“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Future’s So Bright, We Gotta Wear Goggles

First off, a belated happy New Year; and thanks to everyone who has been in touch to see if I’d fallen down a well, or had a nervous breakdown, or had some natural disaster befall me. Christmas was hugely enjoyable, especially as Lily was just about old enough to appreciate it for the first time; and even though we’ve been snowed or iced in for what seems like a couple of years now, we’re all safe and warm and in very good form.
  The reason for the radio silence on the blog is going to sound a bit selfish, I’m afraid. Basically, early in December, I was putting together a piece to upload when it dawned on me (very late, but I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer) that it was a little bit perverse that I couldn’t find the time to write for myself, but had time to promote other writers. In fact, it was counter-intuitive, particularly as I’ve had a story screaming around my head since even before I announced I was going to stop writing. In fact, that story was the reason I made that announcement; knowing I wouldn’t have the time to do it justice, I wanted to draw a line under the writing for the foreseeable future.
  What has happened in the last month, then, is that with the time I’ve stolen away from blogging, and with extra time available over the holidays, I’ve made a start on a new story. Right now I’m about five thousand words in, which isn’t a huge amount for a month’s work (there were a couple of false starts), and loving it; I’ve had decent feedback from a couple of people whose opinions I trust; and there’s a real fire to the writing that I haven’t felt now in a few years, even if (and perhaps because) the story is probably the least commercial one I’ve ever taken on (sorry, Al). So, upward and onward on that score: hopefully, as the year wears on, I’ll still be able to find the time to keep working away at it.
  What that means for the blog I really don’t know. I can definitely say that I’ll be blogging far less than I used to; and I can also say that the occasional posts will very probably be more me-oriented than of yore; and having said that, I have no doubt that I’ll be featuring other writers besides me. But – a good complaint to have in these times – I’m busier than ever with work, the actual paying kind, and with the writing taking precedence over the blog (which is as it should be, and something I think I lost sight of over the last few years), the posts will probably be so intermittent as to be virtually useless. We’ll see how it goes.
  Meantime, it looks like being an interesting year. I’ve already been on TV, on RTE’s The View, which was good fun to do (January 5th, for those interested); the collection of essays from Irish crime writers, DOWN THOSE GREEN STREETS, is with a publisher awaiting a green light; I have two novels still under consideration from publishers; a couple of invites to summer festivals have already come in; I’m hugely enjoying the story I’m working on; and all in all, it feels like a very fecund time. Despite the cold snap we’re having here in Ireland – and it’s a historical event at this stage, and snowing again as I write, with 10 cms due tomorrow, and temperatures of -13 forecast for tonight – we’re already three weeks past the shortest day of the year, and the sun is on its way back, and the sap is rising. I sincerely hope that all of you are in as fine a fettle.

21 comments:

adrian mckinty said...

I heard that you fell down a well and then had a nervous breakdown (rather like the philosopher Thales).

Welcome back.

Stuart Neville said...

Great to see you back, Dec, and it sounds like you've got your priorities spot on. Good luck with everything, and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

Keith Rawson said...

I'd rather see you writing fiction than blogging, but welcome back!

Donna said...

Dec - while I have missed your blogging,I am REALLY glad to hear that you are writing again. Quite made my year - of course, it IS only January 9th. So hurry up and finish it :o)
Donna

Ali Karim said...

Hi Declan,

I realised you were taking a break, hence didn't call you when I was in Dublin over Christmas - and to be fair I did a fair amount of chillin' myself with the family

Good to see you back

Ali

BV Lawson said...

As a writer, freelancer, and blogger with a family (minus an adorable Lilyput), I'm in your same boat, Declan. Each of the above can be a full-time experience all its own, but it you don't find the time for a creative outlet, it's as if the universe is sucking your soul into a giant black hole. As far as we know, we only get one life (with apologies to Hindu friends), so you gotta make time for endeavors which help make existence more than just existing. Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.

Bill H said...

Dec,

Welcome back! Glad to hear that all is well and that you are back writing again. That is great news. While I missed your blog entries, I would much rather read another of your books.

Bill H

Naomi Johnson said...

Better than seeing a new post from you, is learning that you're in a good place with your writing.

It's a pity that no one else I know of has taken up the mission of promoting Irish crime fic via the blog, but it would be a greater pity - a calamity even, if you gave up your own creative writing to do it.

Patricia J. Hale said...

Great news (like the shot of Lily in googles by the way). You'll find the right spot. Funny how the cold and snow can be fantastic. Kids know it but we forget.

Dana King said...

I wondered what you were up to, then I saw the picture of Lily at the top of this post and almost didn't read the rest. No other reason to drop out of sight is necessary.

seana said...

Great to see the post, and I think the adjustment of priorities is right. I think in the blogosphere, it's not an all or nothing proposition. Post once a month, post only about yourself, we don't care. Just don't drop off the map. I think it would be in your own self-interest not to, if that helps.

Not many people could pull off those glasses, but luckily, your daughter is one of the fortunate few.

bookwitch said...

We could all do with a Lilyput in out lives.

And how bad is your memory? Have said more than once that self centred blogs are the best. Even if only once a month.

Nice to see you again, btw.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Welcome back, and a happy new year to young Four-Eyes and her parents.

Critical Mick said...

Good to see the post, Dec- was about to send Mountain Rescue up your way. Even better to hear you're onto something new. All the best to you in 2010, amigo!

Pepper Smith said...

Writing is one addiction that's very, very difficult to break free of. But who really wants to?

Glad to see you're at it again!

Deborah Lawrenson said...

No-one who cares as much about writing as you do could hold off for long! Happy New Writing Year, Dec - and keep that fire-flame going.

Dorte H said...

Actually I have often wondered how so many writers have the time to write fiction AND those great blogs. Perhaps the truth is that one hasn´t, really.

So good luck to you, and remember to keep your priorities straight! I love good blogs, but I love good crime fiction even more.

Michael Malone said...

Good to have you back, fella - and best of luck for everything. Love the photo BTW.

Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

Nice piece.

In the pink here...

Happy New Year.

kevin said...

welcome back, man. i tol' u, u can't quiet down them voices... have u got the irish times tv gig, as well? i saw u on the view. ur no carrie crowley but hey...nice work anyway! happy new year. kevin mccarthy

Pepper Smith said...

Oooo, a hefty plate of spam!