My Irish publishers Hachette are bringing out my fifth Finfarran novel on May 2nd and the Gutter Bookshop in Dublin is hosting its launch, with drinks provided by my lovely West Kerry neighbours, The Dingle Whiskey Distillery. So here's an invitation to join the celebration. Do, please, come along if you're in Dublin on May10th. Writing the Finfarran novels is always a joy but this one is special because its plot came about by sheer happenstance.
Only a year before we moved in, the site of the Dublin house that I grew up in was a field. Down the road, after the house was built and the developers had moved on, there was a scrubby patch of trees. They've disappeared now, under concrete and more housing. But when I was a child a spring rose in the scrubland, flowing briefly between two oaks and disappearing again among their twisted roots. I remember hours spent swinging out over the water on a rope tied to a branch, and
letting go at the crucial moment to land in squelching mud on the other side.That survival of the countryside, hemmed in by two roads, was a favourite playground for us local kids. We called it St. Bridget's. And at the time I never asked myself why. I don't know now if Bridget's name survives there. But I know that for thousands of years before I swung out across that water, people had come there to pray. It was the site of a holy well. Wells dedicated to Bridget are found all over the country. Sh…
Here's one of my occasional writing tips. I hope those of you who aren't writers will find it helpful too.
As more and more people are required to stay at home, for the sake of
our own health and others', we're increasingly being exhorted to take
this time to be creative. "Write a diary!", people say; or "here's your
chance to start that novel"; or "why not take up a new hobby?; or
"Shakespeare used downtime during the plague to write King Lear, you
know!" Well, yes, that was what Shakespeare did, but a/ he was a
brilliant, professional playwright and b/ he and his contemporaries were
accustomed to the frequent, localised, bouts of plague that disrupted
their lives and work and closed London's theatres. Most of us are neither of those things so,
personally, I'd forget about using Shakespeare as a role model.
Instead, I'd suggest this. In these unprecedented times, many of us may
be helped by writing down th…