The Next Big Thing

On Wednesday 2 January my ‘Twitter/Crime/Modest’ friend Susan Condon tagged me in an online blogging initiative called The Next Big Thing which is a series of questions about writers’ next projects. The idea is to draw attention to writers and their blogs and to lead readers to writers they might not have come across before.

I have given Susan three labels as one is not enough. We first met as strangers in 2011 on the steps of the Westin having recorded a Christmas charity single that went into the Irish charts at number eight. Four of us started a conversation literally as we were leaving and have been in frequent contact ever since. Twitter is great for making new friends in real life.

Crime is of course Susan’s thing. So much so, her husband sometimes lies awake nights wondering if he is safe.  Recently I had a very funny conversation with Susan and another friend and crime writer Lousie Philips at Maria Duffy’s book launch. The two girls regaled me with stories of how they searched for gory details online on how to kill someone, what happens when you stick knives in funny places and then about bodies decomposing. Their children were less than pleased their kind mothers were engaging in such research and even worse, writing about it. So armed, I returned home to my two teenagers and said wasn’t it better that I was writing about sex and not horrible serial killers and the like. Both my teenager children said they would categorically prefer if I wrote about twelve year olds being killed! Hmmm.

Finally, Susan is one of the most modest people I know. She was won loads of awards and prizes and you’d have to stick knives into funny places before she would tell you. I am looking forward to her book very much. The little snippets sound thrilling. She is also a great supporter and friend and compassionate woman. Even if she writes about murder most foul!

 

My Next Big Thing:

Can I be greedy and say I am working on two next big things? Can I? Can I? They are both so different that it is like inhabiting two very different worlds. The first is a non-fiction book on the impact a severely disabled child has on a family; the way the lives of the parents and siblings are affected. It is a heart breaking book and the family were very honest with me. It is very painful and does not have a happy ending.

The second is of course a sex book. Absolutely salacious. I may have to publish under a pseudonym. However, I believe my book has a lot to say about a woman dating in her 40s post-divorce. Unlike the very obvious 50Shades, my sex book really looks at dating issues and then of course has lots of sex!

What is the working title of your book?

The non-fiction book is tentatively called Waiting for the Gift – in direct contrast to the notion that having a severely disabled child is blessing. Love is there but the burden is overpowering. My sex book has the working title of … My Sex book, lol.

Where did the idea come from for the book?  

The non-fiction book happened as I was approached by the family who wanted to share their experiences, good and bad, to help people facing the same issues and also to open the eyes of people, such as myself, who literally had no idea. My sex book was born from necessity. I was broke and decided that my poverty must be overcome. Sex sells!

What genre does your book fall under?  

Gift – the human condition with heart breaking aspects and some self-help and growth aspects. I guess it might also be considered a biography of a family in stress.

Sex – mainstream women’s commercial literature with plenty of good things to say about the human condition. Aha – there are some similarities between my two books aside from a common author

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?      IFTAs2012 019

Michael Fassbender can play the brother in the first book and the lover in the second. In fact, he can play all the male parts! Should Mr Fassbender agree to play the main lead in my Sex book, I think it only fair I should act opposite him.

 

 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  

Gift – uncovering the myths surrouding disability and the impact on the family

Sex – how to live, survive and have fun post-Divorce

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

Gift took the guts of a year as I interviewed and wrote. Sex took six weeks for the first draft – I wrote like a woman possessed

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?   

I don’t believe there is a comparable book with Gift, not to my knowledge anyway.

Sex – of course 50shades but with a cold dose of reality and a very likeable 40 year old main protagonist

Who or what inspired you to write this book?   

I was invited to interview and recount Gift. I found it a real privilege to do so and found it very, very sad.

Sex was inspired by life but driven by poverty!

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

Some friends have been kind enough to read early proofs of both my books. With Gift a friend who works with siblings affected by disability in families said she found it very powerful and true. It is a story often forgotten and rarely told.

With the Sex book, the general reaction is for women to book their husbands into hotels and for men to take cold showers. I say no more….

When and how will it be published? 

Both are with my agent. I was very happy to give him Gift and really look forward to hearing back. I was mortified to give him Sex – poor man, what did he do to deserve to have to read that!

Just before I hand over to my tag team I wanted to add…

My life this century has been a little bit interesting. I write a blog which reflects that and also my latent activism. Sadly I have been severely impacted by divorce and debt and struggle to survive financially with my two great kids. I believe I have been given a voice and should use it. I have a huge number of people who support me but even more importantly are those people that I don’t know but who are in the same pickle as myself. One might fall, but together we can create change.

Or as citizen Smith once said …come the revolution! Lol

My other books are available on Amazon or Lulu

And now over to my diverse and interesting fellow writers – watch their posts on Wednesday January 16…

Tommy Collison

Tommy is an Irish student, blogger and writer. He writes and listens to a lot of music. He is a secondary school student in Limerick.

Links

https://twitter.com/tommycollison

www.tommycollison.net

 

Mary Bradford

Mary Bradford is a published writer of short stories in magazines, newspapers and anthologies both in Ireland and the USA. She had completed her first novel ‘A Thorn in my Side’. Her first short story collection, ‘A Baker’s dozen’ is now on sale on Amazon, Createspace and Smashwords in paperback, Kindle and ebook format.

Links

https://twitter.com/marytbrad

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

 

Patricia (Trish) Nugent

Trish lives in Terenure, Dublin, and is a writer of poetry,memoir and short stories.

A part time actress, Trish has appeared in Fair City, Love Hate and several Movies and TV commercials.  She is a full time wife and mother of three sons and one daughter. She is a member of Rua Red writers group and An Cosan Drama group in Rua Red.

In 2011 Trish represented ‘Platform One’ for social Inclusion week by performing her own monologue ‘The Bisto Tin’ onstage at the Civic Theatre.  Presently Trish is compiling a poetry and memoir collection.

 

Links:

https://twitter.com/Trish_Nugent

trishnugentwriter.wordpress.com

 

 

Meeting Michael Fassbender

I am a woman: do not fold, spindle or mutilate.

I am a woman. I am in my forties. I have two teenage children. I am divorced. I like sex. There, I’ve said it.

Why am I telling you this, dear reader? Well, I posted what I believed to be an amusing, tongue in cheek report of what it was like to meet Michael Fassbender. To give you context, you can click here, or just to say that given the furore about his penis in Shame I found myself literally without words when I met him. All I could think was ‘don’t mention the penis, don’t mention the penis.’ I felt as though I was stuck in that funny Faulty Towers episode when German tourists stay in the eponymously named hotel. Basil keeps on telling Polly ‘Don’t mention the war.’ Of course, Basil does it himself numerous times and ends up doing the goosestep ala The Monty Python school of funny walks. So as I looked at Mr Fassbender all I could think of was his penis. I didn’t mention it at the time, in fact I said very little to him at all. My quirky article went on to talk about how men apparently objectify women in a similar manner and I applauded them for managing to speak coherently at all. Simples.

However, it was the reaction to my piece that struck me as very strange. Many of the comments were quite incensed as if I had offended the readers personally. I was repeatedly referred to as a middle aged woman. This label was used not a general reference but in an accusatory fashion. I am also about the same age as Brad Pitt and a bit younger than George Clooney, but I don’t recall them being labelled as middle aged, not yet anyway. The fact that I was mother to teenage children was also held against me, how could I possibly think about a man’s appendage when I was a mammy? Actually, the presence of such an appendage in my marriage was the very cause of my becoming pregnant and having children. So why, eighteen years on, would I have to eschew all thoughts of the male member, or heaven forbid, actually dare to talk about it.

Recently I watched It’s complicated starring Meryl Streep and Alex Baldwin. The plot revolves around them as a divorced couple having an affair with some pretty steamy sex. My two teenage children both laughed and said they found it funny to see ‘old’ people having sex, but they are teenagers. To them anyone having sex is embarrassing, especially anyone over the age of thirty. However, it is an irrefutable fact that people continue having sex well into their latter years. I suspect, and this is only my opinion, they do so because they enjoy it. And another fact is that roughly half of those older people in Ireland having sex and enjoying it, are women.

So, in conclusion, I’m not quite sure how come I managed to upset so many people but I would like to reiterate that middle aged women, like their middle aged male counterparts, like sex too.

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting Michael Fassbender

(the original article ran in the Good Men Project and The Journal and is reproduced below)

Michael Fassbender is the latest overnight success in the Film business. From his authentic and critically acclaimed role as hunger striker Bobby Sands in Hunger in 2008, he has notched up a series of high profile roles in equally high profile films, making him one of the most bankable actors today. From Jane Eyre to Inglorious Bastards his screen presence has grown in stature, while his role in Shame, directed by his old Hunger partner, Steve McQueen, has earned him credits in a slightly different direction. At the Golden Globes ceremony this year George Clooney thanked Michael for taking over his responsibility for full front nudity in film, and went on to say he believed Mr Fassbender could play golf with hands behind his back. All jokes and tributes to Mr Fassbender’s best support which continue around the globe.

At the Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTAs) inDublinrecently I met with Michael Fassbender and I was rendered speechless.

Ah, the sounds of silence. There have been a few. I remember a tutorial on the origins of the Spanish Civil War. I had prepared and researched the topic but had not managed to write a concluding paper. As my patient, and also handsome professor (maybe there is a trend) gently prompted me for the main cities in Spain all I could think of the party fuelled and package filled Spanish resorts of Magaluf and Torresmolinos.  None of which may have existed even as hamlets in the ‘30s. My professor took pity on me and took the tutorial.

I remember too the start of my finals in university. The opening question on my first English paper was utterly incomprehensible. My brain emptied of all words and I starred goldfish-like at the paper for a full five minutes until secondary resources took over and sense and words and knowledge came tumbling into my brain, like a returning wave and washed over me and my exam rictus.

Or by the campfire in Montana while on a cattle drive and resting one evening. I was listening to an erudite and learned old cowboy. He had survived car crashes, plane crashes, helicopter crashes, even horse wrecks. I listened to his stories and my mind just stopped. It was as though he had opened my head like a boiled egg and poured his wondrous stories straight in: soothing and calming and I had no need for words.

Or when on a final equestrian trek in South Africa, our group had to half swim on horseback in deep water before scrambling onto partially flooded banks and canter along the game fence. All the while, the heavy hippos called loudly to our left, splashing solidly in water only feet away. My mouth stopped then too but it could have been a combination of fear, the noise of the hippos and water crashing over us as we cantered. I may have laughed, crazy as a loon, as I held on for dear life but no words formed in my sheer joyful terror.

Or when scuba diving in Fiji on my honeymoon. We sat on the edge of a tiny motor boat, my new husband and I, with two silent Fijians. At the signal, for words were not used, we put in our mouth pieces and fell backwards into the water. Splash and deeper watery sounds rushed past my ears as we submerged into the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean. I could not speak of course but dared not even think. In the lost and semi dark light we trailed our guide down to the reef. Bubbles of air floating upwards in place of words. At 60 feet down the sea was too heavy for me. Making the ‘up signal’ and far from all right, I excused myself and returned to the boat. Spluttering and coughing as I scrambled on board I tried to find words to describe how I felt and failed.

Ah, meeting Mr Fassbender. At the crowded smoking area in the cold outside the function room where the glamorous gathered to smoke, I found myself at his elbow. He was happily chatting with a circle of people, some of whom were at my table. I paused, I listened and when no suitable break in conversation could be found, I tugged instead his sleeve like a child.

He turned and smiled at me and I said that I just wanted to say hello. He smiled some more and so did I, but my mind was empty of all words, adjectives, capitals, nouns, tenses, commas and punctuation in general.

Instead I had this overwhelming image of his phallus. It was the metaphorical size of the elephant in the room, pun intended. As words failed me, the image grew and grew in importance and stature. It was palpable between us as my brain grew this impediment to speech. Finally he asked my name and I stammered it but then excused myself blushing.

So this is my question. Men by many accounts are prone to see women, especially attractive women, by the sum of their body parts. I have read repeatedly and have been told ad nauseum, men see not the face but the rack, not the smile but the legs. They have an advanced peripheral visual acuity which allows them to view the body parts without necessarily allowing the eyes to drift too obviously.

With such sensitivity, how on earth do men make sensible conversation when presented with a beautiful woman? Or have I answered my own question as to the generators of tongue-tied would-be suitors in this world.

Girding my metaphorical loins to counter Mr Fassbender’s imagined ones, I returned to the scene of my speechlessness and requested a photograph. He kindly obliged. I was still incapable of coherent, elegant or intelligent conversation so I finished off by asking Mr Fassbender would he launch my book. He agreed before legging it into the opposite direction at speed. He must has known the silent ones are the most deadly and took his rapid leave before my motor skills returned and I could summon up new and more fanciful requests. A dance, a date, or marriage perhaps?

So having being in the place of awe where my entire being had been focused on unmentioned phallus of Mr Fassbender, I must reluctantly applaud you men. Genetically pre disposed to dissecting women into genital titillation I wonder that you can function at all in the presence of a beautiful woman.

If I had stayed any longer I fear that old Beverly Brothers’ line would have made an appearance. ‘If I said you have a beautiful body, Mr Fassbender, would you hold it against me?’

However, having since regaining my capacity for words (more than a 1000 in this musing) I now just wait for Mr Fassbender’s availability to launch my novel, aptly entitled ‘Running out of Road’

Jillian Godsil