The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing
The writer and critic,Emma Lee, kindly tagged me on her blog – in this circulating library of responses. Being properly superstitious, via an Irish mother, I can’t discuss the next project, so this is about the latest novel – A Small Inheritance

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The spur was discovering 1920s yellowing copies of The Irish Times under the carpet in a house in Ireland. They were so interesting that I kept them and they cried out to be used. Then, the deeds of the house added more and somehow the lot marinated and became its own story, with me just a midwife helping it into the light.

What genre is the book?

Plain wholemeal literary fiction.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a film?

Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith in Downton Abbey) as Kitty and Dominic West (The Hour, The Wire) as Josh. They would both have to dye their hair, Laura red, and Dominic black. Of course, the person I’d prefer as Josh would be Jose Mourhino, the world’s best-looking man, but unfortunately the football coach for Real Madrid. Josh is dark, brooding, compressed electricity – but Dominic West could easily manage it.
Then, Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill) as Simon, playing almost the same part, as the zany outsider.
Any average Irish person from the street could play the other parts easily.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Two people, strangers, inherit a rundown property in Ireland and have to make a success of it.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

There’s notes going back to 2004, but it was written in fits and starts. I’m not a thousand-words-a–day writer. A couple of days full-pelt and stop, more like.Sometimes up to two o’clock in the morning.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

A sense of responsibility to the previous owners of the house and the traces they had left, plus enticing details in the newspapers. There was even an old piano left in the front room, complete with cigarette burns.(I gave it to the local infant school/bunscoil.)

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Complications of countryside criminals, religion, immigration, heritage, EU money, all crashing together.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It’s out there already in the world on all the Amazons as a print version (CreateSpace) and on Kindle and Smashwords as an ebook.
I’d still be waiting for an answer if I followed the agent/editor/publisher route. No answers about the Mss and synopses sent out in January last year. One rejection. No wonder more of us are going off to self-publish, even if the literary establishment’s gatekeepers looks down on such books. There’s a great need for creditable reviewers, though, to take up this challenge. That is where the next flurry of excitement will be.

The next writers interviewed here will be:
Sarah Hilary,
Orfhlaith Foyle
and Sylvia Petter

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