Monday 24 March 2008

An Interview - Brian McGilloway

Brian McGilloway hails from Derry, Northern Ireland. By day, he teaches English at St Columb's College, Derry. By night, he’s an NI crime fiction writer. McGilloway's debut novel is a crime thriller called Borderlands. The sequel, Gallows Lane, was published in 2008. Borderlands, was shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger in 2007.

Q1. What are you writing at the minute?

I’ve started planning the fourth Devlin book, The Rising, at the moment. In addition to that, I’m doing a little follow-up work on the third book, Bleed A River Deep.

Q2. Can you give us an idea of Brian McGilloway’s typical up-to-the-armpits-in-ideas-and-time writing day?

My typical writing day starts usually around 8.30 pm. I work full time as the Head of English in a large, all boys school in Derry which means I leave the house at eight in the morning and get home after five most days. Having a young family, little is done about the house until after the children go to bed around eight. Then, a mug of tea, a quick check of e-mails and I get started. I write for an hour or two per day for the months during which I’m actually writing. I aim to write 1000 words per day, though frequently I manage 2500, and sometimes I struggle to make 250.

Q3. What do you do when you’re not writing?

I teach full time and have two young children. That fairly much takes care of it. That and the Playstation 3 which is taking up a lot of those wee small hours when I should be writing book 4.

Q4. Any advice for a greenhorn like myself trying to break into the crime fiction scene?

I’m a green-horn myself, so I’m hardly in a position to advise. I’ve read crime fiction constantly for nearly a decade before starting to write. To be a writer, I think you need to be a reader first – to see what has been done and is being done.

Q5. Which crime writer(s) have impressed you this year?

I really liked Declan Burke’s The Big O. Ian Rankin and James Lee Burke’s most recent were both superb. And I rocketed through CJ Samson’s Sovereign.

Q6. What are you reading right now?

In addition to Year 12 English coursework, Prayers For Rain by Dennis Lehane. I recently saw Gone Baby, Gone and it reminded me how much I enjoyed the Kenzie & Gennaro novels. Sadly, I’m struggling with time to read it at the moment so I might have to save it for the Easter holidays.

Q7. Plans for the future?

Pan Macmillan has signed up to Devlin 5, which will keep me going for another year or two yet. After that will depend on whether or not anyone wants to read more of my books and whether or not I have more stories to tell. I’d like to develop some of the other characters from the Devlin books into stories of their own at some stage. I’m happy to take it a book at a time and see how they go.

Q8. With regards to your writing career to date, would you do anything differently?

No – I’m perfectly happy with the way things have gone. Had I done anything differently, it would have changed the knock on effect that has been part and parcel of the Devlin books path to publication.

Q9. Anything you want to say that I haven’t asked you about?

Not that I can think of, thanks!

Thank you, Brian McGilloway!


Michael Stone said...

"I aim to write 1000 words per day, though frequently I manage 2500, and sometimes I struggle to make 250."

Now there's something ! can sympathise with!

Gerard Brennan said...

Hiya Mike

That's one of the things I'm really enjoying about these interviews. Every writer so far has said something I can identify with.


Declan Burke said...

Gallows Lane is a superior book to Borderlands, far more ambitious in its scope and in terms of what it's saying about Irish policing ... I think Brian is going to be a major talent. Cheers, Dec

Gerard Brennan said...

Hiya, Dec

Another reason to look forward to Gallows Lane.

I wish I could read faster!