I grew up in a working-class suburb in Dublin and my Dublin roots and accent have stayed with me, despite living in the neighbouring county of Kildare for over 20 years now. My new home is the very beautiful university town of Maynooth where I live with my darling wife Joanna, her mother and our 3 beloved dogs.
My 3 children are all grown and flown and scattered about this lovely little island of mine and they are all lovely souls, despite my best efforts to corrupt them. I left school at 18 and went straight to work, eventually chasing multiple degrees through the night while I worked in the daytime as my family grew. I have always worked in transport-related businesses and it has kept me travelling constantly. These days I work for one of the world’s top 5 brands, which keeps me very busy.
In my 20’s I spent a year living and working in Australia before returning to Ireland and starting my family. I guess you could say I have had 2 lives as I am now married for the second time in my life to a beautiful woman I met way back in the last century. I love to travel and have been lucky enough to see so much of the world over the years.
Writing has been part of my life since I was a boy. At the age of seven, I joined a library back in the day when we didn’t have one in our poverty-stricken neighbourhood. I had to take a bus all by my lonesome to get to the library. It was the beginning of my love affair with books. I read a book a day from the age of seven until I was a teenager when sport and girls interfered with my free time.
As a teenager, I was sport mad and ultra-competitive. I say as a teenager but I am still the same today. In my first job, I would get up at 6am, cycle 20 miles to work, work until 7pm, cycle home again, wolf down my dinner and go training or at least do a 7 mile run afterwards. Fit as a butcher’s dog I was, but it did have its downside in terms of my creaky body at this age. These days it is a daily walk with my 3 dogs that keeps me fit. It’s like flying a kite on a windy day.
I wrote my first book many years ago, one I am currently re-writing with a view to publishing it next year. Life got in the way of my writing and it generally sat on the back burner. It wasn’t until 2015 that I actually physically published my first book, Darkly Wood and since then I have published 4 more and I have 3 currently at different stages of production, which is always the way I do things.
I write in my study, which is very cosy, usually with my most loyal canine companion by my side. I write on my laptop, starting every story with the same solid belief that I know where I am going, only to be waylaid by my characters. The first draft is always the best fun. I write straight through start to finish, a process that takes as long as it takes depending on time available. Unfortunately, a dice with death a few years back had knock-on effects on my ability to dedicate as much time as I wanted to writing. Added to that, my workload in the corporate sense is quite imposing, so I have small windows left to write these days, all of which I take and I never have writer’s block.
Once I finish the first draft, I let it lie for a bit, so I can come back with fresh eyes. As I write one first draft, I am likely also editing or re-writing 2 other stories. I switch between tasks from day to day as I feel the mood take me. Re-drafting can mean as much as 5 re-writes. I may literally decide I have had a better idea halfway through a third edit and the story has to be pretty much re-written. It is not a problem for me though, just part of the process and I don’t get frustrated by my odd machinations.
I write daily whether it is a small piece, a blog or an edit, I don’t care if it is ten minutes or an hour, I just insist on the discipline of opening up the laptop and writing. I do curtail my stint to an hour for 2 reasons. One, is my health, as I say I am always overstretched and I have learned that I need to take it easy sometimes and the other is a trick to keep me interested. By stopping in full flow, I am always keen to return to the story, thus keeping my interest in whatever, I am writing.
Life hasn’t always been easy but I have always made the most of every opportunity and I live a happy, comfortable life. I have been fortunate with the opportunities that were presented to me. Some might call it luck, but I believe hard work is what turned those opportunities into reality and I guess as long as I can get a leg out of bed in the morning, I’ll be doing something productive to keep my busy head quiet. One thing for sure is, as long as I can, I will keep writing because storytelling is in my heart.