What is the title of your book?
Where did the idea for the book come from?
The stories are inspired by the sea.
What genre does your book fall under?
Short fiction – mostly contemporary, with a few historical stories.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’d like to find a role for Cillian Murphy, maybe as the young trawler captain who gets into trouble in ‘The Boat Trip’. But I’d have to write him a bigger part. Katie McGrath, (Morgana in Merlin) might be keen to play a non-evil character when the series ends. If so, she could be Lisa in ‘Neap Tide’.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A dozen or so short stories inspired by the sea, set in coastal locations from Ireland to New Zealand.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of a typical story in SaltWater?
Some of the first drafts were written in a day, others over a period of weeks or months. Typically the historical ones took longer to complete because although I fictionalised them, there were factual elements that I wanted to check. And cross check. An odd kind of Oulipo that comes into effect when creating stories inspired by real events: each writer has their own personalised ‘rules’ about what must be true to life and what it is desirable to make up.
What other books would you compare SaltWater to within your genre?
Come back to me on that one, or maybe a reader will tell me. I’m probably not far enough away from the book to be the best person to answer than.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Ooops, said that earlier — the sea. Always full of contrasts: gentle and calm one moment, wild and unpredictable the next.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The title story, ‘SaltWater’, is a fictionalised version of a family story. In August 1940 my grandfather’s cargo ship the Loch Ryan was attacked by German fighter planes in the neutral waters of the Irish Sea. My mother was already born, so the fact I am here does not give away the ending. This is actually one of the very first stories I remember being told as a child. Though of course I’ve gone and changed it.