We’re extremely lucky in Northern Ireland to have a brilliant independent bookstore called No Alibis in Belfast. You can find it nestled on Botanic Avenue – a bustling street populated with students and creative types, coffee shops and more. As well as selling crime fiction, which it’s very well known for, No Alibis also stocks a wide range of other fiction and poetry books, and often holds book launches and music nights. In short, it’s a Northern Irish gem when it comes to the arts.
So, this week, I enjoyed a double book launch in the store with none other than John Connolly and Brian McGilloway – from Dublin and Derry respectively. Both are thriller writers, although John Connolly was launching his latest collection of spooky short stories, Night Music: Nocturnes 2, while Brian McGilloway was debuting his latest DS Black book, Preserve the Dead. (You can read my official review of the evening here.)
Anyway, as we all know, there’s nothing like going to a literary event to get you inspired, and it was great fun listening to these two chat with host David Torrans about books and reading. I like that both of them prefer the feel of a traditional paperback in their hands rather than e-readers and that a mystery/detective book was the first type of book both of them read as kids as their first ‘reading alone’ book.
I also like the fact that Connolly, like myself, now keeps a book journal so he can remember what books he’s read in the year and that he’s a self-confessed bibliophile – he collects books and loves being surrounded by them; can’t resist them.
It’s always nice to see authors in the flesh, I think, and while everyone writes differently, hearing about their writing processes is intriguing. Connolly says he has nothing lurking in drawers that could be published – he writes with the purpose of publication and wants everything to be perfect (that’s the journalist in him I think!). McGilloway on the other hand, like most writers I’d say, has a drawer of half-finished or discarded pieces of writing – for a rainy day. He might use an idea or two from these at a later stage; Connolly however, doesn’t work this way. He added that for him, writing a novel was a two-year process, which is interesting to hear in this world of seemingly speedy wordsmiths. But again, everyone has their own ways and habits of writing.
Myself? Well, it was a week of nights out for me this week with work and what not and, as I usually squeeze my writing into the darkening hours, I had to wait until today (Sunday) to do some scribbling. But my hand could not be stayed thankfully, and I managed to write a chunk of my latest story, as well as a wee poem. (How good these poems are remains to be seen, but I’ve amassed a fair few over the past couple of weeks, using my early childhood as inspiration, and I quite like them anyway!)
The important thing is – to keep writing and to keep being inspired. 🙂