Discover how author Nesta Tuomey came to write short stories, books, plays and more.

There were eleven in my family and we were all great readers. My father had a marvellous library and was amazingly liberal in his views. If you understood the nuances you were old enough to be reading the stuff, if you didn't understand no harm done!

My own earliest writing efforts centred around a diabetic cat called Hubert who developed a mad, insatiable thirst and wasn't too particular how he slaked it. Writing up Hubert's adventures was lots of fun, gratifying too, having a ready-made readership of schoolmates queuing up for the next instalment.

I suppose that's when I got hooked.

When later I was inspired to try my hand at the BBC Short Story Competition for the under thirties, I was short-listed but not the winner so I sent the story to BBC, Belfast. Great thrill hearing it read on air by Shakespearian actor, Harold Goldblatt.

I felt I'd arrived.

The short story will always be close to my heart but I enjoy writing books too, particularly about flying. Writing is one passion, flying another. I'd love to fly a plane. The nearest I got was when I went up in a Socata TB9 and we flew down over the Blessington Lakes, so low it was scary! As an air hostess I had a great time, saw the world - not just airports - and shared great holidays with my friends, one of whom actually married the Spaniard she fell for when we were all down in Spain on winter leave. This provided material for Up Up and Away my first fiction, behind the scenes, novel of life in an Irish airline.

Support for writers is essential, and especially during the formative writing years. One such time for me was some years ago when I was selected with fourteen other women writers to take part in a six-week seminar held in Dublin and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. It was ably directed by poet Eavan Boland. We did a lot of group reading and analysis of our work, wrote in our soundproof rooms and then met again for late evening sessions. Inspiring and fun too. Guest authors were Seamus Heaney, John McGahern and Nuala Ni Dhomhnall. The cream of the crop!

Listowel Writers Week also featured very much in my writing life and I attended several workshops, as well as being present for the 25th anniversary of Writers Week in 1995. The same year also saw the publication of my first airline novel Up Up and Away.

Launch of Up Up and Away Air Hostess friends and one brave pilot

I have recently completed the follow-up novel 'Holding Pattern' which covers the period 1966-1982 and tells of a dramatic love story between aircrew set against the tense background of the changing Irish airline as the married hostesses are forced to compete against their single colleagues for the right to permanent employment, equal pay and promotion.