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Category: Archive

Page Turner: Damian McNicholl

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

What is your latest book about?

“A Son Called Gabriel” is about family secrets. The novel, both funny and poignant, is set in 1970s Northern Ireland against a backdrop of the bloody struggle for civil rights by the Catholic minority and tells the story of an increasingly corrosive secret one boy conceals from his family out of a terror of rejection by them, and a secret they hold from him that’s revealed at the end. I wanted the book to be singularly Northern Irish in flavor, because there are so few stories coming out of that part of Ireland and people from the north have their own unique humor, biases and struggles in life.

What is your writing routine? Are there ideal conditions?

I treat writing as a job so I put in a 9 to 5 day and very often far more than that if there’s a deadline to meet. I’ve created my ideal conditions which are a quiet workplace, a window looking out into the woods so I can watch the wildlife stroll or fly by, and a radio tuned to NPR.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Believe in yourself, write the best book you can, and never give up on your dream of seeing it published.

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Name three books that are memorable in terms of your reading pleasure?
“Far from the Madding Crowd” by Thomas Hardy; “The King must Die” by Mary Renault; and the play “Juno and the Paycock” by Sean O’Casey

What book are you currently reading?

“The Bitch Posse” by Martha O’Connor, a dark story about three girls who enjoy a close friendship in high school that is cut off abruptly.

Is there a book you wish you had written?

“Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser. I wasn’t born in the U.S. so I have a foreigner’s curiosity about the American way of life, and Schlosser’s expos

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