It's been a remarkable couple of weeks so I guess I should, you know, remark on them.
Thanks to Declan Burke's willingness to drop his standards a little I was included in his excellent offering, DOWN THESE GREEN STREETS. The book is basically a collection of essays, interviews and stories on the subject of Irish crime fiction. The list of contributors is a who's who of the Irish crime fiction scene with me taking up the rear by quite a distance. Check out these names:
Ruth Dudley Edwards
Foreword by Michael Connelly
Introduction by Professor Ian Ross of Trinity College
Afterword by Fintan O’Toole
What a line-up, right?
And so, it was with a great big goofy grin plastered to my face that I attended both the Belfast and Dublin launches of this fine tome. And what a treat these wee outings were for a small fish like me.
In Dublin I got to meet Ken Bruen for the first time. And he was with Eoin Colfer. So I got them both to sign my copy of Eoin Colfer's PLUGGED which is dedicated to Ken. AND Tony Black bought me a pint. Who says the Scottish are stingy? I also got to chat briefly to Arlene Hunt (though let's face it, any chat with Arlene is too brief. Charm? This lady has it in spades) and got to shake hands with and nod dumbly to the likes of John Connolly and Declan Hughes. And of course, I got to say hiya to Declan Burke again. I wish I'd introduced myself to Alan Glynn but it's too late to do anything about that now.
And then Belfast. Not only did I get to attend the event with my missus, Michelle, and watch some real pros in action in the form of a panel made up of Colin Bateman, Brian McGilloway and Stuart Neville (with Declan Burke introducing the event and David Torrans asking questions of the panel between book sales), but I got to say hello to Eoin McNamee again and be in the same room (unknowingly, dammit) with David Peace. But even better than this, me and my lovely missus got to have dinner with a bunch of the contributors at a pretty decent Chinese Restaurant on Botanic Avenue. And so my lovely wife and I got to chat to Niamh O'Connor and Kevin McCarthy for the first time and listen to a less formal panel on Irish crime fiction, life the universe and parenting.
And what did I learn from these two events?
Well, I still have quite a distance to go before I can consider myself anywhere near the bottom of their league. These writers represent the cream of the crop of the genre I'm trying to crack into. But with the release of my novella, THE POINT, in October (God bless Pulp Press) and a few other exciting things on the horizon that I can't talk about until some details have been hammered out (not a book deal), at least I can say I'm heading in the right direction. Let's hope I don't get lost or run out of juice along the way.