How did you come up with the idea for this book?
It was during the time of the Celtic tiger that the idea of the novel was hatched. Money was plentiful, capitalism was all devouring and with it, its rampant corruption. There was no opposition to it socialism in the bad books.
There are three main strands running through it. Firstly, it may be read as a poignant love story — Anna is a ballerina with whom the main protagonist, the university student, Guido van Thool, falls in love. But Anna is also an acronym for Anarchists of the New Age, which brings us to the second dimension of the novel as an ideological story positing ideas in the mind of the philosophy student Guido, in the wake of the collapse of Russian communism and the dilution of politics, on what alternatives there are to the all-devouring monolith of corporate capitalism. Anna wants to steer Guido away from this sort of ‘dangerous’ thinking, but his friend, the anarchist Philippe, keeps goading him. Paralleling the lives of the lovers is that of a corrupt judge, Jeremiah Delahyde (the third strand) who literally crashes into the world of Guido and Anna on a fatal New Year’s night.
Who is your favorite character?
Despite my liking for Guido, I have a soft spot for the judge. Some of my readers said that he is so bad and crazy they actually like him. Apart from the anarchism, he tells the novel from the other side, as it were.
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
Not really, except myself, of which they are all myriad parts.
Describe your writing process.
I try to do a couple of hours most mornings. But if I get waylaid by emails and promos, I get frustrated with my day if it wasn’t spent creatively. I have a cottage in the mountains of west Cork with no internet and, when I can get down there, I am able to write.
Who are some authors who have influenced you?
Cervantes, who started all of us off on the novel; Virginia Woolf, who raised the bar to poetic heights; Michael Ondaatje, whose novel The English Patient is one of my all time favourites and which combines poetry and thriller in an absorbing tale.
What made you want to become an author?
My mother reading stories to me as a child and my father buying me my first diary at the age of twelve.
What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
Not to aspire, but to do. Writing is a condition and if you’ve got that condition and are not simply a dilettante you will know that what is needed is hard graft.
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