Wednesday, January 9, 2013

An Interview with David Lawlor, the Author of TAN - A Story of Exile, Betrayal and Revenge

Please welcome author David Lawlor, my guest today. David is Associate Editor with the Evening Herald newspaper in Ireland and has been writing features, reviews and working as a production journalist in national newspapers for 22 years.

David has written three novels and is currently working on his fourth. This is the first novel he has published. David lives in Greystones, Ireland, with his wife and four children.
 Following the synopsis below is my interview with David. Please post any questions or comments you may have. Thanks!



‘Peelers have a knack for hitting you where it hurts; broken nose, bruised ribs, a few loosened more than a rapist deserved, Sergeant Coveney and District Inspector Webber had said. Proper order, too - except the lad was no rapist, and Webber knew it.’

It’s 1914 and Liam Mannion is forced into exile for a crime he didn’t commit. He flees Balbriggan, the only home he has ever known and travels to England, where he enlists and endures the torment of trench warfare in France. Five years later he’s back in England, a changed man, living in the shadow of his battlefield memories. Liam finds work in a Manchester cotton mill but prejudice and illness soon see him destitute. Starving and desperate, he enlists in a new military force heading to Ireland - the Black and Tans - and is posted to the very town he fled as a youth.

While he has been away Liam’s childhood friends have joined the republican cause, while his brother has allied himself to the Crown forces. Liam must wrestle with his own conflicted feelings about duty to the ruthless Tans and loyalty to his friends. The potent combination of ambition, patriotism and betrayal collide, forcing him to act as he comes face to face with the man who spread lies about him all those years before.

How long have you been writing? How did you get started?

“I’ve been writing for about six years now. I have always been interested in Native Americans and when I came across the story of the Choctaw and how they helped raise money for the Irish Famine in the 1840s, I was hooked. I wanted to tell a story of how that money came to Ireland and that’s how I wrote my first book – a tale spanning two countries and one which was also set in the present. After that book I was on a roll and have since written three more.”

What genre(s) do you write in, and do you have pseudonyms?
“I write historical fiction mainly, but I have written one modern crime story set in Dublin.”

What was your first published work? How did you get that work published?
“Tan: A Story of Exile, Betrayal and Revenge was my first published book. It is set during the Irish War of Independence in 1920. The story deals with the Black and Tans in southern Ireland during our War of Independence, which began in 1919. I have always been interested in this era, mainly because my grandfather was heavily involved in the war and subsequent civil war. Like many people, I wondered how I would have reacted in those testing times. I was also fascinated by the role played by the Tans. They still cast a dark shadow on our history, not least because of the still unacknowledged fact that over 20pc of them were actually Irishmen. I wanted to try to see things from a Tan's perspective and explore the conflicts its Irish members must have felt wearing that uniform.”

What are you working on now?
“I have just finished a sequel to Tan, called The Golden Grave, which I hope to publish very soon. It is set in Flanders in 1920 and involves traumatized ex-soldiers returning to their old battlefield to search for hidden treasure.”

Where do your story ideas come from?
“I write about what interests me and also am inspired by documentaries and news articles.”

What are some of the references that you used while researching this book?
“I got a few books on the War of Independence. I found a great book called IRA Jailbreaks, which was a great help in one section of the story. I already had a couple of books on World War One. These, combined with internet searches, gave me all I needed. Plus, George Orwell's Down And Out In Paris And London was helpful in scenes I wrote related to vagrancy.”

What was the hardest part of writing Tan?
“The editing, the re-writes and accepting your gut instinct that something wasn't quite working.”

Follow this link to purchase TAN:

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