Updated: Aug 12, 2019
This morning, I sold a copy of Serenity Song to a wonderful couple from Colorado on their 25th Wedding Anniversary. We had bumped into each other in 'Ireland's Most Haunted Castle' and within minutes I was instinctively pitching my book. And yesterday I did the same, to a hotel receptionist in Birr who was unfortunate enough to be sitting in my general proximity as I hijacked their free WiFi. I have only this minute returned from Nenagh where I persuaded an affable tour guide at the town's Heritage Centre to download a copy of the ebook. I swear to God that whilst I was eating lunch on Pearse Street, I spied across the road a radio station and if I hadn't been chin deep in sandwich, I'd have marched into Tipp FM and demanded a microphone so I could tell everybody listening what a thoroughly wonderful book I have written.
Where did this shamelessness come from?
What has made me such a brazen hussy; willing to peddle literature for dollars?
TO COUPLES ON THEIR ANNIVERSARY!
(Although - I can't seem to change the dollars anywhere, and at least they got a cracking novel out of it.....)
See! There I go again!
It wasn't long ago that I was shamefacedly mumbling about how I'd written something that was imperfect, green and quite frankly, a little bit embarrassing - and everybody should forget all about it. But now, if anyone in Ireland happens to smile at me in the street, they are at risk of being followed home and sold a book by a man wearing orange trousers.
How did this happen?
What turned me into the Del Boy of the written word?
Well, the story begins a couple of months ago in York.
I found myself in a small music venue with a good friend. It was a Monday night and those who'd braved the unrelenting rain of the last few days stood soggily in steaming clumps nodding slowly at each other, holding warm, amber pints. There were an inordinate amount of beards and greying pony tails. Lots of black. There were a couple of representatives of the fairer sex - but not many. This was a decidedly 'boy thing' or, to be more accurate, middle-aged man thing. These guys were musos, and there was an earnestness about them that I'd not come across at a gig before. I'd promised a friend of a friend that I'd come and listen to her band, ON A MONDAY, even though drinking on a 'school night' rarely turns out well for me. But here I was, aping everybody else's considered cool and sipping slowly on something a bit whiffy.
The band I'd come to see consisted of a guy with a sampler - who looked like a much hipper version of Will Self - and a virtuoso violinist who was going to improvise to the sampled sounds. This was no Take That tribute act. Unsurprisingly, it got very weird very quickly. Hip Will Self started growling and (impossibly) speaking in runes - the violin was plucked and sawed and shivered. It was a little bit like a troll with Tourettes violently murdering a string quartet. But it was captivating - because this was their art and they were fearlessly sharing it with us. And as I listened, I realised something: It didn't matter how good Serenity Song was. It didn't matter how many copies it sold. It didn't matter if nobody alive liked it. It was my art and it was going to be out there soon. And there was nothing I could do to stop it!
So I left that venue unashamed. Liberated. Excited to unleash upon an unsuspecting public a narrative that had only existed in my mind.
Since that evening, I have launched the book in Waterstones - where every last copy sold out - and then again in Ireland where fellow authors, literature-junkies and local journalists came to a converted convent on a Saturday morning just to listen to me talk about Serenity Song and buy a signed copy. So far the reviews have been overwhelmingly great and the support I've had from everybody has been humbling. I am feeling the love - and I haven't felt that for a long time.
All the fear, the worry that I was hoodwinking the world has gone. I have written a novel. Lots of people like it. And I want to share it with as many people in the world as I can.
So, reader, if you've read it, and you like it - be a bit Finn - share it with everyone you know. And if there is something creative inside you that needs to come out - let it live. It's your baby and every mother loves her own.