11 A.W. Timmons

exam16112013hereisnoplace largeA.W. Timmons returned to his native Ireland after several years working as an architect abroad and completed an MA in creative writing from University College Dublin. His first novel, Here in No Place, was a winner at the renowned 2012 Novel Fair at the Irish Writers' Centre. A taciturn man of few but well-chosen words, A.W. Timmons lives under a log in County Wicklow. He is also a member of the infamous Library Bar Group.

1) What is your name? What is your quest?

I'm rarely referred to by my proper name and even less frequently by A. W - never in fact, until recently and, at that, somewhat pejoratively. I was torn between using A.W. or A.L. since most people call me Al when the mood takes them. My quest is for some semblance of sanity. And to write some books. Good books.

2) Okay, tell me about your book.

Ireland, identity, landscape, secrets, gossip, trees, threats, the sea and a carbide lamp.

3) What was the most difficult bit to write?

The difficult bits all blur into one. I remember the few good days as if they are childhood memories. They were inspiring enough to keep me going.

4) What surprised you about writing it?

That I became all of the characters at different times and sometimes all at once - and it wasn't disconcerting. But most of all, that I actually did it.

5) First line:

"In this light, the sky was a sea and the land had no place between them."

6) What's the next project?

The next project will involve more Irishness. Different characters, likely similar themes. Currently doing some research and trying to write my way in to the story and the characters' heads.

7) Your three main characters are trapped in a barn during the zombie apocalypse. What's the outcome?

Heated arguments about who started it. Murt's Dyna transforms into a spaceship and takes everyone -  zombies and all - away to silly question land where they spend eternity waiting.

*Personally I think Murt would get bitten by a zombie, shrug it off and shamble sadly into the sunset watching bits of himself littering the road behind him as he transformed, but that's just me.

8) Your book's been made into a movie. What's playing over the opening credits?

The toughest question! I'd like to say something Irish but there's an inherent danger of tweeness and sentimentality with Irish music. Dylan's 'Tangled up in Blue' seems to catch something of Murt's journey in the lyrics, but it's too American. The opening of the novel is quite introspective so perhaps an instrumental  - 'Albatross' by Fleetwood Mac.

9) When and where is the book available?

If you happen to find a bad bookshop, it won't be in there.

My two cents: A wonderful book. The writing is sharp, vivid, and beautiful, perfectly evoking the time and place - you really feel as if you are walking down that country road with Murt, and the characters are extremely well-drawn, with even the 'villains' presented in a compassionate light. This is a quiet and sad story that is worth taking your time to savour. It's all very Irish, but at the same time universal: I recognised the portrait of small town life immediately. 'They loved stories because they could tell them to someone else, even if they weren't true. It made people feel important, that they mattered because someone was listening to them.' Been there.

 And here's that intospective opening:

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