire Publishing, which is contemporary fiction, set on the western coast of Ireland, and entitled “Dancing to an Irish Reel.”

Claire Fullerton in the ForestHow did you come up with the idea for your current story?
The idea for the novel came from the year I spent living and working in Galway, Ireland. It was an incredibly pivotal and eye-opening year for me, as I lived as an outsider in rural Ireland, and everything was new and fascinating. I took much of this story from true events and based some of the characters on people I met and worked alongside. The story is fiction, but set in the area where I actually lived.
Tell us about your writing process. How do you fuel your writing?
I have now written three novels, and my process has been the same throughout all of them. I treat the project as a full-time job, which means I am at my desk, coffee in hand, first thing in the morning and typically stop around four in the afternoon, but I do take breaks. What fuels my writing is having the complete story in hand and the motivation to craft it as a continuing project until the first draft is finished. Then I set the draft aside for a couple of days, and go back through it line-by-line with a fresh perspective. I typically go through my manuscript five or six times, and have found the trick to be retaining an overview of what is on every page. I like to be as familiar with the manuscript as if it were a one thousand word essay because this lends to continuity with an eye towards the ebb and flow of the entire story.
What is your favourite scene in your book?
I’m so glad you used the word scene, because this is literally how I write my books. I see the entire anatomy of a scene in my mind’s eye and write it as if it stands alone. My favorite scene in “Dancing to an Irish Reel” begins when the narrator, Hailey Crossan, goes with the Irish musician, Liam Hennessey, to a pub in Clifden, which is a village fifty miles away from where she lives in Inverin. It is a long drive through the breath-taking, but desolate region of Connemara, where there is nothing but uninterrupted bog land forever, until the moment Clifden comes into view. Liam Hennessey is a guest musician on this particular night, so Hailey stands amidst the audience, well aware of the captivating, salt of the earth locals around her, and finds herself engaged in a series of memorable conversations, which could only happen to a stranger in a strange land. I went out of my way to describe what it feels like to be in an Irish music venue, where everybody seems to know each other, and I gave life to the musician Liam Hennessey’s art as he played in a trio to an adoring audience.
Tell us about your main character? What makes her so special?
Hailey Crossan is a twenty-five year old American who takes a sabbatical from her job in the Los Angeles record business and takes a trip to the west of Ireland, where she is unexpectedly offered a job in the music business that is too good to refuse. I wrote “Dancing to an Irish Reel” in the first person, so it is Hailey’s voice the reader hears as she tells about her surroundings and the people in it. Hailey is confident, insightful, adventurous and able to hold her own in unusual circumstances. She realizes she must acclimate to the social and cultural nuances of rural Ireland, and canny enough to go with the flow as she navigates the region. What is so special about Hailey is she sees clearly when she meets Liam Hennessey, who is a regionally famous musician who has never been in love. So unbalanced is Liam at the prospect of love that he can’t decide if he should come closer or run away. Hailey suspects his confusion may have something to do with the inherent culture clash between them, but she remains open-minded, even subtly amused throughout a dynamic that plays itself out like the push and pull of love’s ambiguity.
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
Such a good question, and oNeel graphicsne I am enthusiastic to answer: I wanted to write a story about a dynamic I think happens to everyone at one time or another. It involves the initial stages of attraction, when two people meet and are clearly interested in each other, but unable to fully understand one another. There is always such hope and excitement in the initial stages of love, but there is also uncertainty, doubt and, often times, confusion.  It is during such straits when one turns to their friends and says, “He’s saying this, but acting otherwise; what in the world is going on?” I love the subject of what really goes on behind the scenes, so I gave the reader Hailey’s thoughts as she is coming to know Liam Hennessey. What I want the reader to take away from “Dancing to an Irish Reel” is that love rarely has a smooth course. My intention was to write a book that is true to life.
What do you read? What are your favourite books and who are your favourite authors?
I am a fan of the well written, first person story. I find this easier to connect with the author than any other point of view, so I favor reading and writing in the first person. The authors I admire are Pat Conroy, Ann Rivers Siddons, and Donna Tartt; all have mastered this craft. Pat Conroy’s “The Prince of Tides” is my favorite book of all times, and is an American classic by quite possibly the greatest Southern writer living today. I like to read the masters of fiction because it informs my process. I am not a genre reader beyond fiction, and when I read fiction, I want to learn something significant about language and craft.

Do you have any advice for someone starting out as a writer?
The first stage is writing your book, however it is that you do that. Worry about everything else after you are satisfied that you have your best effort put forth. Next, get the book “The Writer’s Market” and familiarize yourself with the publishing world. From here, you can decide to submit to a traditional publisher, look for an agent, or self-publish. Be realistic in what you are prepared to do with regard to the work behind promoting your book. I don’t know about self-publishing because I’ve never done it, but if this is what you decide to do, align yourself with people who know the score.
How do you market your books?
I am thrilled to report that Vinspire Publishing has taught me everything I now know about marketing and promotion. Before I signed with them, I hadn’t a clue what was expected of me in order to get the word out that my books exist! Vinspire has done much for me, but in this day and age, it seriously falls to the author to be everywhere on social media. I spend a lot of time connecting with other authors, ferreting out book blog sites, promoting other authors, posting on Twitter, Facebook, and everywhere that will have me. I also repeatedly hold book signings because I believe in the merits of showing up in person!
How do you get book reviews? Has this been successful?
Before my books came out, I sent an advance copy to three authors with noteworthy careers and asked them for a review with the understanding that a ‘blurb” from their review would appear on the back cover of my book. If you look towards doing this far enough in advance, it is advantageous. All other reviews have come to me organically, but there have been times when a reader posted on my author Facebook page reporting they’d liked my book, and I’ve come right out and politely asked for them to post a review!

Who or what encouraged (or still encourages) you in your writing?
I am encouraged by brilliant writers. I am inspired by those who have literally mastered the art of writing a novel. It isn’t easy to do, but writers learn from reading other writers; many are way-showers with regard to the written word’s possibilities, and I think it is imperative for a writer to be a perpetual student. I never compare myself to other writers, but I do applaud those who do it well. It was from reading good writers that I said to myself, long ago, “This is what I want to be able to do.” So it is a constant state of becoming and a willingness to stay the course, but the aim should be to continue to grow as a writer. This is why I continuously read.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Yes, I am the kind of writer who loves to help other writers! I will answer anything that anyone would like to ask. I think writers can and should rub shoulders with other writers. We’re all on the same path; some ahead, some behind, so none of us should be hesitant to ask for directions!

Thank you so much, Claire, what a great interview. I love your insights into living in rural Ireland and your thoughtfulness around the first stages of attraction.

How to connect with Claire:

Website ~ Blog ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Pintrest ~ Linkedin ~ Instagram (cffullerton) ~

About Me Page



Direct Links to Purchase  “Dancing to an Irish Reel”

DancingtoanIrishReel2 200x300[1]Amazon Books and Kindle
Barnes and Noble Books and Nook

Google Play

Kobo Books

Direct Links to Purchase ​”A Portal in Time”

Amazon Books and Kindle EBooks:  Link

Barnes and Noble Books and Nook EBooks:  Link

​Google Play:  Link

Kobo:  Link

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Claire Fullerton

Thank you to Susan M. Toy!

Reading Recommendations

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

What is your latest release and what genre is it?Dancing to an Irish Reel is contemporary fiction set on the western coast of Ireland.

Quick description: Hailey Crossan is an American who leaves the record business in Los Angeles and takes a trip to the western coast of Ireland, where she is offered a job at The Galway Music Centre that is too good to turn down, so she stays! It is a story of discovery that sings the praises of the Irish cultural nuances from Hailey’s first person perspective and is also a story of the ambiguity (and often times confusion) of new love, for she meets an Irish traditional musician who is so unbalanced at the prospect of love with an outsider that he won’t come closer nor completely go away.

DancingtoanIrishReel2 200x300[1]

Brief biography:
I am a transplanted Southerner, in that I grew up in Memphis…

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Author Profile: Claire Fullerton

Thank you to the inimitable Dan Alatorre!

Dan Alatorre

Dan's pic Your humble host.

As we try to meet new authors and expand our literary palate, we will meet folks who write in the same genre as us and those who write something other than what we write. I personally believe that a well written story can (and maybe should) contain elements of multiple genres. A drama should have a dash of offsetting comedic relief.  A mystery might have a romantic underpinning. You can’t be all things to all people but you should read things outside of your normal sphere to broaden your talents.

We also get a glimpse into how other authors work, how they started, where they get their ideas. Each one we learn about teaches us more information we can use down the road.

With that in mind, meet a fascinating, intelligent author who brings a broad spectrum to the table – Claire Fullerton.


DAN: What is…

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