heartsLiterary Love Festgrail115

...in which writers talk about their current projects by answering strange and senseless questions. If you've got a book out and you'd like to be featured here, give me a shout. (The first two questions are courtesy of Melvin the Bridgekeeper - pictured.) 

18 Liz Nugent

Liz Nugent is an award-winning writer of radio and TV drama and has written short stories for children and 19099368adults. She has spent the last twenty years working in Irish film, theatre, and television. In early 2014 her first novel, Unravelling Oliver, was published to great critical and popular acclaim. But of course all of this pales in comparison to being featured here on Literary Love Fest! 

What is your name?

My full name is Elizabeth Therese Nugent but my family often call me Whizzer, short for Whizz Bang- a nickname I acquired by sliding down the bannisters, falling off and suffering a brain haemorrhage at age 6. They're not big on sympathy.

What is your quest?

My quest is to represent Ireland at the Procrastination Olympics, just not yet. I'm pretty sure I have the National finals in the bag if I can just finish a thing. Answering Q and As like this one are hugely helpful, so thank you ;-)!

My pleasure.

Okay, tell me about your book.

It's about a sinister deeply flawed character and how he came to be incapable of love. It starts with middle-aged Oliver beating his wife into a coma, and his character is gradually revealed by the people who think they know him as well as his own testimony as they go back in time to his school days and the summer of 1973 when he and his girlfriend went to work in a French vineyard. It is about an emotionally damaged man's search for family, belonging and identity. It's also funny in places. Well, I think so.

What was the most difficult bit to write?

The character of Moya. Most of the characters are written from the point of view of men and I had no problem with getting into the head of a man. The only other female narrator is an elderly French woman and I had her voice quite clearly in my head too, but Moya was really hard. I veered dangerously close to caricature in writing a monumentally self obsessed actress with a superiority complex, but I hope I got away with it without crossing the line.

What surprised you about writing it?

I found out that I wasn't very good at structure. Story and characterisation were largely fine but my editor Patricia Deevy really helped to structure the novel to make it a lot more compelling than it was originally. Also, copy editors are underrated Gods.

First line:

"I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her."

What's the next project?

Novel number 2, provisionally called Liars, about an obese boy coming of age in the early 80s. It's about a lot more than that really, but I can't tell you.

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

Barney is persuaded to leave the barn and face the zombies by Oliver in order to create a diversion. Oliver lies to Barney that he and Michael will be able to save Barney. Barney goes out and gets eaten by the zombies. Michael is horrified and too upset to run away with Oliver, so Oliver attracts the attention of the zombies, lures them into the barn where they attack Michael and then Oliver sets fire to the barn and escapes, leaving Michael and the zombies to burn to death. Oliver then finds an abandoned restaurant where he sits down to a hearty meal of fresh bread, cured meat and fine cheeses and washes it down with a crisp Chablis. The End.

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

'Day is Done' by Nick Drake. I think it is about having to accept what you have done and not being able to change it.

When and where is the book available?

Online in the usual outlets and in only the best bookshops, particularly the cool independent ones. Help your bookshop to become cool by asking them to order it for you.

My two centsUnravelling Oliver is the kind of book that gets its hooks into you and doesn't let go until you've turned the final page. I found it dark, twisted, compelling...and also a lot of fun. There's the satisfaction of seeing the mystery at the heart of the main character unfold one jigsaw piece at a time as the supporting players fill in the blanks, as well as an overall sense of irony and sly humour. Oliver is a monster, but he's a witty and entertaining monster with a stunning secret, and this complex and suspenseful novel is a delight.

And here's Nick Drake with the opening credits. I wish I'd heard this before I started reading. What a perfect choice!

17 Hazel Gaynor

Hazel Gaynor is an author, freelancer, and winner of the Cecil Day Lewis Award for 41DeCAAexUL. SX342 Emerging Writers (2012). She is also a self-publishing superhero who saw her book taken on by Harper Collins, where it subsequently marched right into the New York Times bestseller list and seems set to take on the entire universe. Originally from North Yorkshire, Hazel lives in Ireland with her husband and two children. She is fond of gin and occasionally enjoys shouting.

 

16 Nuala Ni Chonchuir

Nuala Ni Chonchuir is a poet, novelist, short story writer and blogger who lives in East CLOSET COVER JPEG largeGalway with her husband and three children. Besides the general accomplishment of being awesome, she runs the well-known blog Women Rule Writer, has published four collections of poetry, including The Juno Charm (2011), five collections of short stories, with Mother America (2012) as her most recent, and two novels: You (2010) and The Closet of Savage Mementos, which hit the shelves last month. Here she is to discuss it now!

 

15 Daniel Seery

Daniel Seery is a novelist and playwright from Dublin whose work has appeared in several local and 9781909718234-2national publications. His play The One We Left Behind enjoyed its first run in May 2012 and his first novel, A Model Partner, was published by Liberties Press in Dublin in March 2014. Daniel Seery was a winner of the now-legendary Novel Fair 2012 at the Irish Writers' Centre and is also a member of the infamous Library Bar Group. He has one superpower, but refuses to tell anyone what it is. 

 

14 Jennifer Ridyard

Jennifer Ridyard was born in England but grew up in South Africa,conquest 1 where she worked for many years as a journalist. In September 2013, Conquest, the first of a series of Young Adult science fiction novels she is
writing with John Connolly, was published by Headline. It has since picked up stellar reviews and loads of love from readers everywhere.  

 

13 Kit Brennan

Kit Brennan is a nationally produced and award-winning Canadian playwright, born in Vancouver and based in Quebecwhip smart 2 and Ontario, whose plays include Spring Planting, Hunger Striking, and Tiger's Heart, winner of the Canadian National Playwriting Competition. She now teaches playwriting and storytelling at Concordia University in Montreal. In early 2013 Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards was published, Kit's first novel and the first in the Whip Smart series - historical adventure and romance based on the true life and times of Lola Montez (or Eliza Gilbert), an Irish actress who reinvented herself as a Spanish dancer and went on to adventures and romantic entanglements with the leading lights of the day, including at least one head of state. The second in the series, Whip Smart: Lola Montez and the Poisoned Nom de Plume has just been released. Here Kit discusses both books.

 

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