The Booktopia Book Guru asks
Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I was born and raised in the small town of Wexford in South East Ireland in 1965. Boringly enough I was also schooled there and schooled others there as a teacher, with a brief diversion to Dublin to get the qualifications to come home. I still live in Wexford if you hadn’t guessed.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
At age twelve I wanted to be a primary teacher like my dad because it seemed fun and I had gotten use to long Summer holidays. At eighteen I wanted to be a writer/illustrator of my own comic books because that seemed the coolest possible job on the planet and by thirty I had realised that I couldn’t actually draw very well and so resolved to be a straight writer which wasn’t quite as cool but was still a way to get into print.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
At eighteen I thought that Brian May was a better guitarist than the Edge, now I realise that the two cannot really be compared.
4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?
I was hugely affected by Jim Fitzpatrick’s series of Celtic paintings. They led to a resurgence in the interest in mythology that I’d had as a boy and maintained it until I started to write my own fairy tales in Artemis Fowl.
The music of Kate Bush also had that ethereal quality that kept my interest alive in an area I might have easily deserted. Kate wasn’t so popular among heavy metal teens in Wexford in the early eighties so I kept that interest to myself.
I also loved the Sherlock Holmes tales by Arthur Conan Doyle which sparked an interest in the alternative hero type; a cerebral character. I could never identify with the action hero, but here was someone using his mind.
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
My first love was cartoons and for many years I tried to develop sufficient drawing skills to become a comic book artist but I had to admit defeat at about age twenty. Then I determined to become a playwright and did a bit of that for ten years with varying degrees of success, ie not much. Finally, aged 30, I decided to give novels a go and luckily that worked out for me or I would be casting about still for an artistic outlet.
My latest novel, Plugged, is a modern noir story for adults only. It is set in the fictitious town of Cloisters, New Jersey and tells the story of Irish ex-army seargent Daniel McEvoy who is supplementing his army pension with doorman work at a local casino. Dan is haf-way through a series of hair transplant sessions (hence Plugged) when his surgeon is kidnapped and Dan is forced to track him down or else wear a hat for the rest of his life. It is a thriller with blackly comic twists.
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
I really hope people enjoy this book. I hope they get three of four hours away from their troubles and have a few good laughs. If I can achieve that, I will be most satisfied.
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
I love Ken Bruen the Galway thriller writer for how he has brought literature and noir together. Not an easy feat. I never miss a book of Ken’s.
I would like to sell enough copies of Plugged to be asked to write another one. I would love to someday write a supernatural love story but I don’t think the publishers are ready for that one yet and I would like to write a book as brilliant as Treasure Island before I hang up my keyboard.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Stop telling people about your idea and lock yourself in a room. Stay in the room until the work is done with only broadband and takeaway food for comfort. Writing is about inspiration but there is also a lot of work involved. Not as much work as digging a hole obviously but we like to make it sound tough.
Eoin, thank you for playing.
Filed under: Author Interview, Crime/Thriller, Fiction, Young Adult Tagged: | Artemis Fowl, Arthur Conan Doyle, Eoin Colfer, Kate Bush, Ken Bruen, Peter Carey, Plugged, Sherlock Holmes, Ten Terrifying Questions, The True History of the Kelly Gang, Treasure Island