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?
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 is an Irish student, blogger and writer. He writes and listens to a lot of music. He is a secondary school student in Limerick.
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.
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.
Excellent and funny too Jillian, well done, found it very interesting….Michael J. Whelan
Thank you Michael – I’m first in the queue to buy your novel and poetry. I majored in history from Trinity but I did my final paper on the War Poets of WW1 – but I picked an relatively unknown poet, private Issac Rosenberg. So we have much in common. I’ll be your number one fan!
Dear Wolfie – loved it – ‘Freedom for Tooting’!! xx
You’re so very kind, Jillian – and it truly is amazing the places you make such fantastic friends – but the steps of The Westin Hotel sounds quite posh! Love your post and what a gorgeous photo of you – Michael Fassbender isn’t too bad either :o) Looking forward to the launches
I may have to wear a masque as the ‘sex’ launch! lol but hopefully Michael will do the luanch…. 🙂