After having a lot of fun doing last week’s feature, I decided to branch out and ask more authors to join in. Luckily, some agreed! This week, I spoke to Peadar Ó Guilín, author of The Bone World Trilogy.
Peadar currently lives in Dublin, where he toils day and night for a giant computer corporation. The first book in his trilogy, The Inferior, which was published in 2007, was hailed as “a stark, dark tale, written with great energy and confidence and some arresting reflections on human nature” by the Times Educational Supplement. Two more titles were to follow: The Deserter in 2011, and the closing volume, The Volunteer, in June 2014.
Alongside his trilogy, Peadar has also written short stories. His stories have appeared in numerous venues, including Black Gate magazine and an anthology celebrating the best of the iconic Weird Tales. More recently, his Irish horror stories have been turning up in podcasts, which can be found at pseudopod.org.
In 2012, I went to TitanCon in Belfast, which was a fantastic experience. I’d heard of Peadar earlier that year, but when I found out he was going to be at TitanCon, I thought I’d better give The Inferior a go. Grumbling that I “don’t usually like this genre”, I ordered the book from Amazon. But as soon as I opened the first page, I was hooked. I absolutely loved it (it was also great to meet him at TitanCon, of course!). Marketed as YA fiction, The Inferior is a science fiction/fantasy novel that follows the life of young Stopmouth, named such because of his stutter. Stopmouth and his family are part of the Human Tribe, which has made alliances with some of the other creatures inhabiting their planet in order to “trade flesh”, while hunting the others. The weakest members of the tribes are “volunteered” for the honour of trading flesh with each other. But everything begins to change when Indrani, a beautiful, mysterious stranger, falls from the sky.
Imaginative, vivid, and disturbing, The Inferior is comprised of a world so believable and real, that you can’t help but be drawn in. Peadar has the amazing ability to create dynamic and engaging characters, which, along with the other creatures, make for a fantastic read. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two novels, and when I heard that The Volunteer had finally been released, I rushed out to buy it.
I decided to ask Peadar some questions about his writing process. His mother taught him to read when he was 3, and he started writing not long after that. When I asked where he got his ideas from, he said “I have a particular way of viewing the world. I’m obsessed with bullies and exploitation. A part of my mind just keeps hammering at these subjects. Whether I’m asleep or awake, it’s always trying to find new ways to present these ideas to others so that some day this part of me will finally feel it has been understood. Then, I suppose, I’ll be able to start writing about something else!”
His tip for aspiring writers is to love what you’re writing. If you do,“there is a chance that others will like it enough to buy it. But if you merely like what you’ve written, it’s not ready yet, or you need to be writing something else”. Prior to getting published, Peadar wishes he’d known that other people will tell you what your weaknesses are if you let them, and that you need to be aware of them yourself, in order to improve your writing skills. “Every writer has a weakness and all of these weaknesses, other than a basic lack of imagination or empathy, can be fixed”.
Peadar always has something in the pipeline. Currently, there’s a dystopian detective novel in its fifth draft, and a Big Fat Fantasy novel in its third draft. “I’m expecting to complete the first draft of a YA fantasy novel by August, and I’m already learning Old Irish as research for the project I’ll be starting after that”.
Peadar will be at WorldCon in London, which runs from 14th-18th of August. After that, his next appearance will be at Eurocon in Dublin the following week. “Come and say hello! It’s extremely rare these days that I randomly murder people”.
Are you an author, or do you know one? If you’re interested in doing a similar interview with me, get in touch! I’d love to hear from you.