Did I get that right, David? :-)
See what I did there? I broke out a little Irish to welcome our latest guest.
David hails from Ireland, but has spent many years teaching in Boston, MA and Madrid, Spain. He and his lovely wife now call Pamplona, Spain home, where they live with their gorgeous little daughter. Still teaching, David's passion has always been writing.
His first published works were poetry which were published in various publications in his mid to late teens. It was in his late teens he turned his hand to novel writing.
Let's back up a little. David is Irish, hailing from the oldest established town in Ireland, Dun Laoghaire (est 497AD), which was founded by Norse pirates. For the Anglophiles, that's pronounced Dun Leery. With such a rich history at his doorstep, it's no wonder David's imagination kicked off early. And being Irish, the poet in him found an easy exit. But David's interests run deep. A graduate of UCD (University College Dublin), David studied environmental biology, and later studied deer biology for his PhD. Yep, we'll call him Doctor David :-) He also holds a deep passion for wolves and predator-prey interactions.
Which brings me full circle back to Leaving the Pack. David has pulled in many of his interests in writing this story, including his love of wolves, predatory-prey interactions, biology, his poetic voice, and his genetic Irish makeup of telling a good yarn.
Leaving the Pack is Paul McHew's story. The intro to the story blurb hits the plot right on the head -- 'Nobody believes in werewolves. That's just what Paul McHew and his friends are counting on.' Blam! There it is. Paul's a werewolf, and you know his friends are part of a greater pack of werewolves living in the city. They walk among us, unknown . . . until the full moon. But their kind are racing toward extinction so they're now forced to marry outside their race if they're going to survive. When Paul meets Susan, the issue of just marrying to procreate flies out the window. His heart gets involved. But can he trust her with is secret, and will she still want him once she knows what he really is?
Leaving the Pack will appeal to a variety of readers. As a horror romance with urban-gothic undertones, David hits it on the first strike with a gritty thriller running right along side an emotional romance. This story is more than romantic suspense, more than horror with a minor love interest, more than a contemporary paranormal. It's all those things, and then some. David uses his poetic voice to pull readers into the story quickly through instant imagery which continues throughout the story. His characters are very well developed, leaving you wondering, do werewolves really walk among us? And that's the point of a really good story . . . to make you wonder, even as you close the book, right? Leaving the Pack is a fabulous start of the Silver Nights Trilogy. I can't wait to see what he has in store for us in book two.
Before we get to the blurb and excerpt, we managed to corral David for a quick chat.
Remember, we'll be giving away a copy of this book to one lucky commenter, so be sure to leave your contact email address so we can reach you if you win.
And be sure to buy a copy of this book, as David has promised 10% of the profits of this book to the World Wildlife Federation! Wolf preservation, no doubt! ;-)
• • •
Welcome, David, and thanks for taking time to chat with us today. Just reading your bio makes my head spin. You're one busy man. How do you fit all of your interests in with your busy work schedule and family life? Do you grab what you can as you can, or do you work by a set schedule? What's your daily writing routing like?
Erratic. This is the first year I haven't been working as a teacher, so I have more time now. Before, I wrote when I was done with correcting in the evening instead of watching TV. On weekends I usually tried to sit down for a couple of hours, but it was slow going. Now I only work part time, but I don't have a very disciplined routine. If I have the morning free I usually sit down once my wife goes out to work and I get myself together. I work for an hour or two and then do errands or the other way around. I collect my daughter from her creche, and go home for lunch, then back to the creche and off to work. I always have a notebook with me, so if I am in the park or wherever, I scribble away. In the evenings I sit down with the laptop and type up notes and if I have the brain power left, do some writing. On the weekends I still try to make a few hours for myself, especially if we go to my wife's family's house in a small village called Amatriain in a part of Navarra nicknamed the Tuscany of spain.Wow, you do sound busy, but what a place to live in to write! Look at the Amatriain fields! Would it make you homesick to know the rapeseed fields are in bloom here in Ireland too?
When you're home, wife is at work and daughter in creche, and it's your day off teaching, what inspires you to write? Do you have a dedicated space? With the image of the above field, you have a lot to live up to here. Tell us about your writing space.
|Readers -- Click on the photo to enlarge to see the|
clothes line next door.
I have lots, since I write on a laptop, that is never far from me. I have an office with an old desk that was taken from a closing down school. It's a cosy place in winter and evenings as it's the smallest room in the house and heats up quickly. In the spring and summer, though, the light is much nicer in the living room and kitchen. The views are nicer too! We live in the centre of the old town of Pamplona. From my office I have a view of the neighbour's balcony about 6 yards away, where they hang their clothes to dry, and boy do they do a lot of laundry (there's around 5 kids, plus grandparents living there)!
|Readers -- Click on the photo to enlarge to see|
the lovely church windows. Also note the
artwork on the wall -- "food and water around
the corner, kitty." :-)
However, we have, from the back of the house, views of the refectory of the cathedral and some old buildings from the archdioceses, and beyond a large garden, the hills east of the city and the Pyrenees beyond (but you have to stand on tiptoe to see them!) Depending on the light I'll sit either by the kitchen window or the living room balcony door and in between sentences I usually gaze out there and watch the birds fly by. The walls of the city are just 100 yards away and below them is a river valley which isn't really built up too much, so in addition to the usual pigeons and sparrows in the city, we have blackbirds and titmice (chickadees) and also kestrels, and there's often some big birds like storks and vultures stuff flapping past over the valley.
|Readers -- Click on the photo see the calf. Love the dairy|
bell on the heifer. Very quaint!
In the village, I have another old desk in my bedroom, but I usually write in a common room with a balcony door where I can look across the valley, past the horses and cows under the house. If it's cold (and believe me, Chicago has nothing on this village for being windy) because the house is only used at weekends, I'll sit downstairs at the dining room table, with the same view but an open fire at my back (and more distraction from people coming and going, but since most of them can't read English and they're used to me correcting schoolwork, they usually ignore me!).
If I'm writing poems, I often take a stroll to the city walls and sit there looking at the mountains. I don't spend as much time in the nice cafes around town as I think a fan of Hemingway should because I bring better tea from Ireland than they serve there!Hang on a second . . . Sorry, just checked Aer Lingus for flights to Pamplona. Booked out! Too bad, I was ready to pack my bags. What a wonderful location you live in, and are able to write from. So much inspiration. Seems like it would be difficult to keep you indoors for too long, even if you're writing. What do you enjoy doing when you're not writing?
I love just being out in the natural world, watching wildlife. In Ireland my hobby was deer hunting. I still hunt when I am home in season, but here I just take my camera out and try to get snaps and video of the roe deer and wild boar around the village. It takes the same skills, but it's not quite as exciting, and I miss the venison. I cycle everywhere and have a mountain bike in the village to go for long cycles around the hills, which are really picturesque. I have been doing less of that lately, though, since I am trying to be more disciplined in getting writing done. I would like to do some fishing, but again, I'm too attached to my pen right now. I read, of course, and listen to books on MP3 which saves lots of time, since I can get through much more while I do other things.
Sounds like you have the ideal life of a writer. You've really made me yearn to see an area I never knew about. But I shouldn't have been surprised. You have a way with words in your book. It had to have come from somewhere . . . the poet living deep within you!
Thank you so much for coming indoors for a while to chat with us, and for hanging out today to chat with readers who may stop by.
Readers, as a reminder, David is donating 10% of his royalties on the sale of Leaving the Pack to the World Wildlife Federation. That's 50c for every book you buy, so get ta clicking! Start here.
And don't forget that your comment could net you a free copy of this book. Be sure to leave your contact email.
• • •
Nobody believes in werewolves.
That's just what Paul McHew and his friends are counting on.
They and their kind roam our city streets: a race of people from whom the terrible legend stems; now living among us invisibly after centuries of persecution through fear and ignorance. Superficially Caucasian but physiologically very different, with lunar rhythms so strong that during the three days of the full moon they are almost completely controlled by their hormonal instincts, you might have cursed them as just another group of brawling youths or drunken gang-bangers. Now at the point of extinction, if they are to survive, their existence must remain restricted to mere stories and legend, but, paradoxically, they also must marry outside their society in order to persist.
The responsibility for negotiating this knife-edge is given to Paul, who runs the streets with his friends during the full moon, keeping them out of real trouble and its resultant difficult questions. Having succeeded for years, he finds his real test of leadership comes when he meets Susan, a potential life-mate, to whom he will have to reveal his true identity if he is ever to leave his pack.
“God, I love this town!” Paul McHew said. He gazed from the window of his sixth-floor apartment out across the city and the foaming sea beyond. The sun was setting and the rooftops of the neighboring buildings were cast in shadow, their grime and decrepit state obscured. Farther off, the skyscrapers that housed the downtown banks and financial institutions were bathed in the last crimson rays of sunlight. Behind the city, sitting just below the eastern horizon, a pale yellow moon was slowly rising up over the sea into the darkening sky.
Unseen, between the run-down constructions that spread out from Paul’s ancient redbrick building and the better kept houses and shops a mile off, the Wilneff River ran south, narrow and fast as it rushed from the mountains far behind his loft apartment. It turned east to the sea and was now visible as a dark line devoid of street lights, widening as it flowed into the harbor. It separated the tall business district on the south bank from the lower warehouses and factories that spread out from the riverside docks on the north side. These merged with houses near the shore, a few miles north of his vantage point and closer to the river before it curved east, while south of downtown, shopping malls turned to apartment blocks and suburban housing estates nearer the coast.
Clad only in black jeans, he’d opened the chipped and rotting wooden window frame to feel the warm wind rush across the skin of his muscular torso and dry the last of the water droplets from the shower he’d just taken, which clung to the thick mat of coarse hair that covered his body. The gusting air played with his damp, shoulder-length hair as it forced its way into the loft, but it showed little tendency to take up much more moisture. It was already almost saturated. Paul could smell the rain that was on its way. The clouds were quickly building up as the air temperature dropped after a sultry day.
On the brick windowsill, a few white flakes of paint had fallen from the frame, as they did every time he slid up the window. As he deeply inhaled the humid breeze, the bits were blown onto the corrugated iron roof of a dilapidated lean-to in the dingy back yard five floors below.
The sight of the rising moon exhilarated him. As he put his head and torso outside the window and let out a long, ear-piercing howl, he felt his heartbeat begin to quicken, ever so slightly. When he could exhale no more, he banged the glass above his head and grinned.
He gulped another lungful of air, sucking in the feeling of the coming night, and reveled in the excitement of what would happen when the sun died completely.
It had been many years since his first foray into the silver light that would soon bathe the streets before him. Uncountable nights under the full moon, striding up and down each street and thoroughfare, exploring every alley and back parking lot, he’d spent the hours of darkness searching out sensations. He’d seen so many sights, snatches of lives, experienced a host of situations, heard unutterable whispers, caught looks and felt touches from a multitude of inhabitants and new arrivals to the city, that some would have forgotten most of them. Paul kept them all within easy reach of his memory, catalogued chronologically, as if his strolls through the city were a story – one which kept him orientated within its walls. Some things had changed over time, as even in eternal cities they are wont to.
• • •
David J O'Brien was born and raised in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. He studied environmental biology and later studied deer biology for his PhD, at University College Dublin. Instead of pursuing his life-long interest in wolves and predator-prey interactions, after completing his doctorate, he taught English in Madrid, Spain, for four years while his girlfriend finished her doctorate in molecular biology. They married and moved to Boston, where they both worked for a time. A short time before their daughter was born, they moved to Pamplona, his wife's hometown, so she could set up her new research group.
David has loved writing since his teens. He began with poetry and had one of his first poems published in Cadenza, a small Dublin poetry magazine at the age of fourteen, and others followed. He began writing fiction in his late teens. While living in Madrid, he wrote some non-fiction articles for the magazine Hot English, and while in Boston for the newspaper, Dig. There, too, he took a feature-writing class in Emmanuel College. Though his academic writing has taken precedence, David continues writing fiction in his spare time.
An avid wildlife enthusiast and ecologist, much of David's non-academic writing, especially poetry, is inspired by wildlife and science, and he sometimes seeks to describe the science behind the supernatural. He has written a little bit of everything: to date a four-act play, a six-episode sit-com, various short stories and four more novels.
David is currently working on a long novel set in the pre-Columbian Caribbean, and a non-fiction book about the sociology of hunting. At the same time he is looking for outlets for his other works: two contemporary adult novels -- one set in the west of Ireland and the other set in Madrid -- as well as a young adult ghost story set in a town outside London, and a children's novel about a boy who can see leprechauns.
Website - http://davidjmobrien.wordpress.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/DavidJMOBrien
Google+ - https://plus.google.com/u/0/113200845633833272102
Tirgearr Publishing - http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/OBrien_David