What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope they learn something about the fallibility that resides within us all. Perfection is an impossible standard to strive for. We all make mistakes. But when we are the ones suffering the consequence of another’s actions, it can require a herculean effort to forgive. In short, the main message of this book is quite simple—what we spend in the act of forgiveness, we gain two-fold in return.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
There is a scene in the book which takes place in Ballymaughan village. It involves a race around a square where contestants from various parishes must fight in stages. The inspiration for that scene comes from a little-known tradition in my home village of Blarney. Of course, my version is fictionalized and ridiculously violent, but if you are ever in the Castle Hotel Bar (known locally as Johnny’s) late at night, be careful if someone asks you to race!
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
I have always been drawn to books with unique and strong voices, especially those with a black, sardonic wit. My earliest influences were many, but I have a particular fondness for J.D. Salinger, Mark Twain, Joseph Heller and Frank O’Connor. If a book has a riveting narrator, I develop an almost casual indifference to the plot. It reminds me of the old Seanchaí tradition of Ireland, where the music and lilt of the storyteller would cast a spell over the audience. In an oral setting, people are often attracted more to the personality of those characters than the story they are telling. I experience that very same feeling when I read novels or short stories. If I hear magic in the voice, then I am hooked to the end.