Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My Name is Kevin McManus, I am 48 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live outside a village called Carrigallen in County Leitrim in Western Ireland.#
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am married to my wife Mary for the last 12 years. I completed a masters degree in history and a higher diploma in education at University and I have worked as a secondary school teacher for the last 20 years. I love music and I played in rock bands from the age of 16 up until about 5 years ago when I turned to writing as a creative outlet.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My third novel entitled “Under the Red Winter sky” is currently at the editing stage and I am due to publish it in October if all goes according to plan. It is a sequel to my first novel “The Whole of the Moon”. I am also writing a second Detective Ray Logue book which I plan to publish next Summer.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
As a child I read tonnes of comic books and I was always inventing my own comic book stories. I dabbled with poetry as a teenager and that turned into dabbling with writing song lyrics as a young adult when I got involved with bands. I always liked words and the sounds that they make. A remark that somebody makes in a conversation or on TV could spark off an idea. I started writing my first novel “The Whole of the Moon” about 5 years ago but it took me a long time to develop the confidence to complete it. Like a lot of writers I am very self critical and when you present your first novel its exciting but also a bit scary because you are not sure how readers will react to it.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When people read my first book and told me that they enjoyed it.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The story is inspired by my own experiences growing up in rural Ireland in the 1980s. It is also shaped by some of the friends and personalities I encountered during my student days.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title “The Whole of the Moon is inspired by the famous song by the Waterboys. I read somewhere that the writer of that song, Mike Scott said that it was a song about admiration and jealousy describing how he felt that his songs could never compete with those of Prince. My book is inspired by that because the central character, Conor is in awe of and jealous of a supporting character called Darragh.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I don’t think that I adhere to all of the “rules” of writing, I never went on creative writing workshops. I just write and I think that you get better at writing the more you do it. The hard part is coming up with original ideas.
Some reviewers have said that my first book depended too much on narrative and other reviewers said that my second book “Death Rains Down” was too dialogue driven. Its all a matter of taste I suppose. I just read “The fiends of Eddie Coyle” by George V. Higgins and its just all dialogue and its a fabulous book and regarded as one of the greatest crime novels ever written.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The story of “The Whole of the Moon” is inspired by my own experiences growing up in rural Ireland in the 1980s. It is also shaped by some of the friends and personalities I encountered during my student days.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I didn’t have to travel but I carried out some research into the politics of the late 80s and various news stories that were prominent then. I revisited the music, TV, literature, etc. of the period to get a feel for the era again.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
“The Whole of the moon” by the Austin MacCauley design team. “Death Rains Down” by the Endeavour Press design team. My new book “Under the Red Winter Sky” was designed by Paul Moore.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
It will pull you back to the late 80s, which were hard times growing up with high levels of unemployment and emigration, but also, it was a time when Ireland was coming on age and taking its place on the world stage with the success of the Irish soccer team and the rise of U2 as a rock super group. It was a time of awakening for Irish people, when we began to stand up and question the institutions that had kept us so tethered for so long.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
My books are crime novels but I read a lot of different genres not just crime. I like Charles Bukowski, Dermot Healy, Ken Bruen, Henning Mankell,Thomas Harris, James Ellroy, Franz Kafka, Dennis Lehane. My favourite novel always has been and always will be Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My dog, Jack
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I am a full time secondary school teacher. I enjoy teaching, its a rewarding occupation and it keeps the wolf from the door. I think in this day and age making a full time living from writing is near impossible unless you are extremely fortunate.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
There are so many little things I would change but nothing major.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That you can never be totally 100% happy with what you write and you can keep rewriting and tweaking it but in the end you have to move on.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
One of my readers reckons that the main character, Conor should be played by Aidan Turner from Poldark.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Just write, keep at it and have belief in yourself. If it makes you happy just do it.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Please buy my books
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am reading Bones by Johnathan Kellerman
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
My two grandfathers, they were both dead before I was born.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Playing bass guitar
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love 70s fims, the golden age in my opinion: The Godfather, The French Connection, Star Wars, Jaws, Close Encounters, Serpico, Mean Streets, The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, Dirty Harry, The outlaw Josey Wales. The list is endless, so many brilliant films from that decade.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Steak, blue, 70s Rock
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Eat steak in a blue room listening to 70s rock music.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
That’s a tough one, I’ll pass on that.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
The Whole of the Moon is available free from 22-26 June on http://mybook.to/TheWhole