The other week on Twitter, I saw a post about reviews for a new dark comedy book, and I jumped at the chance. The cover, as you can see, is eye goggingly good, and the title immediately entices you to know more. It is very apt for the book too!
I shan’t tell you any details about the book, as I detest spoiler reviews, but this book made me laughing from the first page. I would LOVE to see this made into television, and I think it works so well. Caimh himself talks about being able to pull off comedy and crime together, and this one has it in spades. A unique plot, you will love this book. I haven’t stopped laughing yet!
5 stars from me!
So Caimh, thanks for coming to chat to us today!
Q1. Can you tell us a little about your WIP?
I am currently working on the follow-up to A Man With One of Those Faces provisionally entitled The Day That Never Comes. I’ve finished a rough first draft and I currently am sitting beside a pinboard covered in 67 cards with various chapters mapped out on it. Those are in-turn, buried under layers of multi-coloured post-it notes with things I need to clarify, rework, insert or dump. I really like the rewriting process, it’s where the whole thing starts to take shape.
Q2.What’s next for the writing? What are you working on currently?
The Day That Never Comes featuring the three main characters from my last novel, plus some recurring secondary characters. I’m really excited about that as I’ve had numerous sitcoms optioned by TV development companies over the years but, for a vast array of reasons, none of them ever got commissioned. Essentially, I’ve been longing to write a second episode for about a decade now and I’m relishing it. The plot of the second book also feels like it is progressing into darker and more interesting areas. It is based around the idea that there are a lot of people who made a lot of money through dodgy business practices in Ireland, which resulted in our economy crashing a lot harder than it would have otherwise. The question at the heart of this novel is, what would happen if somebody tried to take their revenge on those people?
Q3. In addition to your books, what kind of career have you had?
I’ve been a professional stand-up and TV writer for about 15 years now. I’ve performed stand-up all over the world and I’ve written for a mix of mainstream topical shows on British TV and I’ve also created a lot of kid’s TV too. I take a great deal of pride in being a jobbing writer and whatever the task, being able to get the job done.
I’m also ‘The Voice of London Irish’ – the professional rugby club so I’m down making announcements in a stadium and rallying our fans every couple of weeks.
I’m very lucky in the sense that I have no hobbies. Through a combination of hard slog and luck, I’ve managed to make everything I love to do into a career.
Previous to all of that, I worked in IT. My last job was as a disaster recovery specialist for a large multinational. Hand-on-heart, I’d no idea what the hell I was doing. I used to sit in a stand-by building in Canary Wharf two days of every week, looking at millions of pounds of stop-end hardware and wonder if I could go to prison if they ever figured out how much I was bluffing.
Q4. A typical day in the life of you – what does that look like?
It varies wildly, but most days I get up about 9 am and head to my office for about ten. I’m lucky enough to be a member of a communal office space in Manchester that I share with cartoonists, composers and medical researchers – they’re a diverse and interesting bunch. I prefer it to having an office on my own as that can get a bit lonely. I’ll work away for a few hours, normally doing admin or booking gigs, unless I’ve got a specific writing job on the go. I then go for a sixty to ninety minute walk at some time in the middle of the day, which I am really getting into. If I’m writing, I’ll often record myself talking through stuff on my phone as I walk, then listen to it back and record more thoughts. I basically brainstorm with myself. That’s if I’m in the middle of a writing project, if not it is podcasts or an audiobook.
It’s then back to the office for a few more hours writing and either off to a gig that night or home to spend some quality time with the missus.
Q5. I collect elephant ornaments (and books of course!) – do you have something you collect?
Pokemon! Or at least it used be until a couple of weeks ago, I’m thoroughly bored of it now. Outside of that, since I stopped buying DVDs, nothing really. My wife gets very annoyed because I am an absolute nightmare to buy gifts for.
Q6. Women writers, and romance writers in particular, often see prejudice and a certain ‘pigeon holing’ when it comes to their books – what would you say about your own work?
While not a woman (sorry!), I guess I do get pigeonholed in my own way. Agents and publishers I’ve discovered seem to have very set and limited ideas on how comedy and crime writing can be combined. I’m a passionate believer that plot and character is the be-all and end-all and I think those can be mixed with comedy to give an enriching experience for the reader. The inclusion of comedy does not preclude a novel from being either dark or gripping. Fiction, like life, is all about light and dark.
Q7. If you could branch out into a different genre, which one would you choose and why?
When I write short stories, they tend a lot more towards the science fiction side of things. I think that’s because sci-fi is pretty much based on the principle of exploring new ideas and I think short stories are wonderful for doing that.
Q8. Do you have any tips for the budding novelists out there reading this?
From the feedback I get, most people seem to think that dialogue is the strongest part of my writing, which isn’t a big surprise I guess given my TV background. I never had any formal training in that but I did religiously acquire every book of TV and film scripts I could get hold of and I’d highly recommend that. Dialogue should be a living, breathing thing and seeing it done well really helps develop that. Devour absolutely everything ever written by Aaron Sorkin, for my money he is the greatest writer of dialogue there’s ever been.
Q9. What are you reading currently?
I have The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey on the go as an audiobook which I’m loving and I have the latest book by the brilliant Adrian McKinty waiting for me on my kindle, once I get a spare moment where I’m not working, sleeping or driving between those two things.
Q10. Finally, do you have a next goal or dream in life? If so, what is it?
Honestly, I want to take my lovely wife on a holiday. She loves to travel and she is overdue because living with a writer isn’t the easiest of lives!