Tag Archives: Tirgearr Publishing

David O’Brien: What to reveal and what to conceal

 


David J CovershotI’m delighted to welcome back David O’Brien to my blog. He has a new book out, which sounds very intriguing. Purchase links are at the end.  Take it away Dave…

Thanks for having me on your blog today, Jeff. Great to be back again to talk about my new novel, The Ecology of Lonesomeness.

Now that the book is out, people have been asking what the book is about.

And it’s hard to say.

Here’s the blurb to give you an idea.

Kaleb Schwartz isn’t interested in the Loch Ness Monster. He’d enough cryptobiological speculation about Bigfoot while studying the Pacific Northwest forests. He’s in Scotland’s Great Glen to investigate aquatic food webs and nutrients cycles; if he proves there’s no food for any creature bigger than a pike, then so much the better.

Jessie McPherson has returned to Loch Ness after finishing university in London, hoping to avoid the obsession with its dark waters she had when younger and first discovered lonesomeness. She knows any relationship with a scientist studying the lake is a bad idea, but something about Kaleb makes her throw caution to the depths.

When Kaleb discovers Jessie’s lonesomeness refers not just to the solitude of the loch, he’s faced with an ecological problem of monstrous proportions. Can he find a way to satisfy both the man and the scientist inside himself, and do the right thing?

The_Ecology_of_Lonesomeness_by_David_OBrien-500

I’ve been sending requests for reviews this week. One reviewer replied today to say that it wasn’t her normal genre, but the blurb intrigued her and she’d love to read the book.

So that’s good.

Yet, as I advertise the book’s release, I’m unsure how much to reveal about the story in order to hook readers, and how much to conceal to make the read as satisfying as possible, given that one of the main themes is keeping secrets and trusting others with them.

It’s the classic problem of the blurb, the movie trailer, the book recommendation.

We’ve all seen those movie trailers where they tell you too much information. Half way through you wish it would stop, so they’d leave some story to tell in the actual film. If you were at home you’d change the channel. In the cinema you just have to close your eyes and try not to listen. Even then, sometimes my wife will comment, “well, now there’s no need to go see that movie.”

The best advertisement of all is just someone saying to you quite forcefully, “Just go and see/read it. You’ll see what I mean when you do. I can’t say any more without saying too much.”

I love those recommendations. I love reading a book that is a complete unknown, except for the fact that it’s great. I delight in sitting in a movie theatre without any idea what I’m going to see – other than knowing it’s going to be good because it’s come highly recommended by people I trust.

How to get those first people to see the film or read the story, of course, is the part we’re all still fiddling with.

I’d love to reveal more, but that would be short-changing the reader.

One day, perhaps, I will reach a stage where the reader trusts me, knows that when I say I’ve a new book out, that will be enough. They will need not inquire further, but know they’ll be entertained, get their money’s worth.

Until then, I’ll keep playing with the blurb, keep coming up with tag lines and Facebook post lines to get people thinking, wondering what the book could be about, but without telling them directly. Because when there is no mystery in a novel – even if it’s just wondering how the writer has done what we know he or she has to have done, and which others have done but not quite this way; very valid in my opinion (I was going to say in my book, but that might confuse…) – then it’s time to put the book down.

The_Ecology_of_Lonesomeness_by_David_OBrien-500

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the book, when all the secrets are as yet unknown:

Jessie McPherson started the car and drove away from The Shredded Sail, her parents’ pub, which was also a bed and breakfast. She revved the engine and let gravel spit out from under the spinning front wheels. The old Nissan Micra that she’d learned to drive in was still a game old motor. Her mother kept it well serviced—well, basically she made sure Jessie’s father kept it well serviced. Jessie was tempted every day to do a handbrake skid across the gravel car park in front of the house upon her return from work. She used to do that in her school days. She’d grown out of that, though: you never knew where the guests might be parked. She’d nearly slid into a rented Audi the last time she’d pulled a skid.

It seemed time had stood still in the glen since she’d been home for Christmas. Had she really only been back here two weeks? She felt her three years in the chaotic ant’s nest of London had just been a fortnight’s holiday away: a few nights out in the West End, an afternoon drinking cocktails in Covent Garden after window-shopping in Knightsbridge, and mornings strolling through Hyde Park, Camden Market and Notting Hill.

Most of her old friends, her old flames, were still here in the glen. She’d taken to going for a pint in The Bothy with them after work, chatting to the old fogies in The Shredded Sail, and going over the same old conversations. After a week, those conversations were boring once again, but she still stood there at the bar, shaking her head at something her father said, or an acerbic comment from Ahab, the old codger who seemed to be welded to the bar when he wasn’t staring out at the surface of the loch, as if waiting.

It was amazing how quickly you could get back into a rut. This valley, this enormous gouge out of the landscape that almost cut an entire country in half, with its huge, internationally famous loch: what was it really, when you thought about it, other than a great big rut, with a muddy pothole in the middle of it to match?

It had a way of sucking you in, like the mist the loch seemed to suck out of the sky, down upon it, as if it would cloak itself in a white, vaporous shroud to conceal its secrets. The fog made the shimmering surface as unseen as the hidden, darkened, benthic depths so many feet underneath.

It grabbed you to it, hugged you close. The walls were like the arms of a mother who never wanted you to stray, to escape her apron pocket. That was disparaging to her mum, though, with whom she’d been very happy being back with. She spent time with her in the kitchen and helped out with breakfasts, too—even to the point of making her nearly late for work on some mornings.

She’d thought it would be a bit intense, living with her mum again after being at uni, but her mum now treated Jessie as a friend—a friend she’d do anything for, and not as a daughter who needed to do as her mother advised. It was amazing what a few years’ absence could do, how it could change things. Of course, Jessie supposed that during those three years, she herself had done the changing. Her mother had always encouraged her to go away to study—and not to the University of the Highlands and Islands, either.

“Get away from this glen,” she’d said: insisted, almost, “and escape the pull of that loch. It’ll swallow you up if you don’t. You’ll be here when you’re my age, staring out at the water like auld Ahab, there, obsessed.”

Her mother had always been worried that she spent too much time out on the loch. Since she was a young girl, she’d been sneaking off in the trout boat without telling anyone and would be found hours later, sitting in it down along the shore, either getting sunburnt or wet with the rain. The loch held no secrets from Jessie, though. She’d been around it too long, seen it too clearly, too often. She had stared down into those murky waters and seen more than her own reflection.

She’d learned to fly fish, and had taken her share of salmon and trout from the loch. She had also learned to predict the weather well enough to avoid the really bad squalls or at least bring along her wet gear when they threatened.

Her mother had become less worried that something untoward might occur, and increasingly concerned that Jessie was becoming too used to her own company, too solitary, too immersed in the life of the loch, rather than in pursuits that a regular girl of fourteen should have—or would have if they didn’t live on the south shore of Loch Ness.

Since she’d been back, Jessie had been out on the lake just once. She’d wondered if she’d experience the lonesomeness her mum would rather she didn’t, but had only found tranquillity in solitude and caught a few trout that she’d brought home. Her mother had fried them up with butter and lemon. It had been like breaking through a thin skin to the smells and memories of childhood when she’d broken off a piece with her fork and lifted it to her mouth.

 

You can read another excerpt and find links to the book here:

http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/OBrien_David/the-ecology-of-lonesomness.htm

And read about my other books and writing at these websites:

Website:  https://davidjmobrien.wordpress.com/

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/David-J.-OBrien/e/B00M60M6Y0

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DavidJMOBrien

The_Ecology_of_Lonesomeness_by_David_OBrien-500

Advertisements

‘TREADING ON DREAMS’ – RONE AWARDS FINALIST!

2015_05_Contemporary_Sweet_FIN

 

My contemporary novel, TREADING ON DREAMS, has made it into the finals of the RONE awards.

Thanks to everyone who voted. You are wonderful people.

‘Treading On Dreams’ will now be read by a panel of  professional judges, which is a lovely thought in itself.  Thanks again.

Treading on Dreams by Jeff Gardiner - 1800-300dpi

 

BUY TREADING ON DREAMS HERE

 

Author Interview: Cass Peterson

 

Tirgearr Publishing
Tirgearr Publishing

I’d like to welcome fellow Tirgearr author Cass Peterson to my blog. She has written the next book in the ‘City Nights’ adult romance series, called ‘One Night in San Francisco’. Click here to see more information about the City Nights Series and on the cover image to purchase Cass’ “sizzling” book.

Author Bio:

Cass Peterson is passionate about many things; her family, writing, chocolate, wine, cake, curry, gin, sunlit beaches, moonlit bedrooms and good novels to name but a few. At the moment she spends a good chunk of her time working on the day job, but she tries to fit the other passions in as often as possible.

She is a cat lover, an all-weather walker, a reader and reviewer of contemporary romance and an enthusiastic cook.

Cass likes to laugh, especially at Bill Bailey, Victoria Wood, Michael Palin and Eddie Izzard. She would happily live next door to any of these comedians.

http://casspeterson.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/cass.peterson.4/

http://www.twitter.com/casspeterson1

San FranWhat are the main ideas or themes in your book?

The main theme is seizing the moment. When Liam and Nicky meet, they instantly know that there could be something very special between them. The chemistry is sizzling, but shortly afterwards they lose sight of each other and have to race against time to reconnect.

What is the setting or context of the narrative? Why is it important?

The story is set against the background of bustling, romantic, electric San Francisco, and it’s crucial to the narrative because the mood of the city runs through the way that the two protagonists react to each other. They are both creatures of impulse, and San Fran completely matches their joy for life and their longing to find both physical and emotional satisfaction at last.

Tell us more about the main characters and their dilemmas.

Both Nicky and Liam have recently emerged from hugely unsuccessful relationships, where the sex was less than mind blowing and the laughs were in short supply. They think they are willing to risk trusting someone new, but there are mountains to climb first. Nicky is deeply conscious of her failure to keep her previous man (who left her for her best friend’s boyfriend.) Liam has also had his fingers burned badly by a manipulative colleague.

Why did you write this novel? Any other issues or ‘big ideas’ behind it?

I have to be honest here – I wrote One Night in San Francisco to see if I could overcome my embarrassment at writing much smuttier books than I was used to. I found I could! It was incredibly liberating. I am very impulsive, like my main characters, and can’t stand hanging around waiting for something to happen. The idea of a twenty four hour limit on the action was inspiring, and San Francisco is one of my all-time favourite places.

How do you go about writing a novel? Is it a simple or complex process?

For me, the day job takes a huge amount of time and energy so I don’t have the luxury of making things complicated. I just get up early and write! Editing the work is one of my favourite occupations, and I do it as I go along each time I write a chapter/section, rather than blast through the first draft and then go back. I’m not good at plotting.

What advice do you have for less experienced writers?

Join a writing group, either in the flesh or online, and learn to accept constructive criticism. Go on a course or two if you can afford the time/money. Keep trying, but only submit your work to agents and publishers when it’s the best it can be.

What are you working on next?

The next project in the erotic romance line is a full-length novel about a single woman searching for great sex. I hope it’ll be funny. It’s making me snigger writing it, anyway!

If you could leave a message to the world, what would it be?

Grab every opportunity that comes your way and run with it, but whatever you do, don’t forget to have fun in the process.

*****

Blurb:

Nicky and Liam have only twenty four short hours to find out if their instantaneous attraction can develop into something more than an electric mile-high fumble. San Francisco has everything they need to put their previous disastrous relationships behind them but when they lose touch with each other almost immediately, fate seems to have other ideas. As the precious hours tick away, Liam moves heaven and earth to find the woman of his (filthiest) dreams before she leaves the city. Will he get to her in time?

Buy links: http://casspeterson.co.uk/books/city-nights-one-night-in-san-francisco/

One Night in San Francisco

Extract:

San Francisco airport was a blur of activity even in the early morning. As we piled off the plane, already jet lagged and dishevelled, we were herded into lines reminiscent of the ones at Alton Towers – zig zags of queues separated by tapes and metal posts, shuffling tiredly towards the perspex booths of hard-faced officials, ready to check our passports.

By this time I was almost comatose – lack of sleep and too much four-o’clock lust had left me bleary and bewildered by the bustle around me. I tried to keep near to Liam but when we reached passport control we somehow lost each other. I saw him in the distance, trying to charm his way past an official who obviously ate razor blades for a hobby, but we didn’t meet again. I waved to him as I was whisked away to have my bag checked – I must have a dodgy face, this always seems to happen to me at customs – and he waved back, mouthing ‘See you later.’

My heart sank. I’d hoped to have chance to talk to him before we went our separate ways, or at least to give him a hug. Never mind, I had his card safely in my bag. I checked again. Yes, still there, tucked into my purse next to the photo of Simon. I shook myself. Why was I still carrying around a picture of a man who had clearly moved out of my life?

I slid the tiny picture out of my purse and looked at it closely. Simon grinned up at me from his photograph – handsome, cheerful … and a complete and utter tosser. There were no litter bins to be seen but I noticed a man sweeping rubbish nearby. After a moment’s hesitation I ripped up the photo and dropped the pieces into his bin liner. He looked at me as if I’d spat on the floor but I didn’t care. A wave of freedom washed over me – who needed men that treated you like dirt? I’d ring Liam as soon as I thought he’d be clear of his work ties.

I frowned as I shuffled forwards in the queue. For the first time I realised I hadn’t offered Liam my own number. It would have made a whole lot more sense for him to phone me when he was through. Oh well, it was too late now. I’d give him till half past ten – that should do it.

Tirgearr

The next book in the series will be One Night in Amsterdam by Jaz Hartfield who will be interviewed on this blog in October 2014.

One Night in Amsterdam by Jaz Hartfield - 500

David J O’Brien: Author and Guest Blogger

Five Days on Ballyboy Beach by David J O'Brien - 500I’m delighted to welcome  David J O’Brien on my blog again. His wonderful new novel, Five Days On Ballyboy Beach, is just out and already receiving glowing reviews. I’ll pass over to David who is here to discuss the role of research in the process of writing. Please click on the cover or links below to purchase this or his previous and highly recommended novel, Leaving the Pack.

 

Thanks for hosting me today Jeff.

I had thought about one of the questions you asked me when hosting me on your blog after the release of Leaving the Pack – whether my novels required a lot of research. Well, Five Days on Ballyboy Beach required a bit. The characters go snorkeling, canoeing and surfing, which are hobbies that I have very little experience of.

I don’t like doing a lot of research for my novels. I don’t enjoy it all that much. I think it takes up too much time from the writing. Even today with all the information we have at our fingertips, it’s hard to do quickly, and efficiently – at least for me. If I do embark on a bit of internet investigation, I usually end up with the day gone and only random facts in my head. I mostly rely on things I already know, on information I’ve already picked up as I go along through life.

When writing, though, there will always be things that the character knows that the writer doesn’t. What I tend to do in this case is leave all the stuff I don’t already know, or am not certain about, until the end of the first draft – leaving little gaps where the absolutely necessary information has to go, and fill them in as I edit and write the second draft. Of course, I always end up with extra stuff that I can’t help trying to slot in during the second draft, too.

What I tend to do more if I don’t’ know much about a subject, is ask a friend who does. Most of my mates know more than I do!

For Five Days on Ballyboy Beach, I had to ask for help with the details of wetsuits used in different activities (much of which didn’t make it to the final edit, showing that often we’re just wasting time trying to add in those authentic details!) and types of surfboards.

At the same time, there is no way that I could have written (or would have tried to write) anything about surfing had I not had a least a little idea of what it feels like to ride a wave – or attempt to anyway! I did spend a weekend trying to stand up on the west coast once, and have sat in a few canoes, and even snorkeled in the frigid waters off Ireland. On these scant experiences, I wrote the novel. However, I also asked a friend to read the surfing description – there’s an excerpt below where you can see how well it turned out – when I had finished the first draft.

Nevertheless, I didn’t reveal all of what I had written, in order to maintain the surprise when he reads the whole novel, so any errors or inauthenticities that may remain are entirely my own. At the end of the day (as the footballers say) I can shrug my shoulders and say, I didn’t know – it’s fiction!

Five Days on Ballyboy Beach by David J O'Brien - 500

 

Blurb for Five Days on Ballyboy Beach:

A startling revelation – the long-time friend you never viewed romantically is actually the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.
 
But what do you do about it?
 
For Derek, a laid-back graduate camping with college friends on Ireland’s west coast in the summer of 1996, the answer is … absolutely nothing.
 
Never the proactive one of the group – he’s more than happy to watch his friends surf, canoe and scuba-dive from the shore – Derek adopts a wait and see attitude. Acting on his emotional discovery is further hindered by the fact he’s currently seeing someone else – and she’s coming to join him for the weekend.
As their five days on the beach pass, and there are more revelations, Derek soon realises that to get what he desires, he’ll have to take it. Events conspire to push him to the forefront of the group, and, as unexpected sorrow begins to surround him and his friends, Derek grasps his chance at happiness. After all, isn’t life too short to just wait and see?

 

Five Days on Ballyboy Beach by David J O'Brien - 500

 

Excerpt from Five Days on Ballyboy Beach:

Back on the beach, the others were still ensconced in their sleeping bags. It was very quiet, so we didn’t disturb them. We got ready to get in the water instead.

We took the boards off the cars; Bill’s usual five-foot short board, and Pat’s old eight-foot long elephant gun Malibu board for me. Then we put on the wetsuits. Carrying the boards under our arms, we walked down to the water. The waves were now less the abstract entities out at sea they had been that morning and more like living beings, pouring fourth to crush the land and anything that happened to put itself in the way.

This was the reason we were here. Regardless of drinking, walking, girls, discos, canoeing, sunsets and stars, this was why we had chosen to come to this place, and everyone bar me had taken time off work; to surf. We watched the waves roll in—the bigger ones in sets of three or four, and sometimes five. The biggest of these were usually the second, and sometimes the third. These were the ones to catch. The sets appeared as anomalies on the horizon, obscure objects disturbing the straight line between the sea and sky, slowly growing darker and larger as they approached. They were about four or five feet high—just right for beginners like me—and broke in two places. A few metres out from the cliffs, where the reef pushed them up constantly, they rose steeply and broke away from the cliff. Some seventy five metres further along, where a sandbank rose, the white curtain of water fell in both directions. To our left it joined that of the reef break, and to the right it fizzled out somewhat near the rocks, at the point where the stream, as it flowed into the sea, and the rip current combined to gouge out a relatively deep channel.

We waded out into the surf near the rocks to take advantage of the rip, holding the boards above the waves as long as we could, then dropping them and jumping up to slide onto them before paddling out. Bill forced his board down and ducked under incoming waves, while I rode high over them on my much more buoyant board. I was out of breath by the time we got past the breakers, and I sat up on the board to catch it.

Bill had already recovered his breath when the next set loomed. He chose the second wave, turned his board toward land and started paddling furiously. After a few seconds he looked around to gauge its distance. The wave rolled under me, and as it reached him, raising him up, he put his hands on the board and pushed down on it, forcing it down the other side of the wave at the same time as lifting his body up enough to get his legs under him and plant his feet firmly on the waxed surface. Then he stood up on the board as it slid down the crest of the wave. He leaned to the left and brought it along the wave, away from its break-point, going up and down along it twice, before he lost his balance and fell into the water with the wave washing over him.

It took a while for the next set to appear. My heart raced as I watched it and waited. I let the first wave pass, holding on to the board as it bobbed me up and down, then turned as the second was about six feet away, slid forward a little on the board and paddled as fast as I could. I breathed hard and kept pushing as I felt the wave roll underneath me. I accelerated suddenly, and as I did, I found myself leaning forward down the wave. Grabbing the side of the board, I quickly lifted my body up off it and put my feet on the board. I tried to stand up, but the wave pushed me down its face and the white foam rained all around me as I fell forward. The board slid over my head, blocking the sunlight momentarily. Suddenly all was blue and noise.

I surfaced after a few seconds and swam after the board, holding on to it as the last wave of the set swept over me as well. When it had passed, I slid back onto the board and paddled out again, as fast as I could before another set could arrive and push me back towards the shore again.

Just as I got out to the break-point, another set approached fast. I took a few deep breaths to get my wind back while the first two went under, and started out again after the third. I felt it rise up and paddled harder, but I caught sight of the white foam bubbling on my right where the wave was breaking, and, despite trying for a few more seconds and pushing down on the board to force it over the top, it rolled onwards. I was left lying on the board, panting. I turned around and paddled back out, moving left a few metres where the wave had begun to break. The first wave had brought me along the beach a little, so when I had gone back out I had been in the wrong place.

Bill was sitting on his board, waiting for me. “You popped too late on that first one,” he told me.

“Yeah. I guessed that all right,” I replied, still out of breath.

Links:

Amazon.com

David JM O’Brien’s website

Five Days on Ballyboy Beach

Tirgearr Publishing

David JM O’Brien on Facebook

leavingpack

Interview with an Author: Mary T Bradford


I’m pleased to welcome Mary T Bradford to my blog today. Please click on the links below to find out more.


??????????My Husband’s Sin
is the debut novel from Mary T Bradford. She is an Irish author, married and mother of four children. She has been writing short stories for many years with which she has enjoyed publishing success in Ireland and abroad. While working on a story it happened that the story kept getting longer and the word count continued to climb, resulting with Mary having her novel. My Husband’s Sin is published by Tirgearr Publishing.

Recently Mary has dipped into play-writing and one of her plays was shortlisted in the Claremorris Fringe Festival in April of this year and was performed by the Half A Breakfast Theatre Group. Another of her plays had a Staged Reading in July at Friar’s Gate Theatre in Kilmallock, Limerick in Ireland. Her short story collection, A Baker’s Dozen, is also available on Amazon.com. Or in local bookshops.

When not writing, Mary enjoys crafts. In particular, she enjoys crochet and cross-stitch and catching up on her reading from the stack of books on her bedside locker.

My Husbands Sin by Mary T Bradford - 500

LINKS

http://marytbradford-author.blogspot.ie/

http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Bradford_MaryT/my-husbands-sin.htm

https://twitter.com/marytbrad

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-T-Bradford-Author/464343040298924?ref=hl

INTERVIEW

What are the main themes in your book?

In my novel, My Husband’s Sin, there are a few themes but the main one is loss. Losing a parent or indeed any family member is a difficult time for everyone concerned. In my  book, the main character, Lacey Taylor, suffers loss greater than the others when after her mother Lillian’s funeral, a letter she is given destroys her life further. She now suffers betrayal as well. But it only takes a small crack to appear in a family for it all to come crumbling down.

Tell us more about the main characters and their dilemmas?

Lacey, the main character is the one who has the most to lose and when her life crashes down around her, she has a choice, either to lie down and accept what has been dealt to her or get up and fight. But whichever decision she goes with, her siblings are also dragged into the mess Lillian Taylor creates. Willow is the eldest of the Taylor family and her mother was her best friend, accepting the truth proves very hard for her and so her marriage suffers. Robert, Lacey’s only brother, reels from the revelations and questions all his relationships, especially when it comes to trusting others. Sally Taylor, an independent strong woman, tries to heal the rift that has been created but struggles to keep it altogether in her own life. So there you have the Taylor family.

Why did you write this novel?

I always promised myself that I would write a novel. I have written many short stories and had tons of ideas but none of them ever stayed with me and nagged me like this one. It started as a simple story and just kept growing, the word count grew and the characters kept insisting on me sorting out their dilemmas and after some moments of writing delights and writing disasters, I ended up with My Husband’s Sin.

How do you go about writing a novel? Is it a simple or a complex process?

Wow what a question! I am not a plotter when it comes to writing in general. I have either an idea or a name to begin with and after some thought, I may have an end. Then to get from the start to the finish, I have no idea, honestly. I put down on paper whatever is in my head and take it from there. As I am writing, the characters or indeed objects pop into the writing and it is they that lead my stories. In My Husband’s Sin, a black metal box appeared. I had no clue why or what it represented until much further on, it turned out to be an essential part of the novel.

Whether writing a novel is a simple or complex process I think depends on the writer. Some like to do a lot of research and make maps and plans and know each detail before they commit to paper. Others, I suppose like me, put it down and get it out and then when doing the next draft, and the next, and the next… finally get to the end.

What advice do you have for less experienced writers?

I would say, stick with it. All the hard work we put in to our writing pays off when every time we complete a project. Turning up to greet the blank page every day is important too, so discipline is a key factor. If it is only a few sentences that you manage it is better than nothing. All those sentences add up and soon you will have a story.

What are you working on currently?

I have my fingers worn to the bone at present because I have three projects on the go. Yes I am a nut to take it all on. I am writing my second novel which is totally different from My Husband’s Sin; it is not even in the same genre. It is a good versus evil story about a priest who is sent to do battle with the devil and it all takes place inside a locked room.  So who wins?

I am also writing a western novella for a group that I am involved in. The group are called Writers of the West, it is an exciting project. Finally, I am busy seeking a home for a play I have ready for production.

Name a book/film that means a lot to you?

I love the film, The Green Mile. It is such a good story and the actors are all fantastic. Of course I cry every time I watch it. When it comes to books there are too many to pick from.

What would be your perfect day?

A perfect day, let me think, it would be warm, not too hot, by the sea, with a picnic of cold meats/ white wine/salads. A book of course and would I want company? Well if, Kevin Costner or Charles Bronson were available, or maybe Michael Bublé, he could serenade me, right?

I want to thank Jeff for hosting me today and helping me promote my debut novel My Husband’s Sin. I enjoyed the variety of questions and my visit immensely.

 Thanks, Mary.My Husbands Sin by Mary T Bradford - 500

David O’Brien: Inteview with an Author

I’m delighted to welcome fellow Tirgearr author, David O’Brien, whose new book, ‘Leaving the Pack’, is a gripping werewolf novel. I have the pleasure of presenting a fascinating interview, and a free extract from his brilliant work of fiction.  Please click on the links below for more information, and on any of the cover images to purchase a copy of the book.

David J O'Brien

 What are the main ideas or themes in your book?

The main idea is that we have all heard about werewolves and the effect of the full moon, but we know scientifically that they can’t exist the way they are described. So where did these stories come from? Why did we begin to tell them? What are the facts that led to the myth? There is nearly always some truth behind any myth: I recently read that oarfish are probably the genesis of the mythical sea serpents that sailors said patrolled the edge of the world. I began to wonder what the people who were considered werewolves were really like, and came up with a separate race of humans, which still exist. Because people always fear what is different or they don’t understand, and attack what they fear, the survival of the race is in peril after centuries of persecution.

The fear of rejection, of being safe in your current situation and being reluctant to change, to transition to something new, despite the fact that it could be positive in the long run are also important themes.

What is the setting of the narrative? Why is it important?

The book is set in an unnamed city on the east coast of an unnamed country. I did this so that readers can see that these people could be anywhere, walking the streets of their own city.

Tell us more about the main characters and their dilemmas.

Paul is the oldest of a new generation of a race of people who the rest of us would call werewolves, if we knew of their existence. They are hidden in plain sight, though, as they are identical in appearance to Caucasians. They differ physiologically, however, in having much stronger lunar rhythms, to the point where during the three days and nights of a full moon they are almost completely controlled by their hormonal instincts. They have been persecuted for centuries and the remnants of the race have escaped Eastern Europe but are so dwindled that Paul has been given leadership of a group of young men who must seek wives outside their own kind. The Pack, as they call themselves, has roamed the city for years, and Paul has done well in keeping them controlled and out of trouble. Paul has always known he must settle down and leave the pack to roam under someone else’s leadership. But when he meets Susan, someone he instantly recognises as a potential life mate, he discovers that actually handing over control is going to be hard to do. More difficult than that is the step of telling Susan the secret of his identity – something his family insist he do, so that Susan can decide for herself if she wants to marry what she’d have called a monster. Not only is it hard to voice something he has always hidden, but he is afraid that she will be abhorred by him once she finds out the truth.

For her part, Susan believes Paul is the perfect man – besides his juvenile tradition of going off drinking with his mates every month. She wants him to give all that up, but sees that Paul is a creature of habit, and that it will be hard to settle him down completely. However, she discovers she is pregnant and decides that Paul has to decide between continuing to act like an adolescent every month, and becoming a grown man and father who stays at home.

Leaving the Pack by David J O'Brien - 200

Why did you write this novel? Any other issues or ‘big ideas’ behind it.

I started it when I was seventeen as a short novella describing the people and the main characters because I loved the idea, and wanted to create a new world. Over the years I extended it into a novel, because the more I thought about it, the more complex the story became. At the same time, I saw that werewolf stories were becoming popular again – though werewolves were often the second-class citizens of vampire stories! – yet none were like my werewolves. I just wanted to get this angle of the truth behind the myth out there.

The big issue behind the novel is tolerance of differences, racism, prejudice and persecution. The members of the pack and their family have seen their own race nearly exterminated like Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, Tasmanians, and of course, the Jews and Gypsies during the Second World War. While the other groups still have problems and prejudice to deal with, their existence is no longer (one hopes) actually in danger. But the pack knows such tolerance that we see today will not be extended to their race should they be discovered. They are powerful individuals, who can kill in a heartbeat, but they know that they are outnumbered by the rest of society and so must hold back their power or it will be their undoing.

How do you go about writing a novel? Is it a simple or complex process?

Ha! I think it’s complex until you’ve written around ten of them. And getting the time to actually sit down and doing it is fairly complicated before you start. As I said, this one was my first, and it started as a novella more than twenty years ago, growing from there. It was rewritten a good few times. My next novel was faster, but it was still done over a couple of years. I wrote it purely for pleasure, as I have most of my novels. That one still needs work though it is currently under submission for Tirgearr Publishing, where ‘Leaving the Pack’ will be published. It’s not easy because you have to keep everything in your head: all the characters, all the plotlines, all the loose ends. I write notes and have a document for slush and a chapter/outline page to try to keep track, but there is no substitute for the human brain. However, if I leave the novel for too long (which I tend to do because there are always multiple things going on) I have to got back and refamiliarise myself with what’s going on, or I end up writing great dialogue that contradicts, or reiterates, stuff I have already written. I use the catch up to edit the first few chapters, so that I end up with the book fairly well rounded out by the time I can write the last sentence. Now that I have more time committed to writing I hope that I can keep it all in my head all the way through the first draft and then be able to edit the whole thing at one go.

What advice do you have for less experienced writers?

The same that everyone gives them I’m sure: keep writing. That’s the only way forward. Nobody can teach you how to write, really. If you want to be a writer, you can just by writing. You don’t need to go to classes or get a degree in fine arts. You might have to discard 90% of your work for the first decade, but it will get better. By the time you’ve done five or so, you’ll see what was wrong with your first, and you can fix it. And keep sending finished things out while you write more stuff. If your first novel is getting bounced back at you, go ahead and start your second, but keep giving that first one the odd throw now and then. It’ll help you keep editing it, keep refining it, and someday it might hit the right place.

What are you working on currently?

Too many things to get them all done as soon as I want them finished! I have been slowly working through a long novel set in the pre-Columbian Caribbean, for many years now. The first draft’s about half done, at 130k so far – I’ll get there in a few years! I hope to submit a novella called ‘One Night in Madrid’ to Tirgearr Publishing very soon. I am halfway through (50K) the first draft of a novel I got the idea for just a couple of months ago and am doing my best to get done before summer. It will need some feedback from beta readers and some friends who I have asked for help with research, but the subject matter is a secret until it’s submitted (I write too slowly to give away anything too soon!) Besides that, I have written an outline and 30k words of a sequel to ‘Leaving the Pack’, which I hope to complete by the end of the year. The third book in what will be a trilogy is sketched out in my head and now and then I am forced to get things down on paper, so there’s about 10k of that down. There’s also a non-fiction book on the sociology of hunting that I hope to get at least a treatment of finished over the summer. Then there are a few other ideas that have been put in the drawer until I can allow my brain the luxury of getting back to them. They are patient creatures, though, and I think I’ll get to them in the next year or two. After that I might have to worry about writer’s block!

If you could leave a message to the world, what would it be?

“Please stop acting like we are at the end of history.”

I hate that we seem to think that a hundred years is a long time. My flat is 150 years old and I hope to leave it in as good condition in fifty years time. Yet the so-called leaders of the world think it’s ok that we have enough oil to last for at least fifty years. What about the people who will live a thousand years from now? We still look back to the wise men that lived two thousand years ago for inspiration on how to live our lives, and yet we assume that those who come after us would not have a use for the materials we are wasting. Oil is not just a fuel. It is a material we use to make things. Won’t those who come after us want to use plastic? They’ll think worse of us than we do the fools who dismantled the monuments of ancient Rome to make their outhouses.

What would your perfect day be?

Wow. A nice question to ponder. It would be a very looong one…. Up for deer hunting at dawn, home for a swim and splash with my daughter, then some writing on a shady porch with a cool drink before a lunch on the same porch, watching birds and other wildlife in the garden. A short siesta afterwards, and a snorkel in the ocean, before a little reading in the shade. A beer and a shower and then a nice dinner (someone would have processed and cooked the previous day’s quarry) with good company and good wine as the sun sets. Then a walk through a balmy city with some good bars and perhaps a bit of dancing. A glass of whiskey on an open porch to end it all with a little more reading, while the frogs/nightingales/crickets sing but no mosquitoes exist! That’d do it. I don’t know if I’d have the time to sleep between two of these days in a row, and it might require the use of some kind of teleporting device to get to all the best places for each activity, but I am sure the perfect day comes with such things included.

Name a book or a film that means a lot to you.

A hard question… There are not that many but it’s hard to pick one out as meaning most.

At the time of reading it, ‘Girl in a Swing’ by Richard Adams had a big impact. It’s such a gentle, calm, even slow novel from the outside, but inside it packed a punch, which I could see coming but knew it was too late to avoid, as inevitable and intense as the titanic sinking after four hours, that sent me reeling.

Leaving the Pack by David J O'Brien - 200

Links

David JM O’Brien’s website

Leaving the Pack

Tirgearr Publishing

David JM O’Brien on Facebook

Blurb:

Nobody believes in werewolves.

That’s just what Paul McHew and his friends are counting on.

They and their kind roam our city streets: a race of people from whom the terrible legend stems; now living among us invisibly after centuries of persecution through fear and ignorance. Superficially Caucasian but physiologically very different, with lunar rhythms so strong that during the three days of the full moon they are almost completely controlled by their hormonal instincts, you might have cursed them as just another group of brawling youths or drunken gang-bangers. Now at the point of extinction, if they are to survive their existence must remain restricted to mere stories and legend, but, paradoxically, they also must marry outside their society in order to persist.

The responsibility for negotiating this knife-edge is given to Paul, who runs the streets with his friends during the full moon, keeping them out of real trouble and its resultant difficult questions. Having succeeded for years, he finds his real test of leadership comes when he meets Susan, a potential life-mate, to whom he will have to reveal his true identity if he is ever to leave his pack.

10% of the author’s royalties will be donated to WWF, the World Wildlife Fund.

Leaving the Pack by David J O'Brien - 200

Excerpt:

Suddenly he asked her the time. It was half-past one. His eyes scanned the crowd quickly and came to rest on the face of one of his friends, who had apparently been watching them. Paul nodded to him and then turned back to Susan.

“Where do you live Susan?” he asked, his tone conveying much more than curiosity.

She stared at him for a few seconds, spellbound, and then replied, gaze still holding his. “Not very far.”

“OK,” he said simply. “I just have to say goodbye to my friends.”

“I’ll get my coat.”

She went back to where she’d been sitting, said a quick goodbye to her wide-eyed workmates and picked up her jacket, then followed Paul down towards the dance-floor, at the edge of which his friends were assembling. After saying something Susan didn’t catch above the strains of Duran Duran’s Wild Boys, he clasped hands with a few of them before grinning broadly and letting out a long guffaw, though Susan didn’t notice that anyone had told a joke. They smirked back, ignoring her completely until Paul turned away from them and took her arm to lead her to the door.

Outside, a bank of clouds had descended over the city, reflecting back down upon it the dull orange glow of the streets. A splattering of heavy drops fell as they stood on the pavement, Paul glancing up and down to spot the next taxi that came along. Susan was wearing a cotton jacket which wouldn’t withstand much rain and she hoped that more than one taxi came quickly, as there were some other people nearby who were already waiting. When the drops became more frequent, Paul offered her his leather jacket. She declined, since it would have left him with just his silk shirt, but looked up at the almost lurid clouds anxiously. A lone taxi came along and pulled up nearby. Paul strode towards it and the two guys who were just about to open its door hesitated at his approach. He grabbed the handle and they backed away. Susan also scrupled, thinking it impolite to jump the queue. But the sudden drumming of the opening sky upon the dusty street convinced her and she skipped over to the car when Paul beckoned.

“What was that about in the club?” she asked as they jumped in.

“What? Oh, the boys? They’re going off to another place now. I was just laughing at what I imagine they’ll get up to there.”

“And what exactly do you imagine they will do?”

“Pretty much what they were doing there, but a bit more boisterous.”

“What? They’re going to trash the place?”

“No. No. They’d never do that. Not while they’re restrained.”

“Restrained? What is that supposed to mean? Like, locked up?”

“No. It’s quite simple really. One of them will simply not go wild and he will kind of look after them, make sure that they don’t go too far. And if anything happens that shouldn’t, then he’ll be answerable to me.”

“What? You’re the leader?”

“Yes.”

This settled in her mind like a sunken galleon in a sandbar. Of course, she told herself, the most perfect man you’ve ever met is a gang leader. Now I know why things are going so well – because they are undoubtedly going to go extremely bad sometime very soon.

She swallowed hard and asked, “And what would you do if this gang – it is a gang, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, you could call it that.”

“Well, what would you do if they did get into trouble?”

“It won’t happen.”

“But if it did?”

“They would be reprimanded.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I don’t know. It would have to happen first.”

“And wouldn’t they just replace you as leader if you did something that they didn’t agree with?”

“No. They respect that I’m the leader and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

“But…”

“Look, can we leave this? I’ll tell you all about it some other time.”

The mention of another time snapped Susan out of it a little. She was really engrossed in this gang thing, wanting to find out more about it both to satisfy herself that it was not dangerous to be with this gang leader and because, as she thought about it, she had to admit to herself that she was excited by that very possibility of danger. His mention of another time almost prompted her to ask if there was to be one, but she stopped herself and concentrated on the present situation.

“OK. Here’s my place now, anyway.”

Leaving the Pack by David J O'Brien - 200

 

Author Interview: Mary T Bradford

MTBI’d like to welcome fellow Tirgearr author Mary T Bradford to my blog today. Mary  is a published writer of short stories in magazines, newspapers and anthologies both in Ireland and internationally. Her first novel ‘My Husband’s Sin’ is with Tirgearr Publishing and will be coming out soon. Her first short story collection, ‘A Baker’s Dozen’ is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book format. Mary has also written plays and has seen her work short-listed and performed.

 

  1. What are the main ideas or themes in your book?

The theme in My Husband’s Sin which is due out on July 1st this summer with Tirgearr Publishing is loss and its effects on families. What does it mean to be part of a family, how important is it to be able to identify yourself with those around you? When the family that you have been raised with is threatened and secrets are revealed, what happens next? 

  1. What is the setting or context of the narrative? Why is it important?

The setting for My Husband’s Sin is in Ireland, in particular Dublin, although the story also moves to Chester in Cheshire, England for part of the book. The setting was important for me as I am familiar with both cities as they are both like second homes to me. I lived in Dublin for twenty years and had my four children there, my eldest son is now living in Chester and so I have become familiar with the city.

  1. Tell us more about the main characters and their dilemmas.

The main character is Lacey Taylor. She is the youngest of four children in the Taylor family. Her life comes crashing down for her when she is given a letter at the reading of her late mothers will. What this letter contains threatens the whole family unit. She befriends the family solicitor and with his help she sets out on a personal journey for answers she may or may not find. Her sisters and brother are also affected and so the book tells the story of how they deal with the secret that has been revealed. So to tell you what the rest of the family get up to would spoil the story!

  1. Why did you write this novel? Any other issues or ‘big ideas’ behind it.

To be honest I wrote this novel as a challenge for myself. I have always written short stories but the idea for this story invaded my headspace and I kept asking myself but what if this happened or that happened. So I knew it was going to be bigger than my normal short story and so took on the challenge of a novel. I had promised myself years ago that I would one day write a novel and this story turned out to be the one that gave me the opportunity. Plus I had self-published a collection of some of my stories which is available from Amazon etc. It is called A Bakers Dozen.

MTB1

  1. How do you go about writing a novel? Is it a simple or complex process?

Oh goodness! Writing a novel in my opinion can be as hard or as easy as you the writer make it, Jeff. I mean, I knew that my story idea would not suit a short story format. The characters lived with me for awhile before I put pen to paper. I searched through magazines to find photos of people who resembled the characters in my head. Then I cut them out and stuck them in my novel notebook. I had a notebook just for My Husband’s Sin. As I began writing, I would enter my chapter 1 and a sentence about what happens in that chapter. So I was building up a table of contents as such and later on as my chapters increased I could go back and look to see what had happened in such a chapter if I had any questions. But the most important thing in writing a novel or indeed in writing full stop is discipline. You must write each day, even if it’s only 50 words, it is 50 words more than you had yesterday and oh yes, patience. Patience keeps you from tearing your hair out when you feel bogged down with the whole thing.

  1. What advice do you have for less experienced writers?

Read. Reading stories or books in a genre that you would like to write in helps you to see how your favourite author does it. Meet with other writers who will be honest with you about your work, it is a difficult thing to do is to share your work but you will benefit from it honestly. Write every day, like I said previously, a few words are better than a blank page. Go to festivals or writing events that host workshops and always keep a notebook with you for when inspiration strikes.

  1. What are you working on next?

Presently I am working on my second novel its working title is ‘Cell 13’. It is a good versus evil story when Fr. John is pitched against Satan himself in a locked room called Cell 13. It is totally different from My Husband’s Sin.

  1. If you could leave a message to the world, what would it be?

Wow, what a question! After thinking on this I feel it would be to forgive one another. To forgive is a powerful thing. It gives peace of mind and takes away power from the person or issue that hurt you. You may not always be able to forget but to forgive those who hurt you releases you from their grasp.

  1. What would your perfect day be?

It would involve sunshine (we get a lot of rain in Ireland) and a book, a picnic of pizza, coleslaw and a bottle of white wine in the outdoors either on my own or with family and friends.

10.  Name a book or a film that means a lot to you.

A film would be The Green Mile, I watched this with my daughter twice and both occasions we cried our eyes out. Oh the film, Brokeback Mountain also as I thought it the best love story ever. Regarding books, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden sticks in my mind and to be honest there are too many to state here.

Thank you Jeff for the very interesting questions and giving me the time to speak with you. If any of your friends would like to connect with me, they will find me at the links below.

Mary’s Blog     http://marytbradford-author.blogspot.ie/

Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-T-Bradford-Author/

Twitter       @marytbrad

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Bakers-Dozen-Thirteen-Stories-Everyday/dp/1466403152/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398425179&sr=1-1&keywords=a+bakers+dozen+by+Mary+T+Bradford

Click here to read an interview with me on Mary’s blog.