Buy Mick Donnellan’s novels in Paperback now! – “El Niño” and “Fisherman’s Blues” available here.

 

 

 

Novel – El Niño (in Paperback).

El Niño is the exciting debut novel from Mayo man, Mick Donnellan. Slick, stylish and always entertaining, the story is a rollercoaster of drama and tension that hasn’t been seen in Irish fiction for a very long time. Charlie is our protagonist, the pick pocket that steals El Nino’s wallet and then falls in love with her. She’s the wild femme fatale, beautiful; enigmatic and seductive. She rocks Charlie’s world with her smoky wiles and drinking ways and her tough girl ideals. This is Noir at its best. Dark and edgy with crisp fresh dialogue and a plot that engages the reader from the first line and keeps them up all night – right through to it’s powerful finish.

€11,99

 

 

Pick up El Niño on Amazon today! Buy El Niño Now!

**

Fisherman’s Blues.

Fisherman’s Blues – is the hilarious new novel from Mick Donnellan.Dark and audacious, written in a distinct West of Ireland vernacular, it covers a myriad of genres from Crime Noir to comedy and an odd bit of religion. Fresh in its language, vivid in its descriptions, the book sings with the signature style of all Donnellan’s previous work, and a bit more. Delving into the lives of drinkers, lovers, thieves and scam artists, the story weaves a web of intrigue and curiosity that ends with an unforgettable bang. Not without its poignant moments, the plot hinges on the chaotic consequences of three unlikely comrade’s attempts to save their lost relationships, while unintentionally ruining the plans of a rising criminal’s efforts to take over the city. The question is: Can they succeed? And if they don’t, what then? And where have the women really gone?

€9,99


Buy Fisherman’s Blues direct from Amazon now!

Mick Donnellan to begin new Lecture Series in Creative Writing at AIT – Athlone.

Mick Donnellan to Lecture

a

New Creative Writing Module

@

Athlone Institute of Technology

**Wednesday September 19th**

**7 -9pm **

Duration: 10 Weeks

Course Fee: €160

Register Interest/Contact:

lifelonglearning@ait.ie

Tel: 0906 483050

Or

mickdonnellan@hotmail.com

Tel:(087) 9422942 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mick_Donnellan

 

Aim of the course:

The aim of this course is to provide students with the tools on how to write, why to write, what to write about and how to get it published. Most budding writers often find they are burning to tell a story, but don’t know how/where to start. Once completed, each participant will leave with the necessary skills to enter the writing industry with confidence and direction. This will include advice/contacts on where and how to send to your work, as well as ways to self promote/produce your writing. An end of course assignment will also ensure each participant finishes with a publishable piece of writing to present to potential agents/publishers. (Students are also welcome to bring existing works in progress to the class to have it discussed, critiqued and developed. )

Course Outline –

  • Writing techniques. Styles of writing. Different genres. Thriller? Chick Lit? Crime? True Stories? What language to use. How to pace your story. Plot and suspense.
  • The Art of Fiction – Novel/Novella/Short Story?
  • Journalism – How to write for the media compared to the fiction market.
  • Screenwriting – How to write for film. What format to use. How to think visually. Getting the script produced.
  • Drama How to write good drama and dialogue. Developing an ear for the rhythms of speech. Getting your Play produced.
  • Poetry – A look at past and contemporary poets and how the art has evolved.
  • Memoir – telling your life story. How and why to do it!
  • Non Fiction – Historical writing. Biography/Auto Biography.
  • Publishing industry – Where to send your work. The right people to send it to. How to prepare and present your Manuscript/Screenplay/Poetry collection.
  • Chance for students to have their work openly critiqued and discussed by others in the class, if they wish to do so.

Intended for:

This course is ideal for writers at all levels of their career. It is particularly suited for beginners and those who need a channel to express themselves creatively.

No experience is required as the course will cover the basics of writing and gradually move through the different stages towards publishing success. It will be an enjoyable, stress free course with one assignment at the end. It will also help those writers working in isolation and looking for a constructive environment to share and develop their work.

Previous students have had their writing published locally and nationally and some have gone on to be accepted into prestigious university writing programmes such as the Masters in Trinity College, Dublin and NUI Galway.

About Mick Donnellan:

Mick Donnellan completed the MA in Writing at NUIG in 2004. Since then he has worked as a novelist, journalist, travel writer, teacher and Playwright. He completed his first novel, El Niño, in 2005 and immediately secured a literary agent. He left Ireland soon after and went on to live in Spain, Australia and Canada. While traveling he worked as a travel writer and Journalist and co-founded the Arts Paper – Urban Pie – in Vancouver. Upon returning to Ireland he went on to work with Druid (2009) and RTE (2010).

Most recently, he established his own theatre company, Truman Town Theatre.

All Truman Town Plays are written, directed, and produced by Mick. The company exploded on to the theatrical circuit in 2011 with their hit Play – Sunday Morning Coming Down. Following a national tour, they went on to produce (and tour) two more hugely successful Plays Shortcut to Hallelujah and Gun Metal Grey. These dramas eventually became known as the “Ballinrobe Trilogy.” More recently, the company toured a fourth Play Velvet Revolution and in 2014, Radio Luxembourg, his fifth Play, was bought by a London Film Company (Dixon/Baxi/Evans) and has been adapted for the screen.

The title for the movie version is “Tiger Raid”. Starring Brian Gleeson, Damian Molony and Sofia Boutella, it had its world premiere at the Tribeca film festival (2016) and was also seen at Cannes and Edinburgh and the Irish Premiere was screened at the Galway Film Fleadh.

El Niño is now published and Mick is currently in negotiations to sell the screen rights. Between that, he teaches writing while promoting his second novel “Fisherman’s Blues.” and keeping Truman Town on the go.

Most of 2017 has been working on the exciting screen adaptation of “Shortcut to Hallelujah” with Florence Films. Hot off the press, the screenplay is titled “Sam” and is based around the gypsy curse supposedly set on the Mayo Football team as they returned home as All Ireland Champions in 1951. “Sam” is set in the present day and deals with themes of Mayo life and the hope of bringing the Sam Maguire home. Drenched in Irish lyricism and modern day dark humour, the script has been been met with keen interest by film producers and actors throughout the industry.

More on Mick Donnellan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mick_Donnellan

—–

Click here to buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels now!

Fisherman’s Blues, Writing Block, Pissed off Parking Meters….#25

People often say – “…I read Fisherman’s Blues and it goes fuckin’ mad in the middle….”

And it does. Initially it had been built around the telesales scam in England but then I came home and said fuck it and went cracked altogether.

I’d been wanting to explore stuff like modern Irish life, West of Ireland madness, nihilist boom time existentialism. This was going great until about page 70. Then it slowed down. Don’t know why. Wasn’t too sure how to proceed. The voice felt like it was getting whiny and indulgent and who wants to read that?

I was driving an Opel Astra at the time. 1995. Great car. Never let me down. Bought it off a couple from Panama in Ballinrobe for €650. They were moving to England. Taxed and NCT’d and twenty euro petrol in the tank. Couldn’t go wrong.

Drove a lot. Thought a lot. Drank in between but still no way forward for the book. Amateurs and shite talkers would call this a Writing Block. Say there’s no point continuing until the block unblocks. They wouldn’t write anything at all.

But I always think it’s important to keep the mind going until the moment comes.

So I wrote short stories, had them published here and there. Won a Poetry competition worth 25 English Pounds and spent it on a round of Jaggerbombs. Big Shtuff.

Also worked on some journalism and taught some writing classes. And drove some more.

The break came one evening about 6pm. I’d been editing all day, working on a Play, getting it up to scratch. The voices echoed in my head. The conversations, the nuances, the inflections. Poetic lyricism of the language. The vast ocean of meaning; roaring in the silence of all the unsaid.

Not too sure how I ended up going the wrong way round the roundabout. One minute I was listening to the radio, cruising along, next thing there was flashing lights, lunatics running out on to the road to flag me down. A foreign lad on a bike, paused in disbelief. It was hard to know whether to keep going or try and turn around. Trucks were grunting somewhere to my right and I was starting to get a premonition of cops. I did the sensible thing and hit the brakes but that didn’t help. The roaring and flashing and beeping just got louder. Then I put it into reverse and there was a big tin bang. Cuntish, probably hit something. Hope it wasn’t that foreign fella’s bike. Checked out the rearview and saw the pissed off face of a parking meter. Not too bad. Hope I made shite of the fuckin thing.

Put her in first again and inched forward, trying to avoid the white Mazda that was after braking six inches from my headlight. Your man inside was looking out the window pure thick, like I was doing this on purpose, or his ignorance was going to help.

I played it cool, gave him the one finger salute off the steering wheel and moved forward. Behind the Mazda was a queue of incredulous cars parked in a zig zag dramatic fashion. Worse still, it was raining and it was dark. People were rolling down their windows and shouting things like: ‘You’re going the wrong way!’ And: ‘This is a fuckin roundabout ya clown!’ Can’t bate Irish people for sound advice in a crisis. It took a few minutes but eventually we all got unjammed and the cops didn’t come and I got home.

And I knew how to continue Fisherman’s Blues

Mick.

Fisherman’s Blues.

Fisherman’s Blues – is the hilarious new novel from Mick Donnellan.Dark and audacious, written in a distinct West of Ireland vernacular, it covers a myriad of genres from Crime Noir to comedy and an odd bit of religion. Fresh in its language, vivid in its descriptions, the book sings with the signature style of all Donnellan’s previous work, and a bit more. Delving into the lives of drinkers, lovers, thieves and scam artists, the story weaves a web of intrigue and curiosity that ends with an unforgettable bang. Not without its poignant moments, the plot hinges on the chaotic consequences of three unlikely comrade’s attempts to save their lost relationships, while unintentionally ruining the plans of a rising criminal’s efforts to take over the city. The question is: Can they succeed? And if they don’t, what then? And where have the women really gone?

€9,99

Buy Fisherman’s Blues directly from Amazon here.

Bouncing Cheques and Crimewatch Outside, Photoshopped Pyramid Scheme. Fisherman’s Blues Research. #24 –

The blinds were closed, the doors were locked, and Crimewatch were outside. They were investigating reports of a bogus time share company in the south of England. Sharon said it was all hype, orchestrated by a few disgruntled customers, and it would all blow over. It usually does.

Meanwhile, the plan was to keep selling, keep doing your job, don’t be distracted. They got the phonebook out and “…organised new leads….”, further away, where the news hadn’t reached. By now, most of the other reps had been fired or left. They couldn’t handle the pressure, weren’t happy with the media attention, or the increasingly aggressive groups hovering at the front door.

The crux of the customer problem appeared to be money. More specifically, a deposit paid for an apartment in Spain. I read this some time later when the story eventually broke.

The people we’d been calling had been awarded a free night in a hotel down the road. Once they accepted, they were given dinner, some wine and a complementary plastic watch. A condition of accepting the overnight stay was they attend a seminar on some investment opportunities. Once there, they were presented with a dream story on Foreign Property. New developments. Get in early. Mutual funds. Pooled resources. All they had to do was commit £4,000 today and wait for it to quadruple in six months time. They were also given exclusive access to the apartments – pending availability.

However, it turned out the apartments weren’t available. A problem exacerbated by the fact that they didn’t exist at all. The whole thing was pure fabrication – A photoshopped pyramid scheme. £4000 for a short night in a cheap hotel and a free plastic watch. How are ya fixed?

Worse still, the cheques started bouncing. Which meant we weren’t getting paid. Sharon said they were having accounting problems with the bank and it would all be resolved soon.

Time to hit the road here, Micky. I was about to hand in my notice when Frank arrived. The man above it all. He was from Northern Ireland. The others spoke of his reputation in morbid tones. Had I looked him up on Google? Did I not know this was how it worked? It was simple. Set up a company under Limited Liability, run it to the ground and claim bankruptcy. Then set up again the following year under a new name. New entity. Everybody wins except them that got burnt outside.

I met him in the back office. He wanted to talk to me because I was Irish and had been selling well, and he heard I was leaving. He was sitting behind a desk scattered with paper punches and biros. Black hair, paunch. White vest. What did I make of England? Where was I from in Ireland? All a joke isn’t it? Am I getting paid alright?

I told him my last cheque bounced, anything he can do there?

He said he can of course, and how much was it. I told him the figure and he took out his wallet and counted out some cash and handed it over. He asked if that was alright. I told him almost, he was three pound short but it be grand. No, he said, not at all. And he reached into his pocket and took out three pound coins and handed them to me. Will that do, he asked? Twill, I said. What about the rest of them outside, waiting to get paid?

Fuck them, he said. We Irish look after each other. Let me know if you’re looking for work again any time.

Mick.

Fisherman’s Blues.

Fisherman’s Blues – is the hilarious new novel from Mick Donnellan.Dark and audacious, written in a distinct West of Ireland vernacular, it covers a myriad of genres from Crime Noir to comedy and an odd bit of religion. Fresh in its language, vivid in its descriptions, the book sings with the signature style of all Donnellan’s previous work, and a bit more. Delving into the lives of drinkers, lovers, thieves and scam artists, the story weaves a web of intrigue and curiosity that ends with an unforgettable bang. Not without its poignant moments, the plot hinges on the chaotic consequences of three unlikely comrade’s attempts to save their lost relationships, while unintentionally ruining the plans of a rising criminal’s efforts to take over the city. The question is: Can they succeed? And if they don’t, what then? And where have the women really gone?

€9,99

Buy Fisherman’s Blues directly from Amazon here.

Fisherman’s Blues material, Foreign Property Scams, big lads with tattoos goin throwing shlaps #23 –

 

Jamie and Amanda announced they were having a baby. Everyone clapped, oohed and ahhed over the scan, and then they were brought into the office and fired. Not hitting the target. No job, folks. Been coming for a while. Pressure from headquarters. Pack up and get the fuck out.

They came back from the office and she was crying and he was trying to comfort her and then they left and everyone got back to making phone calls.

We were given a sheet with a list of leads, but it was fairly obvious they were photocopied from the phonebook. The job was to call to numbers and make appointments. Four appointments a day was the target. Evening shift – 4-8pm. I was hitting ten a night, so no worries there. Making good dusht. Polite English people loving the Irish accent. The others struggled, asked me for advice, listened to my pitch.

Chris spent most evenings up top calling back the clients and confirming their appointments – today’s version of a Quality Check. The essential thing was to book them in for a free night at a hotel down the road. Tell them they won a prize, selected from a pool of lucky winners, filled out a questionnaire at the local Supermarket and here we are now returning the favour.

Most of the customers were delighted. Can’t believe this, just got married, now a free night at a hotel? Wow, just gets better and better. The ideal clientele, according to Chris, were the retired. They had money, no mortgage, looking for an investment, a night away, lonely at home, some trust left in the way the world used to be. You call them up, said Chris, and if the husband answers you tell them the wife filled out the questionnaire, and if the wife answers you tell them it was the husband. Sometimes the wife or husband had died years before, but other than that it worked out ok.

Above Chris, was Sharon. Super bitch altogether. Did all the firing and loved it. Well in with the big knobs. Pants suit and predilection for chocolate at her desk. Take too long advising the new lad beside you and she’s shouting down, wondering what’s the story. Calls recorded, see. Time spent on presentations, numbers of calls made. Leads used, divided by sales should = x amount of conversions.

Conversions were calls made that resulted in booking an appointment (free night at hotel) and approved by quality check after.

As far as I could tell, they were selling something else down at the hotel when the guests arrived. Some other crew down there pushing new properties abroad or something. Not much more information divulged for now. Take your cheque, make your commission, don’t ask questions.

Soon people starting turning up outside. Randomers peeking through the window, hands cupped and squinting to see what was going on. Sharon had to lock the door and only allow people in or out that worked there. When asked about the gathering crowd she’d shrug and reply the were unhappy customers. After a while an odd journalist started to arrive, asking us questions as we came in. And one or two big lads with tattoos were looking for managers to go throwing slaps. Not the best atmosphere really. Wasn’t long before there was cops asking questions and Chris and Sharon would spend most of the evening answering questions or making statements. Mostly they’d defer to the headquarters, and a man called Frank.

Have you met Frank? Asked Charlene.

No, I don’t think so.

Oh, you’d know if you had, she said. You’d certainly know if you had. You’re a writer, aren’t you? She asked.

I am, I said.

Good, she said. You’ll get a book out of this place for sure.

Mick.

Fisherman’s Blues.

Fisherman’s Blues – is the hilarious new novel from Mick Donnellan.Dark and audacious, written in a distinct West of Ireland vernacular, it covers a myriad of genres from Crime Noir to comedy and an odd bit of religion. Fresh in its language, vivid in its descriptions, the book sings with the signature style of all Donnellan’s previous work, and a bit more. Delving into the lives of drinkers, lovers, thieves and scam artists, the story weaves a web of intrigue and curiosity that ends with an unforgettable bang. Not without its poignant moments, the plot hinges on the chaotic consequences of three unlikely comrade’s attempts to save their lost relationships, while unintentionally ruining the plans of a rising criminal’s efforts to take over the city. The question is: Can they succeed? And if they don’t, what then? And where have the women really gone?

€9,99

Buy Fisherman’s Blues directly from Amazon here.

 

 

Where Fisherman’s Blues began, Kronenberg Afternoons, Paulo Cohello and the English Job Centres. #22

Hard to know where a book really starts. The longer it goes on, and the more experiences you have, the more likely you won’t finish it. It’s because you’ll keep putting in new stuff that happens, that you experience. The tone of your book will change, relative to your life experience and it’ll eventually feel like a mishmash of nonsense. I was thinking this with my second novel – Fisherman’s Blues. I knew if I didn’t finish soon, I never would. The story would be too old and jaded, having gone through too many drafts, like a shirt washed too many times. It be soon time to throw it out.

The novel began when I was living in England. I needed a job, fairly handy one, cos I didn’t have any proper credentials. I suffer greatly from Formophobia, see. A unique Irish condition. It means I feel physically sick in the presence of all forms, excel sheets, application procedures, bureaucratic questions and phone calls from Private Numbers. When someone hands me an envelope over a desk and says to fill out these forms, and get back to me, I know I’ll never be back.

But now here there was a lot of talk about Job Centres and uploading your CV. The first place I went was superbly air conditioned. And there was machines that spat out tickets with numbers on them. The plan was to wait until you number was called and talk to the polite Englishman at the desk. When I got there he asked for my details – Employee Number, Address, Utility Bill, I.D., Bank Account Number, CV, Phone Number and what kind of work was I looking for? After a pause, punctuated by Vertigo, he said: ‘You don’t have any of this stuff, do you?’

‘I’m working on it.’

Ok, sir, he said softly. I’m going to give you a bunch of forms to fill out. You’ll need to pop up to Poole and get them stamped, then have a quick chat with the Immigration, go down to the Job Centre in town and get them signed, don’t lose any of them, make sure they’re filled out properly in black ink only. Once you get that sorted, we’ll get you set up and registered here and have you in for an interview in no time at all.

‘How long do you reckon before I could start working?’

Not long, he smiled, six weeks or so.

Thanks, I said, I’ll be back to ye, and I walked outside and fucked the forms in the bin. They wouldn’t fit so I had to stuff them in. After, I felt relieved and concerned at the same time.

Not good, Micky. No Dusht. No hope of getting around them crowd. It was a hot day, with reggae music playing somewhere and lots of noise coming from busy traffic and people talking in shops. There was a smell like liquorice from the melting tar on the road.

I took a left towards the snooker hall. A 24 hour place with cheap drink. Figured everything would look better after a few Kronenberg and a couple of frames. Next thing I spotted a sign on an office window. Hiring Now. So I went for the Paulo Cohello vibe and followed the omens.

The place was called Serendipity. Figure that. Your man inside was called Chris. Wanted to know if I could speak English, had any sales experience. I told him I used to be a top sales man in a Media Company in Ireland. Which wasn’t technically a lie – I used sell Irish Catholic Newspapers for the Legion of Mary when I was a kid. Sold 20 one morning after last mass. Record at the time.

Chris asked when was I available to start, he’d pay in cheques, cashable at the shop next door. No need for forms at all. You came to the right place. I told him I’d start tomorrow and we shook hands and I left. Celebrated at the Snooker Hall. Big dhrink.

Years later, Chris became one of the main characters in Fisherman’s Blues, as did the sales office, and many other things that were to subsequently happen.

Mick.

Fisherman’s Blues.

Fisherman’s Blues – is the hilarious new novel from Mick Donnellan.Dark and audacious, written in a distinct West of Ireland vernacular, it covers a myriad of genres from Crime Noir to comedy and an odd bit of religion. Fresh in its language, vivid in its descriptions, the book sings with the signature style of all Donnellan’s previous work, and a bit more. Delving into the lives of drinkers, lovers, thieves and scam artists, the story weaves a web of intrigue and curiosity that ends with an unforgettable bang. Not without its poignant moments, the plot hinges on the chaotic consequences of three unlikely comrade’s attempts to save their lost relationships, while unintentionally ruining the plans of a rising criminal’s efforts to take over the city. The question is: Can they succeed? And if they don’t, what then? And where have the women really gone?

€9,99

Buy Fisherman’s Blues directly from Amazon here.

Writing Fisherman’s Blues,Working Tefl in Madrid, Big dhrink on the €1 wine. #21 –

Most days in Madrid I spent checking my e-mail in the Internet cafe and playing online poker. When the publishing deals didn’t come and my four kings were getting busted by regular Royal Flushes, I’d hit the pub. €1 wine, see. Compare that with €5 a glass in Ireland and you feel like it’s a free bar and act accordingly. That’s the problem when you write a book. You get a notion in your head that you can’t move on to the next one until this one is published – like, who came up with that idea?

Eventually it was time to get a job, money going low, all that.

Walking up the stairs, into a TEFL school, thinking – how are ya going to handle this now, Micky. The interview had come fast, within an hour, the demand was high, see.

Everyone wanted to learn English, hire English speakers, a plethora of students roaring to spend money. Sound, says I, sure I’m after doing a watery TEFL course online. They sent me out a cert and everything. Couple that with the Degree and Masters and sure I’ll be sound.

The dominant colour in the office was green. The woman there wanted to know my background in teaching. I gave her the outlines. She seemed impressed. And could I start Monday?

I pretended to think about it. Then said Okay. The money wasn’t great, but it was a job. In Spain. In Madrid. How cool was that?

TEFL turned out to be great for the brain, got the neuro-plasticity going and kept me thinking about language, and linguistic identities, and meaning. The hours were mostly evenings which meant you could write all day. So, I pulled out an old story I’d been working on. It was originally called Last Chance Cafe, but I’d eventually retitle it Fisherman’s Blues and it became my second novel.

El Niño had been heavily influenced by American writers and genre. Some of the conversations and settings were said to be similar in style to Elmore Leonard and James Lee Burke and Anthony Bourdain. Influenced by them. The publishing houses often said they were looking for something more Irish. But when I thought of Irish I kept thinking of emigration stories and more horseshit about what the church did. There was enough of that and more coming. Safe Irish guilt roaring off the shelves.

Teaching forced me to think about how Irish people talk. The way they say and describe things. The job meant a constant examination of form, sentence structure, and idiom. There was a unique poetry in the language of West of Ireland that other cultures found fascinating. It’s a show don’t tell vernacular that I reckoned hadn’t been properly explored in modern Irish fiction – or theatre. When I lived in Ireland I didn’t notice its value, because everyone talks and thinks this way. But when abroad, and learning the intricacies of all languages, it became something worth writing about.

Like Alchemy, what seemed like lead and useless in Ireland, became gold when looked at from an international perspective. Writers make this mistake all the time. Trying to sound so unlike themselves in a quest for absolute fiction – where it’s actually the opposite. The more true the better.

So I opened Fisherman’s Blues with the most Irish, some say controversial, modern phrase I could. It alienated a host of traditional readers, but engaged plenty more. And that was the plan. That’s always the plan. Break new ground, less about what’s already been done.

Mick.

Fisherman’s Blues.

Fisherman’s Blues – is the hilarious new novel from Mick Donnellan.Dark and audacious, written in a distinct West of Ireland vernacular, it covers a myriad of genres from Crime Noir to comedy and an odd bit of religion. Fresh in its language, vivid in its descriptions, the book sings with the signature style of all Donnellan’s previous work, and a bit more. Delving into the lives of drinkers, lovers, thieves and scam artists, the story weaves a web of intrigue and curiosity that ends with an unforgettable bang. Not without its poignant moments, the plot hinges on the chaotic consequences of three unlikely comrade’s attempts to save their lost relationships, while unintentionally ruining the plans of a rising criminal’s efforts to take over the city. The question is: Can they succeed? And if they don’t, what then? And where have the women really gone?

€9,99

Buy Fisherman’s Blues directly from Amazon here.

El Niño sent out, Gammy bluetooth, €100 voucher for Ryanair, letters with the word “Unfortunately”. #20 –

Was thinking of going travelling but agent says El Niño could pop any day. Be around Ireland in case we need to do some paperwork, sign some deals, edits, all that. A typical advance could be between €5,000 and €10,000. This was big shtuff.

Then. The first publishing house got back, nine months later, and said it’s not for us. We’re not taking risks with new writers at this time. Please feel free to send us your work in future. The second one was the same, six months later, and the third, 14 months later said they were concentrating on a new direction towards Biography, Sports and General Non Fiction. It was said to be unwise to send to them all at once in case two of them wanted it and there’d be a messy conflict and both of them might withdraw. Something like that.

We were working down the ladder from the top publishing houses to the lesser well known. And it was taking longer each time. I kept getting images of the book being used as a coffee coaster or a door jamb, or buried in a pile of dusty manuscripts beside an overworked unpaid intern, in some stuffy office with bad ventilation and a broken toilet.

The prevailing concept at the time was all about the first five pages. If the editor wasn’t hooked by then, they’d abandon the book for the next one. This is the only way they could get through two or three thousand novels a year and still have time to produce one, maybe two. These days, I reckon it’s down to the first line. Think about the amount of less time people have. The amount of distractions. At most, you have five seconds to make a good impression, after that it’s adios. The attention span is gone. Can’t handle the work. Readers get physically tired if the point isn’t immediately obvious. You’d wonder if there’ll be any readers left at all soon.

One day then, I was listening to the radio and it said call this number to enter the competition. I hadn’t heard what the competition was but I called it anyway. I was after getting one of them gammy Bluetooths that sit on your ear like a beetle and I wanted to try it out. So I stuck it on and let the world ring. Ring ring ring. Kept thinking of Echoes, by Pink Floyd. Next thing on comes your man, the DJ. Hello, he says, what’s the answer?!

I says Howya, what’s the question? No time, he goes. A or B? Quick Quick Quick. Five seconds. B so, I said. Congratulations he goes. You’ve just won a €100 voucher.

For what? I asked him.

Ryanair he said. Book a flight, go anywhere you want, have a good Summer. Bye Bye Bye. Shauna’s going to take your details, bye.

“Hello?’ Said Shauna. “Can I have your name and address please.’

Next thing I knew I was a TEFL teacher in Madrid.

Left the gammy bluetooth at home though. Looked a bit weird in fairness.

Shtop.

Mick.

Novel – El Niño (in Paperback).

El Niño is the exciting debut novel from Mayo man, Mick Donnellan. Slick, stylish and always entertaining, the story is a rollercoaster of drama and tension that hasn’t been seen in Irish fiction for a very long time. Charlie is our protagonist, the pick pocket that steals El Nino’s wallet and then falls in love with her. She’s the wild femme fatale, beautiful; enigmatic and seductive. She rocks Charlie’s world with her smoky wiles and drinking ways and her tough girl ideals. This is Noir at its best. Dark and edgy with crisp fresh dialogue and a plot that engages the reader from the first line and keeps them up all night – right through to it’s powerful finish.

€11,99

14 drafts of El Niño later. #19 –

The devil doesn’t want you to write. When things are going good, he’ll send a circus of excuses your way to throw you off.

I was on the 14th draft of El Niño  in a 12 month period. The last four were done with the agent (See #1) and, when this one was finished, the book would finally be ready.

The edits looked like this:

20180525_113221.jpg

Then.  Here’s your friend back from Australia as a surprise, big drink? Sorry can’t. What about that wedding you’re supposed to go to? Will do the afters. And drive home sober. Will you not have one? No. Here comes a sunny day, here comes a bunch of us going away for the weekend, want to go that party? No. I’m writing. Now the doorbell rings, an unexpected guest, looking for tea and shite talk. Then a Jehovah’s Witness, followed by the TV licence man.

These are all the exterior problems. After that comes everything else. You’re tired because you didn’t get enough sleep. The rent’s due again, you should be out working. The car needs fixing. Why not play some online Poker, make a few quid, then do your writing? Hey, you’re not going to concentrate much this morning, you’ll just make mistakes and have to do it all over again. Why not watch The Sopranos for a while until you wake up properly? I know, let’s do some research, there must be some Post Office or bank or something your characters are going robbing next. Who do we know working in a bank?

So I’d conquered all that. Figured the key is to write when you least want to. Anyone can write when they’re inspired, just like anyone can make money in a boom. When the bust comes, then what?’ You need to turn off the phone, don’t open the post, don’t answer the door and plug out the Internet. Ideally, don’t use a computer that has web access at all. If you do, you’ll spend the whole day online, messing around on Social Media or looking up rubbish on Google. The rule is: Writing is writing – everything else is not. If you’re not writing, you’re not writing. You’re doing something else and calling yourself a writer.

If you pick a time to finish – say 5pm – then you don’t finish at 4.59pm. Writing, like the safe in  El Niño is time locked. If you don’t wait the appropriate time, the safe doesn’t open. If you finish at 4.59pm then that sentence, the one you’ve been waiting for, that was going to change the whole structure of the book, will not be written. It’ll come all the way up to your conscious mind and be sitting there ready for you to pull the trigger but you say, screw it, I’m finishing early today, and the moment is lost. And that’s the sentence that’ll make your book endure.

Mick.

**

Novel – El Niño (in Paperback).

El Niño is the exciting debut novel from Mayo man, Mick Donnellan. Slick, stylish and always entertaining, the story is a rollercoaster of drama and tension that hasn’t been seen in Irish fiction for a very long time. Charlie is our protagonist, the pick pocket that steals El Nino’s wallet and then falls in love with her. She’s the wild femme fatale, beautiful; enigmatic and seductive. She rocks Charlie’s world with her smoky wiles and drinking ways and her tough girl ideals. This is Noir at its best. Dark and edgy with crisp fresh dialogue and a plot that engages the reader from the first line and keeps them up all night – right through to it’s powerful finish.

€11,99