After wrestling my novel back from a publisher who, strangely, did absolutely nothing with my novel for nearly a year, I’ve decided to self-publish. The publisher in question wasn’t of the Vanity or Hybrid variety, just inactive..?
Anyway, I’m back in control and have no interest in submitting to anymore agents / publishers. My second novel in underway, too. Six chapters in and I hope to publish those first six here once I tidy them up a bit – chapter one is already available.
All my experiences, thoughts, musings, knowledge, involvement, experiences of the Northern Ireland Troubles are captured in my writings. The only way I found I could do this was by tweaking history in the context of the primary, western, religion as well as adding an additional county to Ulster. Upon reflection, this changes very little. The point I was really making was: call God by a different name and ourselves by different terms, but we still find reasons to murder one another. This also provided me with the opportunity to explore the person behind the terrorist, their motivation, beliefs, weaknesses. I deliberately avoid the ‘grizzled police inspector battling his demons and the system’, and the ‘rogue’ or ‘redeemed’ terrorist / soldier / police officer.
My novel is unique, but immediately familiar to those aware of the Troubles, and not just to that of Northern Ireland, but throughout the world.
Published by Writer of fiction about Irish terrorism and the lives it damages.
This trilogy of novels will be set during the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’ I always wanted to read. Having changed an aspect of ancient history (Constantine chose Mithras over Christ in 312 CE) this ‘butterfly effect’ freed me of the fetters of recent history and able to craft a counter-factual novel. A tale of working-class lives caught up in the deadly maelstrom of sectarian violence. While the focus is on characterisation, ‘The Bitter End of Dreams’ explores internecine violence, as well as the beliefs and fears which drive ordinary people to murder. Young lives seduced into joining paramilitary organisations and committing terrible acts of violence. Elements such as protection rackets, and the shadow of political and religious leverage also loom within the story. While the primary religion, and some names, is different, the hatred and violence remains very real and familiar.
To date, most novels on the ‘Troubles’ have been post-conflict. My novel is set during the mid 1970s and fixes its gaze firmly upon the cramped terraces from where paramilitarism entraps young people, and, subtly, oppresses communities.
I recently retired after over thirty years service in the RUC and PSNI. I was exposed to a number of terrorist incidents in which colleagues and members of the public, sadly, lost their lives. My novel began as a part of therapy to manage my diagnosis of Complex PTSD. While ‘The Bitter End of Dreams’ focuses on one side of the community, a second novel will explore the opposing community. A final novel will be written from a policing perspective. I have also written a number of poems centering on the pain and grief which continues to ripple from the ‘Troubles’. During my service I have striven to understand the ideologies of both Irish and Northern Irish paramilitaries: how they justify murder and extortion. To do this I have spoken to many paramilitaries - on both sides of the conflict. I hope my novel sheds a little light upon the dark heart of religious violence; not only in terms of the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’, but also on a global context.
View more posts