Saturday, 21 November 2015

Talking Of Books Reviews A Decent Bomber

Lopez speaking! Vincent Lopez at radio microph...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In a little under half an hour, Dubai Eye Radio's 'Talking of Books' program will review A Decent Bomber. Half an hour after that, they'll be interviewing me about the book.

I can't pretend I'm not a little nervous. For a start, this isn't really a great time to be talking about terrorism in your novel. But beyond that, it's a very public grilling for the book. Will they love it? Hate it? Be 'meh'?

I can't get a thing done. I'm just marking time. *sigh*

Time. Ulp. Listening in. Here we go. Oh golly, they liked it...

A book of real quality. Sensitively drawn characters. A book of real style and you find yourself experiencing, smelling Ireland. This is tangibly plausible. I love the complexity of the character of Pat. What I liked particularly about the book was that the plot never stopped to explain characters, the dialogue and plot carry their development. The dialogue is very natural, he has a very fine ear, McNabb. It was real and honest, the dialogue was true to the characters. They're frightening, the characters. It's a white-knuckle ride and a real page-turner.

This isn't a light book. It's a line-up of misery and pain. There's no plot humour, but the dialogue has lovely touches of gentle irony, very Irish humour. This is an extremely good book, more than a thriller, you could draw parallels with Le Carré.

Clearly a book to buy, people... :)

The interview was fun. They didn't like Boyle and Mary's shenanigans and I explained I wasn't so happy myself, two of my characters just ran away and did stuff they weren't supposed to.

Did I pick the name Pat O'Carolan for a reason? As it happens, yes, the troubador was a knowing reference and Pat was Sarah's Uncle Pat, whose wee farm up in Cummermore started the whole scheme going. Orla wasn't supposed to have the romantic involvements she ended up with, either.

How come conventional publishing hadn't picked me up? Dunno, these days don't really care that much either. I explained how Shemlan, my last book, had been about a man dying of cancer whose life is revealed to have been utterly pointless to him, about how I'm cruel to my characters. And about how that - or a book about an ex-IRA man - might not gel with what a risk-averse publisher's idea of a self-marketing book was.

Why thrillers, there are elements of literary fiction in here? That was nice of them to say, but I like to think I write a smart thriller. thrillers are fun, although Birdkill - my next book - is a little more complicated on a psychological level and perhaps a little more screwed up generally.

I told about how my developmental editor/reader for Beirut had told me to put more 'gunplay' into the book and how I regret having taken that advice, now preferring to rebel rather than produce formulaic books that are 'on genre'. They liked the interplay between Driscoll and MacNamara, the politicians in A Decent Bomber who are trying to pretend this stuff isn't happening. I confessed I had enjoyed playing with the idea that they are conflicting with the PSNI where before they had fought the RUC, but this time they were denying themselves rather than last time when they had been asserting themselves.

It's amazing how quickly half an hour can pass when you're talking about your books, but pass it did. I'll post the podcast when it comes around. So far I've sold a tad over sixty books in all. We're hardly troubling the NYT list here, people...

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