Adoption: a Recurring Theme

I began writing my first novel in the summer of 2010. I had been living in Ireland for a little under 4 years and had been reading about the history of migration of Irish people, whether the consequence of famine, punishment by ‘transportation’ to the antipodes, or simply the search for a better life. One of several books that I read dealing with the subject was a slim volume telling the true story of a young man who, at the age of 19 in 1895, traveled from his family home in the Irish Midlands to North America. After a spell … Continue reading Adoption: a Recurring Theme

Transgression: The Sequel.

I am not expecting to have the sequel to Transgression ready for publication before the summer of 2016. Those who have read Transgression will, I am sure, be pleased to know that a sequel is underway. Here is a preview of the first page. If you’ve not read Transgression yet, then maybe this will arouse your curiosity. The narrator is the wife of Douglas, the Member of the British Parliament whose transgressions are the subject of the first book. I’d just poured myself a glass of my favourite red when my phone whistled, signalling the arrival of a text. I … Continue reading Transgression: The Sequel.

Exploring Characters

Every author needs to get to know his or her characters well, discovering things about their background that may not be revealed directly in the narrative he or she is creating. The piece that follows is an early exploration of the relationship between the principle protagonist of my novel Transgression and his gay partner. It is written in first person and the partner’s point of view. Those of my followers who have read the book will know that I later changed this character’s surname. And the couple’s pet, in the book, is a cat, not the dog featured here. I … Continue reading Exploring Characters

Not Asking for It

In my previous post I talked a lot about Roger, the principle protagonist in my latest novel, Transgression. It is time now to tell you a little about some of the other characters in the book. Douglas is a voyeur. A characteristic I am ashamed to say he shares with me. Unlike me, he has the arrogance to believe that he is entitled to go beyond ogling and make unwelcome advances towards any woman to whom he is attracted. He has no compunction about using his power as a Member of the British Parliament to take advantage of the many … Continue reading Not Asking for It

Secrets of Success

In March 2013 I attended a writing workshop with the Irish author John McKenna. John teaches creative writing on the Maynooth campus of the National University of Ireland. For the workshop with my local writers’ group he led us through a series of steps towards creating a story. First, describe a place, perhaps where some significant event in your life happened. Next, imagine a character, think about his/her strengths and weaknesses. Now put the character in the place. What might happen? Who might they meet? Compose a dialogue between them. The character I created during this process was a journalist … Continue reading Secrets of Success

Don’t be Scared of Print

If you are someone who feels daunted by what you see as the difficulty of uploading a book to Amazon’s CreateSpace for print publication, don’t be. I’ve just done it for the second time and it was a lot easier than the first. Here’s why. The first time was back in the summer of 2014 and I am certain that some of the features that made it easier this time around were not present then. Like the step where, having uploaded your interior text you wait for 24 hours to receive an e-mail with a link to the converted text … Continue reading Don’t be Scared of Print

Dilemma Resolved: Self-publish and be damned

There are many small publishing companies offering to assist new authors to bring their work to public notice. A lot of them are run by people who have a genuine desire to promote the work of poets and writers working in niche genres. I am thinking, for example, of the Dublin based Dedalus Press run by Laois native and poet Pat Boran. I thought I might be on to something similar when I read this mission statement on the website of a UK based independent: “We are keen to open up the world of publishing at a time when many … Continue reading Dilemma Resolved: Self-publish and be damned

Sex in the 1950s

  I think I was in my late twenties when I first became aware of the possibility of oral sex. Does that make me unusual? On the contrary, I believe I am typical of my generation. The circumstance of my initiation into the world of oral-genital contact was the showing of a black and white porn film in a neighbour’s living room, sometime in 1969 or ’70. The wives were at a Tupperware party, or something of the kind. My immediate reaction was one of disgust. I could not believe that ordinary folk would behave like that. It seemed perverted, … Continue reading Sex in the 1950s

Paedophiles: blame my generation

I used to be broadly opposed to Mary Whitehouse and her kind for the way they railed against the depiction of anything to do with sexual behaviour on the stage, on TV or movie screens, or in music and literature. I wished they would turn their attention to violence. Now I am less certain. I still hate to see violence depicted in the arts unless in such a way as to show the futility of it. In my view far too many television series, movies and computer games glorify violent behaviour of the most extreme kind. Why are they not … Continue reading Paedophiles: blame my generation