Friday, November 14, 2014

The Interrogation of Brian O'Sullivan


Kia ora,
Please welcome our latest victim guest, Brian O’Sullivan (International man of mystery – seriously you try finding a photo of him and see how you get on!). On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.
In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation - you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a floatation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.

 Comfy?

Ah, I’m grand. Coffee in hand. Have noted the nearest exit.

1. What’s your favorite type of takeaway? (Yes, that means take-out in NZ speak)

I am partial to tender morsels of fried rabbit braised in Madeira sauce and served with a soupcon of lemon. Seeing as how the local chipper doesn’t have this on the menu, I usually go with a chicken burger.

2. Describe your current mental status.

Present. I am in the now!

3. I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?
Like John Cleese I get my best ideas from a Mr John A. Farkham, 234 Wilkim Drive in Nottinghamshire. He’s an excellent fellow and he’s provided me with some of best ideas and stories for years.

4. Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?

I’m currently working on two books, both from my Fionn mac Cumhal series. One of them is the third in the series, the other is a prequel to the series. I’m writing both at the same time as the prequel sets up some characters and contextual background I need for the third book in the series. Some readers have also expressed an interest in one of the characters from the series so the prequel is pretty much about her.

5. Do you have a favorite coffee or tea?

Simple long black, no milk or sugar. Actually asked for a long black back in Ireland earlier this year and they thought I meant a Guinness.

6. Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins… we don’t piss off the Admins.)

To be honest, I just don’t have a typical day. Because of the way I live, work and write, I’m constantly reacting to work needs, family etc. I quite like that. I don’t like predictability.
I tend to write where and when I can so I’m always carrying drafts or notes around with me, wherever I go.

7. Tell us about your main character. (How did you first meet? Would you like to hang out with him/her? What delights you the most about writing him/her? You get the idea …)

At present I have two main characters. One is Mos (Muiris O’Suilleabhain) from the Beara Trilogy and the second is Liath Luachra from the Fionn mac Cumhal series.

Mos is a distant cousin, also hailing from the Beara peninsula in County Cork (any O’Sullivan -O’Suilleabhain - you ever meet can trace back to that peninsula). Mos pretty much came together over the course of some research I was doing on Irish folklore. When I finally decided to expose my folklore wor though fiction, I needed a character who came from the place whose lore I know best and who worked in it as a profession. I like Mos because we share a cynical disregard for people in positions in authority who have no integrity. He is also cynical, secretive, sarcastic, and has an exceptionally weird past – all laudable characteristics for a portagonist.

Liath Luachra meanwhile appeared out of nowhere when I was writing a series on Fionn mac Cumhal, one of Ireland greatest mythological heroes. Although little more than a minor character in the original 12th century manuscript, by sheer force of personality she basically bullied her way into dominating the entire story. Essentially, she’s a woman warrior from back in the days when Ireland was a very violent place. She’s a force of nature, driven by many demons but that make her a formidable opponent and a fascinating character to write.

8. Who are your favorite writers?

God! So many. For thrillers probably Trevanian, Peter Hoeg, Arturo Pérez-Reverte - all thriller writers with superior and complex characters. Also for thrillers, Elmore Leonard and Raymond Chandler.
For adventure/fantasy I really enjoy Richard Morgan, Joe Abercrombie and many more.  Over the last few years with the dwindling free time, I’ve been increasingly reading more graphic novels. These are faster to read but the better writers retain the emotional and intellectual impact of a novel. I’d include Brian Wood, Dave Rucka and Warren Ellis in these.

9. Who inspires you to do better? (Be as corny as you’d like… just go for it! Mmmm chocolate fish.)

My mum, the Pope, Mother Theresa, the girl from the ‘Coke is it!’ ad …  

10. Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?

Haven’t had a pet since our last budgie ate all the wallpaper and died. Our family has had an unfortunate history with respect to pets. We could form a Pet Cemetery of our own that would make Stephen King jealous.

11. Describe your perfect day.

Coffee. Email from friends overseas. 45 minute run. 1000 words of writing. Dinner with the clan.

12. Who is your favorite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?
Don’t really have a favourite villain but some have really marked me. The most striking was Anton Chigurh from the movie ‘No Country for Old Men’. This guy just oozed lethality. Every time he appeared on screen you just tensed up because you never knew if he was going to kill someone or spare them. This sense of unease was something I tried very hard to reproduce with the main villain in Beara Dark Legends.

13. Do you have any quirks?
Ha ha ha

Yeah I laughed too – Cat

14. All-time favorite movie and why?

God! Too many for too many different genres and too many different reasons - but here goes. The Fifth Element, Shattered Glass, The Thirteenth Warrior, Persuasion, etc. etc.

15. Do you enjoy the editing process?

I enjoy the editing because most of the hard work has been done by then and you can see how the editor makes the final product that much better. I tend to write half-arsed sex scenes (pardon the unfortunate pun) so my poor editor has to correct all the physiological inaccuracies as well. Ha ha ha!
I’m very fortunate to have such a good one.

16. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Probably at 233 Wilkim drive in Nottinghamshire next to Mr John Farkham. I would say 235 but I think it’s since been demolished and replaced with a second hand bookshop.

17. What is one thing you know about New Zealand?  (Please do not mention LOTR or The Hobbit. Am well over them!)
Well I just looked out the window and it was pouring out of the heavens. There’s something I can tell you about New Zealand – its feckin raining!

18. Favorite Pizza topping?
Mushroom – Mmmm!

19. What were you before you became a writer?

Student, barman, rabbit-cleaner, QA Microbiologist for HP Sauce in Birmingham, TEFL English teacher in France, international liaison officer for French Blood Service, analyst, project manager, management consultant (and, of course, captain, cowboy, Indian chief!)

Back up a minute … rabbit-cleaner? International liaison office for French Blood Service? Making a note. Obviously they are topics I want to bring up when we catch up for that coffee!! -Cat

20. What is the most random thing you have ever done?

Moving to New Zealand. Australia wouldn’t have me!

21.  If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?

Reading, running, writing, yacking with friends.

22. Who is your ultimate character?

Uh …! What was the question again?

23. Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine? Or are you a tequila drinker like me?

Scotch or poitín if available and depending on the supplier.
Tequila when I absolutely desire oblivion. Next time you’re on tequila I’ll meet you under the table!

Deal! - Cat

24. Have you ever been to New Zealand? And if not, why not?

Yes. I just opened the door and popped outside. Glad to report it’s still there. Well done, everyone!

25. What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)

Not apocalypse prepared just very pleased to see you! That joke really isn’t going to save me when it all comes apart!

26. Laptop, PC, tablet?

Laptop. Happy medium for writers with a day job.

27. Ebook or tree book?

Ebook for when I’m travelling – stock up on about ten books and have a blast overseas. Otherwise always paper. I enjoy a book ten times more when I read it hardcopy.

28. Favorite apocalyptic scenario?

There’s no-on else alive apart from my partner. We live in a library or a DVD rental shop with operating electricity.
Oh, and we have an espresso machine.
And poitín!

29. Where do you do most of your writing?

My best writing usually in a really comfy armchair that’ somehow ended up in our bedroom. Goodo place to get away from the kids.

30. What’s the hardest thing for you when it comes to being an author? (For me it’s marketing but for others it’s the actual writing …)

Probably dealing with newspaper or magazine book reviewers who’re convinced that if you’re not part of an internationally known publishing company you’re not worth knowing. It’s changing slowly but these people are really shooting themselves in the foot.

31. Music … what do you listen to when you’re writing?

I don’t. I find it hard to get into the character and focus on writing – particularly if I’m writing a tense or an emotional piece – if someone’s crooning in the background. Kinda kills it for me.

You made it!! Damn, you rock. Now would you like to try for the chocolate fish? Mind the puddles … but hurry. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that delicious chocolate fish and a foot in a puddle ...
That laughter you hear is coming from The Knight, he probably won’t flip that switch he has his hand on. Maybe.


The temptation to add one of my own photos of Brian to this interrogation was pretty strong but I’ve resisted. Keeping his International Man of Mystery status intact.


You can find out more here: Irish Imbas Books

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