Can you tell me about your new book?
It’s my first novel outside the crime genre, what we call in the trade a ‘dad and a lad’ – it focuses on the often difficult father/son relationship. Joey has left Ireland for Australia in the 60s, by the 70s he has a son and a wife suffering from deep depression. When Shauna ups sticks with Marti one day, Joey is bereft. He’s forced to search for them, a journey which takes him all the way back to Ireland and a confrontation with the ghosts he’d been hoping to avoid, half a world away.
What sparked the original idea?
It’s been billed as semi-autobiographical, and to a certain extent a lot of Marti’s discoveries were mine after being born in Australia and abruptly dropping down in Ireland as an eight-year-old.
What research, if any, was needed to write it?
There wasn’t much research, as such, it wasn’t that kind of book but there was a lot of backtracking on the past and re-examining what I remembered Australia and Ireland to be like and how my family spoke about both places. I suppose you could say I’ve been researching this book since I was a nipper!
Can you share about the writing process – did you plan in advance or write it by the seat of your pants?
I wrote it very much by the seat of my pants. I had a lot of incidents I wanted to get down on the page and that’s what I did. I just wrote and wrote. Then went back and edited. I tend not to write my crime fiction this way – the exact opposite, in fact – but this novel was a different creature. I ended up doing several re-writes and discarding thousands of words.
Could you describe two or three of the characters from the book and explain how you created them?
Joey Driscol is an Irishman who has abandoned all his dreams and hopes to concentrate on providing for his family; he’s a little bit blinkered in this task and as a result misses a lot of unintended consequences. Marti is his son, an eight-year-old Aussie, who is thrown into a very God-ridden Ireland of the seventies and feels a bit like a fish out of water. They both want the same thing though, the family to be back together and happy; it’s how they go about it that’s the problem.
Is there a particular message in the book you’d like readers to understand?
I don’t like ramming messages down readers’ throats, so the answer would be no, I don’t think assimilating a message is a priority in enjoying a book.
Where can people buy the book?
Where can you be found online?
- Tony Black’s ‘Writing Life’ interview can be read here.