Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Interview: Peter Murphy, Author of Born & Bred
Peter Murphy was born in Killarney where he spent his first three years before his family was deported to Dublin, the Strumpet City.
Growing up in the verdant braes of Templeogue, Peter was schooled by the De La Salle brothers in Churchtown where he played rugby for ‘The Wine and Gold’. He also played football (soccer) in secret!
After that, he graduated and studied the Humanities in Grogan’s under the guidance of Scot’s corner and the bar staff; Paddy, Tommy and Sean.
Murphy financed his education by working summers on the building sites of London in such places as Cricklewood, Camden Town and Kilburn.
Murphy also tramped the roads of Europe playing music and living without a care in the world. But his move to Canada changed all of that. He only came over for a while – thirty years ago. He took a day job and played music in the bars at night until the demands of family life intervened. Having raised his children and packed them off to University, Murphy answered the long ignored internal voice and began to write.
He has no plans to make plans for the future and is happy to let things unfold as they do anyway.
Visit Peter online at www.peterdamienmurphy.com
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a nice respectable suburb on the south side of Dublin, Ireland. It was the type of place you would imagine that children would be happy in but in my late teens, I wandered downtown in search of the places where my literary heroes had roamed. I found them and spent the next few years absorbing the atmosphere that still lingers.
When did you begin writing?
Growing up, I was strongly encouraged to read and write. As a lovelorn teen I wrote poetry and songs and became a bit of a troubadour for a while. Later, after I moved to Canada and became busy raising a family, I stole a few hours, here and there, to write short stories—some of which were not too bad. A few years back I got cashed-out of a job that I had grown very tired of and decided to start doing what really made me happy—writing.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
I find the evenings are best for writing and I spend the day editing and reworking the previous day’s work. Reshaping it always gets me in the mood to take another plunge forward.
What is this book about?
It is the story of Danny Boyle, a pious and innocent child who gets waylaid by the storms of the world around him. His granny, a formidable and influential dowager, raised him to be good but when she dies, all of her secrets come tumbling out and shatter everything Danny believed in. Lost and confused, he gets involved with the drug scene and gets duped into leaving his fingerprints on a murder weapon. But his family still has powerful friends who are prepared to move Heaven and Earth to save him, only, even that might not be enough.
What inspired you to write it?
A few years ago, I was having dinner with family in Dublin when the talk turned to the recent murder of an alleged drug-dealer. Everyone voiced reasonable and insightful opinions and it set the wheels in motion. Even the greatest villains among us begin life as babies and I wanted to explore what might have happened along the way.
Who is your favorite character from the book?
Danny Boyle’s grandmother, Nora. She seems so self-assured at first and doesn’t hesitate to put everyone in their place. She does what she believes has to be done and pays her penance forward. But, as the story unfolds, her certainty is tested and Nora is forced to look at things differently.
Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?
Notwithstanding that the whole process can feel like it moves at glacial pace, I have been very fortunate. I found someone, my editor Lou Aronica, who saw something in my writing and has spared no effort to coax me along. Initially, some of his opinions ruffled my feathers but he has been proven right. Because of that I get to do my part—write—and trust that the rest will be well taken care of. Writing, publishing and reader’s reactions all make for a bit of a rollercoaster ride but what part of life isn’t?
If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?
No because all of that led to this. I spent over 3 years working on my first novel, Lagan Love, and have managed to produce the first 2 books of Life & Times; Born & Bred and Wandering in Exile in 2. What I am learning along the way is to avoid filling pages with anything that is not central to the story—a practice that can only be improved by making mistakes along the way.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/born-bred-peter-murphy/1116303578
Local Bookstores: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781611881165
Ben McNally Books: http://www.benmcnallybooks.com/?q=events/fine_print_presents_born_and_bred_peter_murphy
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
Write, write, and write. Like anything else, it gets easier with practice.
What is up next for you?
I have been working 10 to 12 hours a day for 3 years and when the 3rd book, All Roads, is done, I need to take some time to attend to the rest of my life. I need a haircut and I need to get organized for my move to Portugal. I tell myself I must take a few months off but, already, I’m playing with a few new ideas!
Is there anything you would like to add?
Yes, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to talk about my work.