Thursday, 14 August 2014

Kingdom Of Scars - A Novel

In September 2012 I published a blog with a chapter from a book I was attempting to write. I had begun writing it in anecdotal form in the year or two prior but was hesitant to continue. Maybe it was just a bit crap and I should steer clear of prose. I had just started writing on this blog and was exploring the possibilities of what blogging could do. I'd never given my fictional writing that wasn't a screenplay to anybody before and didn't know who I should start with. What if I gave it to a friend or colleague and they hated it, or I had to hound them and then got embarrassed. Then I looked at my blog and said fuck it and I posted a very early chapter to see what the reaction was....

I have always wanted to write, as many people have. It's bloody liberating. I have always had dreams about becoming an author, as many people have. It seems so prestigious. There's something intoxicating about being able to say you're a writer, or not just a writer but an author. It seems very difficult though, and it seems even more personal than film making. When you make a film you're collaborating with other people, when you act you're cocooned in the artistic vision of other people, when you're write you're totally alone. Completely alone and naked, and that sucks a little.

My english professor loved my writing in school, or at least he said he did, maybe that was to encourage a shy 14 year old to believe in himself. It eventually worked. He tried very hard to get me to do an English degree. I was afraid of failing or not being good enough so I did science which made sense to me in a roundabout manner. I wanted to study zoology or marine biology, and study animals and write books about them. So I always shyed away from writing, I refused to try and write for anything in college, even when I moved into Psychology by a quirk of the science system whereby psychology was considered a science, and everything revolved around writing and researching. I didn't want people to read my writing. Then because I wanted to make films I had to try and write because if I wanted to be an actor I was essentially forced into making my own projects to learn. But unless it was to be a film I wouldn't write - film was different because it would involve other people - and even in my nascent forays into independent film, (my initial scripts were absolutely terrible by the way, even worse than they are now), I would hide my writing under the idea of the script, the visual element or how I wanted the force of the acting to be more than the dialogue.

This brings me back to posting on this blog. I had started writing fictional anecdotes about a young boy growing up, using some stories I could vaguely remember, creating characters, some based on real people, others just shadows from a memory, using stories I had been told or from some things that had happened to me. It seemed very personal, not just the content but also because I was trying tell a story through words alone without any other artifice to fall back upon. I gave it to one person who never read any of it, or maybe they did and they hated it, so I left it.  Then some people began giving me compliments about some of my films, and it inflated my ego a little. But more than that I began to get some very insightful comments on this blog from people I didn't know, which were not just supportive but also critical. I realised that I could probably get a fair indicator of whether I should continue with this book or not if I posted it. There would be some people who would be polite and supportive no doubt, but equally I expected and hoped for some honest critique - optimistically yearning for complete platitudes of course!

So I posted a rough chapter. And waited. And then hated myself for posting something and then decided to forget about it. Fuck it, what was the worst that could happen, maybe people wouldn't even read it.

I was astounded and humbled, not only by people taking the time to read it but because so many people gave me detailed critiques of my writing. Of my style, of the content, even the grammar! I received comments and mini essays that were clearly from more talented writers than I was. While there was a healthy level of criticism embedded into these comments, there was also a swell of support for my writing - the criticism was very important and I appreciated it. It was this encouragement that gave me the impetus to write more. To write some poetry - which I began to publish on this blog for better or worse - to try my hand at some satire, at some shorts and mainly to continue writing the book.

That blog, the encouragement I received and time taken to plan such concise comments about the book and my writing style was a huge part of the reason why I continued to write the book, now titled 'Kingdom of Scars', and now being published in late September, early October this year with Poolbeg in Ireland, and hopefully the Uk after that. Exact date to be confirmed.

So I want to thank everybody who has taken the time to read my blog over the last few years, for commenting on anything I have written, and for the time and effort taken over that chapter two years ago. It meant an awful lot and I may never have finished this book without that support.

The book is raw, emotional, personal in some parts, honest and hopefully written well enough for people to enjoy it. It's a coming of age story about a young 15 year old boy called Sam, growing up in Dublin and going through his first experiences with sex, drinking, being bullied, trying to be part of gang, and learning about friendship and himself.

I have no idea how well the book will be received but for me getting it published is already the culmination of a dream since I was a teenager. I never expected things to turn out this way, maybe my Dad, or Gerry Haugh or my uncle Don did, all have whom have sadly passed away, but Ill never know. All I know is that it's a little crazy and surreal to me and it's fucking great fun! The aim now is to try and make a film out what's in this book, but that's another story for another day...

Cheers to all you guys reading this.

PS: buy the book and read it please. - said with love!

Eoin

PPS:

The photo here is of a young lad from England whom I photographed for the cover of the book. This specific photo is not going to be used, but for me perfectly encapsulates the mood and tone of the book. I ran after Rory when he walked by with his parents, and out of breath, I tried to explain why I needed to photograph their son so badly. There was a little bit of an awkward moment, and I felt a little bit like an eejit but thankfully he was into the idea and he let me drag him away for a hour to photograph him in a French laneway. Probably more because he wanted some time away from his parents than anything I said, I think he thought I was a little weird.

* For all the tech nerds out there the photo was shot on black and white medium format film with a 75mm lens on the Bronica.























21 comments:

  1. Good luck with it, I wish it all the best success and I look forward to it's release. And very well done to!

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  2. Don't they say every time someone goes from writer to author and angel gets their wings? I'm sure your loved ones who have passed on are happy for you. Possibly they had more to do with kicking your ass in to gears and days when you didn't want to keep going than you think. Congratulations.

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  3. Very brave of you to bare your soul like this. Having read your blog posts, I am really looking forward to the book and I hope we can order it from your Irish publisher directly? Very best wishes!

    PS pedant that I am, - your "english teacher" might appreciate a capital E for English! Yes - I know it was just a typo, but amusing in context ..

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  4. If there's one thing I always loved about you, it's your writing. After seeing your posts and admitting how hard it is because you show a lot of yourself, I decided to post too. I managed one little part about something that struck me really hard in life. The others all seemed to be about events involving you ;-). Why? Because, along with family and friends, you helped me through that second hard blow too. I tried telling you that in Madrid. We may have helped you, but you also inspire us. So don't ever doubt and please don't ever stop. Looking forward to read about Sam! Thank you for creating your awesome blog. (btw, with this you answered my question I put in a loooong time ago through a certain perk ;-P). Much love,

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  5. Those people you love must be so proud of you!

    I've always love to read since I was little, fortunately, I've read so many books. But I am afraid of writing my own story. I though I wasn't good enough and stopped trying.

    After reading your long long article, I want to write again. My work sucks, so? I have to try if I want to write better.

    Congratulations! Kingdom of Scars will be released soon. I will definitely buy and read it asap. (Although I may have to wait for a while to get he book, because I'm from Asia.)

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  6. Congratulations Eoin! It's inspiring to read as an aspiring writer myself who lacks confidence in my own writing but knows it's what gives me most joy in life. I hope one day to take the steps to finally be brave enough to publish my own works to the world.

    Your writing has always gripped me and therefore I can only assume Kingdom of Scars will as well. I will find a way to get my hands on the book somehow, even being here in America!

    Congratulations again, I look forward to the good read, Mr. Author.

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  7. Congratulations for having taken the plunge. hoping that your book is translated into French someday.

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  8. Congratulations Eoin. I am thoroughly and genuinely happy for you and I must say, I'm a bit jealous as well. I've been struggling trying to get my own book published and know what a difficult process it can be. The sentiment you shared is probably more common than we can know. Putting your heart and soul into your writing is hard enough, but when you put it out there for everyone else to judge, well, it's gut wrenching at times. Books are a doorway into someone's inner most hopes, dreams and fears. They're disguised as characters that hardly resemble who we really are, but what we want to achieve in our lives. If an author can sell a million books, and it can inspire only one person, then it's all worth it. To inspire and touch their heart, that's a success. You have that ability to grab people's attention, one way or another, then draw them in and listen. Screenplays are just as important as a book, Eoin. It's just a different avenue to take the audience of your stories. Dreaming For You was a touching story and you were able to bring life to it in film. Whether it be a book or a screen play, or in your acting, you touch peoples hearts. That's what makes you successful at what you do and that's what makes you a good writer and story-teller.

    Thinking back to your chapter you shared and looking at the photo, I think you encapsulated the essence of Sam perfectly. Very well done. You should take more photos, Eoin. Your stories are in those too.

    Congrats and best of luck!
    Beth

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  9. Eoin, in a stream of what I am certain is about to be hundreds if not more, of such comment posts and sentiments, for a change I felt compelled to add mine into the fray as well.
    First and foremost ~ Congratulations! Congrats on the completion of your first novel, on having the courage to write it, on the further courage to share it with all of us, on the segue from writer to author, and most of all for taking your dream and bringing it to life, no matter how many knots in your gut you had to navigate.
    Secondly, and also like many who will be posting here, I live practically attached at the fingertips to pen or keyboard, as I fancy myself a writer, or more accurately, I am inwardly driven to write. I wrote my first ‘book’ at the age of 7 – a full 4 chapters to be sure and include a beginning, an adequate middle, and an ending – and have been writing ever since. UNLIKE most, I found you in this vast world of entertainment not through an advertisement or catalog, nor TV nor film. I first found you here – your blog. The way I got there is another story, not for now nor here. Every detour in life has a reason. The chapter of your book that you shared here was one of the first entries I read. Besides my opinion and feelings about YOUR writing, I was compelled to return to MY book that has lain dormant for far too long. You said it perfectly above; writing does indeed make on feel alone and naked and I for one was not ready for anyone to swing open the door and catch me that way. Those close to me I am certain would see the factually based content and would inevitably wonder if the rest was fiction or rather more facts they had not yet known. I was not and am not sure I can take that leap and just put it out there, allowing others wonderings not to matter to me. Thanks to yet more of your work, I suddenly could see and hear and nearly taste the story coming to life on film. The visual is in my head, frame by frame, and yet unlike you, I do not have the gifts to move it from brain to screen. Point being Eoin, your writing, the soul and personal investment imbued in it, perhaps at times even more than the content, moves people. It inspires and motivates. SO if you are ever in a random coffee shop in LA and see a frustrated brunette in the corner surrounded by way too many caffeine tinged cups, ripping pages from a notebook, littering the floor in evidence of a breakdown, who then gets up and just abandons her laptop, and saunters off… that is probably me. And by all means Man, go save that laptop!
    Thirdly and perhaps most importantly ~ Rest assured all those who foresaw you doing this (and your myriad of other accomplishments), are alive in every verse you wrote, their encouragement, and fearless vision of who you were to become, having silently fueled your efforts along the way. They see, the know – they always knew, and are infinitely proud.
    Forever Inspired.. and grateful,
    Nadia
    @NadiaR13

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  10. Congratulations! I'm really happy for you. I hope one day I'll also have the endurance, inspiration and courage to finish a book.
    I'm definitely going to read your book, if it'll be available in Germany. :)

    Best wishes

    Melanie

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  11. Congratulations Eoin! I wish you all the best for this novel and I'm truly looking forward to reading it :)
    I wish I could be that brave and finish all the stories that I've been writing but I'm afraid I'm just not good enough. Maybe one day...

    Congratulations again!

    Kathy

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  12. Congratulations!! Working in the business myself, I know how terrifying and exhilarating it is to publish your first book! You truly are putting yourself out there and open to all sorts of feedback - very much baring your soul. Your photo would definitely make a fantastic cover! Why is it not being used? Do you not have control over the cover design? That is probably one of the top complaints by many of my clients who publish mainstream or who go through assisted publishing outlets. I work primarily with self published authors who thrive on having complete control over all aspects of their books, and so I would encourage you to push for that photo to be used. Find yourself a good cover designer and have the cover done independently if possible. You'll be much more satisfied with the final result as the cover jacket is as important as how well done the interior is set. <<< all that is the technical side of publishing a book obviously. I remember reading the rough chapter you posted here some time ago and thought it was gripping, gritty and well worthy of publication! Be proud of your accomplishment!! And if you are ever looking for more information on indie publishing or want to connect with other writers, I have a lot of recommendations being a book cover designer. I'd be happy to point you in the right direction!

    Best of luck!!!
    Cathy

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  13. Congratulations! Getting published is a great accomplishment, and based on what I have had the pleasure of reading here, it will be a great book. I'm glad to hear you got such amazing support and you should be proud of the courage it took to post that chapter out there and open yourself up to the opinions of others. From personal experience, I know that is hard to put your work out there, and even harder when the story is personal. As someone who has faced the opposite, where people read but don't comment, it lifts my heart to know you didn't see that type of discouragement.

    Looking forward to reading Kingdom of Scars. Way to go! Keep setting new goals for yourself and never stop striving to get there.

    Pearl

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  14. Any writer, specially a first time writer/author, who tells you their book is pure fiction, and not autobiographical, is either lying or deluding themselves. Apart from the practical difficulties of publishing, knowing that your innermost thoughts and opinions may be discovered from between the lines or are, in fact, displayed in black an white is ("stupid stupid stupid...!!!" ~ sorry that's my inner dialogue..) ...terrifying. However I also think it would be tremendously cathartic to allow your words the freedom to bask in full view of your readers.

    I'm amazed to say I missed your chapter (How??!), but will search (not now cos I'm on the beach..but promise, when I can.). Of course I've read your scriptwriting before and you know I was delighted with it. Initially your poetry hooked me, and you're candidness, humour and ...what is it... I want to say 'humanity' actually... reeled me in.

    Can't wait to read 'Kingdom of Scars'. I think it's going to hurt... (in a good way silly...!)

    Wow Eoin, what a year!

    x C x

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    1. You said it C! Damn I've forgotten how awesomely spot on you are.

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  15. Being published for the first time must be quite stressful. I got published by my former teacher, but with limited copies and it wasn't for sale either -anyway, just to say it has to be infinitely more stressful to be released into the wild like that.
    Congratulations, I am looking forward to reading it. (Actually, I already ordered it).
    It was nice to get an update on your blog as well, and I hope you will keep sharing with us here.

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  16. I am so happy you were able to fulfill your dream of becoming an author. I used to enjoy writing very much when I was younger, but unfortunately as I got older I stopped. I still enjoy journaling and writing my thoughts, but I am unable to gather enough creativity to write any kind of story. I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading your poetry very much and I will probably order your book soon, hope it is very successful! :)

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  17. Eoin I have to admit to something. I'm only 18 years is also trying to write and dream about the release of his own book. I am currently writing book on love and human existence. I'm fascinated by you and the hero of my book is like you Eoin. I hope you will not be angry if my hero that book will have similar features to you. I think that I can not give this book but it is always worth dream. You meet your dreams ... You're a huge inspiration for me.
    Patrycja, your fan from Polish;)

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  18. You're an amazing writer Eoin, your style is just so unique and I'm so so happy for you! That chapter you posed was brilliant. You're my role model for achieving in the Creative Arts, on screen and in writing.
    I can't wait to read your book!

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  19. Nice Informative Blog having nice sharing..
    UK

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  20. including reasonable comments here...
    UK

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