Monday 31 March 2008

An Interview - Tony Bailie

Tony Bailie
lives in Co. Down and works as a journalist in Belfast. He has previously published a collection of poetry, Coill (Lapwing, 2005) The Lost Chord is his first novel.

Q1. What are you writing at the minute?

I’ve finished my second novel which is provisionally called ‘ecopunk’ and which is basically about an eco warrior throwing himself in front of whaling ships, hanging from trees and generally trying to save the planet – and that is before he has even had lunch. Still tinkering with it and tightening it up

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

I work full time as journalist/sub editor for a daily newspaper in Belfast which means that I spend a lot of time rewriting other people’s stories, designing news pages and writing headlines. I would love to say that I do what all good writers are supposed to do and set aside an hour every day to work on my novel but that is of course bullshit. I seem to write in intense bursts which can be very productive but which then leaves me lethargic for a while until I get a fresh burst of energy.

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

Feel guilty because I am not writing. I read a lot but in the same way that I write – devour books and then for a few weeks find it hard to read a few paragraphs without my mind wandering. In between I walk and listen to music – rock, trad, African and lots of Dylan, Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen.

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

It would be far too patronising of me to do that.

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

I wouldn’t restrict myself to crime writers as such... but Jason Johnson – who is a good hack as well – seems to be pushing out the boundaries in that particular genre.

Q6. What are you reading right now?

The Black Soul by Liam O’Flaherty which was first published in the 1920s. It’s quite literary but superb.

Angels and Rabies by Manchan Magan which is a travel book with a difference about a very disorientated Irishman travelling in South America and later Canada and the US.

Q7. Plans for the future?

Get ‘ecopunk’ published, try to get an overseas deal for ‘The Lost Chord’ and do some more work on a new novel which has been kicking around for a while now.

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

No. You have to find your way as you go along and learn from your mistakes.

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

The Lost Chord is available online from the publisher:

Thank you, Tony Bailie!

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