Name: Padraig O’Hannon
Where are you from?
I was a bit young at the time, so the details are hazy, but I’m told that it all happened in Belfast. I could be wrong, though. Persistent rumors of alien involvement continue to swirl about.
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc.
By day, I work in the Information Technology field. By evening, I write books and play traditional Irish music (fiddle, flute, mandolin, among others). I enjoy the companionship of two loyal dogs and a bevvy of cats. They are either planning world domination or my demise. I’m not sure which…
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
“Murder in County Tyrone” was named the winner of the 2015 New Apple Literary Award for Excellence – Mystery category. It has also reached the top ten best sellers for its category on Amazon UK. I am currently in the first round of editing my next novel which is tentatively scheduled for release in August, 2016.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I tried a bit many years ago, but never stuck with it. In 2012, I found myself with some unexpected spare time. A friend nudged me to look into NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, nanowrimo.org). I muddled through, producing 50,000 words of unadulterated rubbish. The following years was more successful, but I didn’t really hit my stride until 2014 with “Murder in County Tyrone.”
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
There are times, I confess, when I still don’t. I look at others’ writing, and find them to be much more clever. However, when my book won the 2015 New Apple Literary Award (Mystery Category), I grudgingly accept that I may be a writer, truly. People seem to like what I write, so I’ll stick with it.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I consider “Murder in County Tyrone” to be my first book even though other efforts preceded it. I was out and about when I noticed a police car following me. He lingered for a bit before turning. My muse, however, found a story lurking within. What if he stopped me? I’m rather dull and uninteresting to the authorities… What if it wasn’t about me at all? What if it was about the person I’d least expect? The tale snowballed from there.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
“Murder in County Tyrone” is written in first person and is told from the perspective of John Costa, an unmotivated anti-hero. It is the first time I’ve written a first-person, dialog-driven novel, but people seem to enjoy it, so I’ll probably stick with it.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I had another working title, but I thought “Murder in County Tyrone” fit a bit better.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The book is fundamentally a mystery, with elements of romance and intrigue. However, there are other messages embedded within. If they are missed, the reader still can enjoy the wild ride of the main plot line. I’ve tried to stay apolitical throughout, leaving my opinions on The Troubles out. There are, however, themes of discovery, rebirth, and how violence and death touches lives far beyond the actual victims.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I don’t consider the book to be historical fiction, but I did borrow some real events from The Troubles (Northern Ireland) and mold them a bit to my own requirements. Sure, I’ve borrowed bits of real experience, too.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I absolutely adore the works of W.B. Yeats and James Joyce. One of the first reading challenges I took on was the “Lord of the Rings.” Those books opened up an entirely different avenue of imagination for me. One of these years, I’ll try my hand at writing a fantasy novel.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
In relatively recent times, I’ve enjoyed the books of Glen Cook. Before that, I read Tom Clancy frequently. Glen Cook’s style is incredibly down-to-earth — enough so that he makes it look easy; it isn’t, of course. Tom Clancy’s ability to twist and turn plots, deception, and intrigue remains a high-water mark for me.
More recent independent authors I enjoy are Mike Faricy (“Corridor Man”) and Michael Williams (“Lavender and Haddock”). Very different genre and styles, but both fine authors. I’ve also enjoyed mysteries by Ronald Paxton.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Without question, fellow author Annabelle Garcia has been an unfailing source of encouragement and support. We “met” on a writers forum, and she’s always the first to hear about my crazy ideas. I don’t think I would have actually published “Murder in County Tyrone” without her encouragement.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’d be over the moon if fate would unfold that way, but I’m perfectly happy with my current situation and will continue to write.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’m happy with the interior. I might add an Irish name pronunciation guide or improve the cover. However, as far as the core content is concerned, I’m going to leave it alone. It is done, and time to move on to the next!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My mum always said that I had the gift of gab and story telling. I expect that she planted the seeds way back.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My current work is a sequel to “Murder in County Tyrone.” A lot of people have asked for another book featuring the lead characters, and my muse seemed willing to oblige! I was hesitant to write a sequel. “Murder in County Tyrone” is a complete book, not a teaser. Without revealing any spoilers, in the sequel an old nemesis returns in quite spectacular fashion. John Costa, again, finds himself in a maelstrom of deception and intrigue.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
My pace is frustrating. I will sometimes stall out for weeks, while other times it is all I can do to get the words out fast enough. My clumsy typing doesn’t help. Having a more regulated pace would be grand.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I try to visit as many places as possible in person. If I can’t do that, I interview people that have traveled to places I might include in a book. Of particular interest to me are the oft-overlooked details that make a place come to life in a book, smells, noises, traffic oddities, and the like.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
In the interest of time and expense, I did it myself. I hope to have a professional do the next (and maybe revisit “Murder in County Tyrone” if it seems necessary).
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Deciding on which ending to use! I had no fewer than four written, and kept changing my mind. Gradually, I eliminated one because I thought it was trite. Another felt too obvious. That left two, which I ruminated over many weeks before deciding. I’m glad, in retrospect, that I went the way I did.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Indeed. I always learn from my writing projects. Of course, I had to research the various “tools of the trade” that were employed during The Troubles. The most valuable lesson, however, was observing peoples’ traits – the characteristics and mannerisms that make them unique and believable.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
I honestly haven’t given it much thought, so this is a bit of last-minute thinking. John Costa would have to be played by someone with understated handsomeness; someone who can portray a conflicted, but fundamentally good person, Accent aside, Kevin McKidd might be a good choice. Saiorse Ronan would be grand for Angela Grady, but she’s a bit young for the role right now. Katherine LaNasa, when she has her hair long and styled a certain way, truly has the look I imagined for Angela. The character of Jillian MacDonald (Mack) would require a special actress; intelligent, strong, loyal, but sarcastic and irreverent. Emma Stone might do a fine job, although I like Karen Gillan’s energy, too. Jim Finnegan? Liam Neeson, with a goatee, or perhaps Pierce Brosnan. One can dream, right?
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Writing is just like anything else we undertake. The more we do it, the better we get.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks a million for reading my book! (And take a moment to leave a review, please! They really help, even if it is one sentence.)
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading a fantasy series by Steven Erikson, “The Malazan Books of the Fallen.” I’m about four books into the massive series. Each one is quite long and involved, so finishing them will take some time.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I don’t recall, exactly. I remember my mum read “Winnie the Pooh” to me, along with “The Wind in the Willows”. I expect I tried one of those as soon as I was able.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I catch myself laughing at all sorts of things, so it is hard to say. Cry? I’m an incurable romantic at heart. Lost or unrequited love will do it every time…
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I would like to meet my maternal grandfather. He died when my mum was very young. From everything I’ve heard or read about him, he was an amazing person.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“Try waking me up at four in the bloody morning now, felines!”
Perhaps such a tombstone decoration will make someone smile or laugh.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I’m a traditional Irish musician. I dabble with a few other things, but music has always been there as a hobby for me.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I rarely watch the telly. I like films with compelling stories, twists, and interesting characters.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: I have a confessed weakness for pizza.
Music: Irish Traditional
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I love music, and still hold aspirations of playing semi-professionally after I retire from the world of Information Technology.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/PadraigOHannon/
On Twitter: @padraigohannon
My book can be found here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B012YLMAMI or