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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Next Big Thing

Last Wednesday the expert writer James Lawless tagged me in an online blogging chain called The Next Big Thing, a series of questions about writers’ next projects. The idea is to draw attention to writers and their blogs.
Thanks, James for nominating me and for causing me to focus on my writing.  You can check out James' blog to read about his Next Big Thing.
My Next Big Thing:
At the moment I am working on a collection of short stories and flash fiction.
What is the working title of your book? 
Honey and Stars. (This may change)
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wrote a new short story called Tommy’s Rainbow over Christmas and I decided to gather the few short stories I have together in a folder.  I aim to finish and perfect incomplete stories that deserve TLC.
What genre does your book fall under?
The stories cover queer fiction, fantasy fiction, gothic fiction, contemporary fiction, science fiction and autobiographical fiction.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Jodie Foster, Jeremy Irons, James Franco, an unknown actress...there are a lot of characters in the stories.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
This is difficult to write because there is more than one story obviously but I’ll give it a shot.  ‘Here the main characters seek their true identity and cause for existence through intimate relationships and experiences in fascinating worlds of beauty and confusion.’
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
This collection isn’t finished yet but one story is over ten years old.  It is called The Magician and it won the Meath Chronicle/Bookwise Short Story Competition.  This competition was judged by Jennifer Johnston and she read the story at the prize giving as I was far too shy at the time to do so.  I got her to sign a copy of The Invisible Worm for me which I had read.  There is a poem from William Blake inside the book:
The Sick Rose
O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy
I may even resurrect a short story published in a school magazine when I was 17 called The Starry Night which was based on Van Gogh’s painting which I was madly in love with at the time.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I don’t have anything specific in mind but they do say that you should write something that you yourself would like to read.  I admire Sarah Waters, Virginia Woolf and Mark Twain.  I’d love to write stories of escape through the eyes of characters who see the world with wonder and awe.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Life.  Love.  Beauty.  Pain.  Anger.  Loneliness. Want.  Desire.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
One of the stories, Safa, was selected for The Lonely Voice: Short Story Introductions.  Another Story, The Moonlit Valley of Doubt was a runner up in the Meath Chronicle/Bookwise competition judged by Peter Fallon of The Gallery Press the year prior to The Magician.  He liked the story but he was critical of the dialogue in the story and thought it was somewhat unrealistic. (I think I wanted to write prose poetry at the time)  I brought another story, The Purge, to a Boyne Writers’ Group meeting.  They liked the story but felt it needed work.  I have rewritten one story called Amy maybe 7 or 8 times.  It was initially called The Perpetual Past.  A piece of flash fiction included called Gleann Cholm Cille was published in ROPES 2010.
When and how will it be published?
I haven’t the foggiest, I’m just happy to explore my potential to create at the moment, well perhaps some stories will merit publication in individual journals.
I'd like to tag fellow Meath writer Frank Murphy who writes The Tara Poetry Blog  for The Next Big Thing, Wednesday, 23rd January.
Frank is a member of the Meath Writers' Circle in Ireland since 2001 and a once upon a time Teacher/Instructor in Telecommunications. He is the winner of The Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Award Poetry/Saggart Dublin 2009 and a runner up in the Boyle Literary Festival Poetry 2008.  In 2007 he came 2nd in the Dromineer Literary Festival Poetry Competition and he was shortlisted in the Goldsmith International Festival Poetry.  He was Runner Up in Soundbites 2011 and Shortlisted in the Swift Satire Competition in 2010 and 2011. Most recently he was Highly Commended in the Francis Ledwidge International Poetry Award 2012 and he achieved a Certificate of Merit in the Poet of Fingal 2012.
Frank has published two collections of poetry, The Marginal Line (2005) and Excursions (2008).  He was a featured reader at the Boyne Readings and Open Mic in April, 2009.


  1. Good luck with the short stories Orla, enjoyed the above. Better get cracking myself for next week!

  2. Thanks Frank! I'll look for your blog next Wednesday :)