Recently I ran a series Public Relations for Authors which focused on how we are perceived by those who view our profile photographs, biographies and presence on social media. This included guest posts on other writer’s blogs. Here is an opportunity to not only promote your own blog or books, but those of someone you admire as well.
Is there an inspiring individual, blogger or an author you would like to give a boost to who might enjoy joining you for a coffee and a piece of cake with us all?
Details on how to participate are at the end of this first post in the series.
Author Jane Buckley of Stones Corner, Turmoil interviews her guest Eamonn Lynch
I met debut writer Eamonn Lynch in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, in early 2021, and immediately we struck up a sincere friendship that I believe will last a lifetime!
Eamonn’s first book, Get That Boy Home is a fictional tale based on his time growing up above the family pub in Bishop Street, Derry/Londonderry, leading up to and during ‘The Troubles’ as well as a period spent as an internee in Long Kesh, men’s prison in the early 1970s. Eamonn looks back at a time when a ‘wee voice’ in his head kept telling him to write a book and reveals his decision to dedicate it to his late brother, Hugh, who died in December 2017 after a short illness.
Eamonn says: “He is still very much alive in mine and all our family’s hearts and minds. So, a dedication to Hugh for that reason alone is entirely justified. However, Hugh was also instrumental in the title of my book, Get That Boy Home, which comes from a terse telephone call from my daddy in Derry to Hugh in London in 1969 when I was in danger of becoming another young Derry man lost to England. Hugh got me home. What an act of love that collusion with my dad turned out to be. He would have been so proud to see my book in print.
Get That Boy Home falls into the genre of historical fiction and sets out to capture the mood and experiences of the times leading up to, during and beyond ‘The Troubles,’ told through the story of its lead character, Dan Feeney.
Eamonn says whilst the book is fictional, it is based on his own personal experiences.
“I think it’s virtually impossible to write my first book taking in those times in Derry without resorting to personal experience. However, the chapters on family and school life are typical of my life during those wonderful times. It was lovely and indeed surreal to relive my childhood through the prism of Dan Feeney, with the vocabulary, cynicism and humour of an adult looking back into that period as a child and young boy in the 1950s and 1960s. The hilarious story of Dan Feeney’s first date could only come from personal experience!”
“As a teenager who became an active republican after the introduction of internment in August 1971, I felt well able to mesh and merge fact and fiction to mix authenticity, creativity and drama to ‘The Troubles’ elements of the book. The chapter that covers internment in Long Kesh certainly reflects personal experiences, as I was interned during 1974/75.
“However, this is not a book solely about ‘The Troubles,’ it’s more about how a fairly normal boy and teenager found himself immersed into those times of a harsh educational system and a bigoted and unequal political one.”
The book also deals with Eamonn’s various human experiences, challenges, relationships, excessive drinking, and gambling.
He adds: “My own life has, to some extent, mirrored many of these themes but again the freedom to use imagination allowed me to add humour, pathos, tension, contradiction and controversy that, hopefully, makes the book enjoyable and takes the reader to places of identification, judgement, empathy, hilarity and sadness by engendering those emotions and reflections when reading Get That Boy Home.”
He adds the book is based, ‘but not entirely,’ on real people.
He adds: “The school and college chapters draw on my own memories of what to me seemed like the infliction of education and Catholicism on children by nuns, Christian Brothers, priests and lay teachers who, in hindsight, certainly had an abundance of knowledge to pass on, but were not equipped with the social skills to be around children and teenagers.
“I also used other characters that I knew or had heard about to fit into various roles throughout ‘The Troubles’ stories. I think this adds to the authenticity of the overall book.”
About 20 years ago, I started writing poems on many themes, and I still do. That was probably the lead-in to gaining the confidence to take on a book.”
He adds: “I’m one of those people who had a voice in my head saying, ‘there’s a book in you’ but a louder voice told me ‘The cheek of you to think you could write a book!” Eventually, the voices quietened after I had a ‘what the heck moment, and I just started writing. Now, I have published this book and have two more germinating.”
He says three words describe his feelings at the book being published: “Relief, satisfaction and joy. Having the printed book in my hand instilled a quiet pride in the achievement of writing and publishing a book. Even yet, I find it hard to refer to myself as a writer or an author. And those two labels will never eclipse being a dad, a grandfather, a brother, a friend, and a Derry man. Writing is my hobby; all those other things are my life.”
Having been privileged to read Get that Boy Home just before its publication, I can honestly say I still smile when I think of its first chapter and the images that came into and remained in my mind. It’s an extremely witty, absorbing, and at times, sad and poignant read, however I look forward to the following two books’ germinating’ in Mr Lynch’s head!
About Get That Boy Home
Get That Boy Home is a compelling, evocative, authentic, poignant, thoughtful and extremely witty tale of a young man’s experiences as the Troubles exploded onto the streets of Derry.
It falls into the genre of historical fiction which gives space and opportunity for truth and imagination to blend seamlessly into a very readable and enjoyable tale. Eamonn Lynch’s book sets out to capture the mood and heartbeat of the times leading to, during and beyond the Northern Ireland Troubles and is relayed from the perspective of fictional character Dan Feeney, a fairly typical young Derryman of that era.
It begins with Feeney as a middle-aged jogger, full of cynicism, sarcasm, humour, self-effacement and lack of self-control, struggling his way along the banks of the River Foyle. The pace of Lynch’s book, is much quicker than Dan’s laboured jogging, as it plunges you into his exciting, chaotic, moving and hilarious life.
From that point, the reader is taken back in time, beginning with a harsh education system, enthusiastically administered by often cruel nuns, Christian Brothers and priests who left an innocent Dan Feeney scarred emotionally and mentally for decades to come. Dan is characteristic of many of his contemporaries during the late 1950s and 1960s.
This is not just another Northern Ireland Troubles story, but an authentic account of the social and political systems of the time told with humour and pathos, by someone who was there, through the lens of Dan Feeney. You can discover more about the book Amazon UK
One of the recent reviews for the book
Against the backdrop of the Troubles and through the eyes of the flawed but lovable Dan Feeney, author Eamonn Lynch paints a perfect picture of what life was like for a young, working-class Derryman trying to navigate his way through those fraught, uncertain and brutal times.
Written in a punchy and fluent style and with great insight and compassion, this book is laugh-out-loud funny in some parts and almost unbearably moving in others.
The Long Kesh chapters, in particular, are profoundly affecting, and written, as the entire book is, with utter authenticity and devastating honesty.
Get That Boy Home is Lynch’s love letter; to family, to friends, to Derry.
A wonderful piece of writing that comes straight from the heart.
About Jane Buckley
Jane Buckley has been an avid reader all her life and if the opportunity had existed when she was younger would have loved to become a journalist. She began writing her first novel in 2017 but put the manuscript away in a drawer for a couple of years.
Jane used the lockdown period to finish the book – now ‘Stones Corner: Turmoil’ – and describes the writing experience as her ‘salvation’ during the pandemic.
Jane lives just outside Derry, Northern Ireland. She is married to John and has two daughters Cassie who lives in Oxford and Maggie who lives in Auckland NZ with grandchildren Charlie and Alba.
One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads
Jane has a wonderful way of writing, she gently guides the reader into the story and without realising when the transition happened you find yourself sitting alongside her characters or walking the streets of Derry city with them. Walking to the factory with the young Catholic Caitlín and her best friend, listening to them chat, I felt I was laughing with them. I cried too when on a much anticipated shopping trip one of young innocent girls were brutally injured by a bomb blast – an everyday occurrence.
The reality of life in Northern Ireland was brought home in the words of Jane Buckley as she led us through the Troubles of Derry City and the lives shattered by the conflict and war. How could we empathise with the handsome but privileged James, nephew of the factory owner – but yet, somehow, we do! We feel Caitlin’s youngful anticipation of first love through her dangerous liaison with the Scottish protestant James. We somehow understand how the youth can be cajoled or angered into uprise and violence. Above all we feel the joy and the utter heartbreak and devastation that the conflict has on all families and all of the individuals – no-one escapes unscathed.
A superbly constructed thriller, written in a style that is accessible to those of us who may never really understand what it is like to live in a war zone; the backdrop for their lives, it’s not extraordinary to them, it is, shockingly, their everyday lives. Stones Corner really makes this clear to the reader, despite the warzone, despite the bombings, the threat, the constant fear, these real people must live their lives.
This book transports us into the very shoes of the characters and allows us for a short time to walk in their shoes and hear their thoughts and feel their emotions.
A thriller with a lot of backbone and an enormous depth. It keeps the reader holding his breath to see what is going to happen next.
I loved it and I am so looking forward to the sequel. Thanks to Jane Buckley for Stones Corner. Read it!
My thanks to Jane for introducing us to Eamonn and his book and thank you for joining us for coffee this morning.
I hope to hear from you with the information about your guest and your work (if you have not been featured here before).. thanks Sally.
Some ideas of the guests you might bring to coffee.
- An author you have just read for the first time who you would like to introduce us to.
- A blogger who is very supportive of your own blog or books.
- A new blogger who you would like to showcase
- An author or blogger who inspires you and your work.
- A blogger who goes out of their way to support others by reviewing books and promoting on social media.
- Someone in the public eye who is inspirational to others in medicine, charity, education, who has overcome challenges to succeed.
- Anyone you feel deserves a boost.
The format of the post
- An introduction by you of around 200 to 400 words about your guest. Be creative and tell a good story
- Their photograph, biography, Amazon or book links and if you have them their social media links. I will find if not.
- Your photo, biography, Amazon or blog links and social media links (if you are in the Cafe and Bookstore I will have those).
Send your introduction and the links to email@example.com and we can sort out a date to air your post.