It all started with my return to Ireland in March 2016. I had been itching to start a new novel for a long time and, after a few failed attempts (my computer is clogged with the first chapter of many, many novels that will never see the light of day!), I felt like I had lost my mojo.
But within weeks or moving home to Northern Ireland, breathing in that vast country air, feeling spring grow around me, it suddenly dawned on me: this is your new novel. This is what you need to write.
In Rider I set part of the story in Ireland. The first half of the tale takes place in Belfast, but I had never really made a point of this. Sure, it was set in Ireland, but it was a city like any other city, a beach like any other beach.
But standing on Buncranna sands, April 2013, I realised that a backdrop to a story needn’t simply be a backdrop. Ireland was my home, it was in my blood. And now I’d put that into my work.
And thus spring the bones of a new novel, a distinctly Celtic novel. Historic, epic, and bold. Or so I hope.
This new novel – whose current working title is Ailigh (roughly pronounced: Ay-lich or Ay-lick) – is a complete change of pace for me. Yes, there will be elements of the thriller/crime novel, yes there will be a deep-seated love between characters, but in setting this novel approximately 2,000 years ago, its very language, its very makeup will of course be different.
Stick with me and let’s see if I can pull it off, and do the original idea justice.