The Freelance Writing Organization - Int'l Writing Links and Resources www.fwointl.com
A free site that hosts thousands of writing resources and links in a massive online database. 40+ genres, funds for writers, job listings, education, news, submission calls, research library. Resources range from adventure to westerns, agents to publishers. Professional resources for editors, journalists and writers.
ON THE COVER
Join us in Ireland as we find out more about this fascinating author.
Those writers who gave me comfort and excitement in the wilderness years of wanting to be a writer were often masters of the short story – Canada's superb Alice Munro among them, but John Cheever too and Dickens (over and over) O'Faolain (again) Bernard Malamud, Carol Shields – the list is long, eclectic and, sad to say, partly lost to memory.
A great fear that I would lie regretful on my deathbed, lamenting a life and stories unchronicled moved me at last to write. There was no bolt of lightning, nothing more dramatic than an insistent urge, a sense that I should be writing and annoyance that I was not.
My first book, a romance of sorts, was briskly sent back. "My heart," the publisher's reader said, "clearly wasn't in the subject matter." Radio being close to my heart I wrote a radio play. It was broadcast within the month, beautifully performed too. I followed with a couple of novels for children between 8 and 10 years, which did well, but this being the early 1990s, didn't make money.
An adult novel, my publisher said, was the way to go. So I wrote Images, a tale of Dublin's growing, newly rich middle-class. It became a best-seller and, greatly encouraged, I've been writing ever since.
RD: Well, it's more a case of a jump from novels of suspense/romantic intrigue to historical fiction and a move from that to the contemporary story of murder, betrayal, and love.
Some years ago, idly reading, I came across a reference to an outlawed community of women in the Ireland of the mid-1900s. They numbered between 60 and 120, depending the time of the year, and they lived on the bleak, midland plains known as The Curragh, a part of Ireland ravaged by the north wind for most of the year, home to sheep and a racetrack and, then, to some 10,000 British army soldiers living in the huge training camp set up in 1855.
The women were known as Wrens, after the small bird of the same name, and they formed a community on the plains, living in four feet deep holes in the ground, which they covered over and called nests. Their story was an extraordinary one of courage and pride and terrible brutality towards them on the part of a cruelly hypocritical wider community.
No one had written about them and they were lost, literally, in the mists of time and official histories. I, literally, became obsessed with writing their story. Historical novels weren't fashionable but my publisher's arm was twisted when I agreed to a contract for four historical novels – in this way, the theory went, a readership for historical novels would be built up.
Friends Indeed told the women's story. Historical fiction proved to be a whole other way of writing. It was fascinating to weave research through the lives of created characters, use past events and places as the bones and structures of their stories. When it came time to write the fourth novel in the contract I wanted to put what I'd learned about playing with time to experimental use so I wrote Shadows Will Fall, a contemporary novel which hugely involves events from the 1950s and 1960s.
I'm writing another contemporary novel at the moment because of a story I want to tell. Back to where I was really, with a good story dictating what the time and type of book it will be.
IN: What are the greatest challenges facing new writers on the path to becoming successful authors?
RD: Getting published. Sadly, it's never been so difficult to get published and books have never had such competition in a world driven by marketing. That said, young writers shouldn't be deterred. The world of writing is constantly changing and stories well told will always be in demand.
IN: How important to you are book tours, readings, and book signings to help ensure success and book sales?
RD: They're more important than they should be! Many authors find them hard to do, others love the interaction with readers, ALL writers regret the time away from writing.
Every book involves a tour, or promotion as publishers would have it, some long, some short. This is enjoyable to begin with but fairly quickly becomes time away from the book one should be writing.
Television appearances are hugely effective when it comes to selling books. I suppose my own most effective promotion was an appearance on a very popular talk show – the book in question sold out within days.
IN: When dealing with publishers, agents, and publicists is there any advice you can pass along to "about-to-be" authors?
IN: Have you found or learned any primary differences between being published in Ireland/U.K and Europe/North America?
RD: The readership figures are vastly different! A bestseller in Ireland means about 10,000 books sold. Figures for the UK, Europe, and North America are immensely higher.
IN: You have been writing books professionally since 1985, what industry changes have you seen transpire that have affected writers in general?
RD: The publishing industry has become more genre driven. Publishers and booksellers will often promote the genre du jour at the expense of other books. There are far more books published today than 20 years ago – though this doesn't always mean choice and variety has increased to the same degree. That said, publishing is open to ideas from writers and more exciting than it has ever been.
IN: You have your own, personal website at http://www.rosedoyle.com/ How important is it for writers/authors to have an Internet presence?
RD: It's a wonderful way of making contact with readers and other writers. You just never know what'll turn up! It's also, by way of being, a sort of curriculum vitae!
IN: You essentially have two careers, one in journalism and the other in novels. What helps keep you motivated and directed in your writing career?
RD: A chronic need to write, I suppose. Writing puts order on the chaos that's life. Life is a series of stories anyway. Plus, to be boring about it, writing is my livelihood.
IN: How does journalism writing and novel writing differ in serving your need to chronically write?
RD: Writing journalism has to do with delivering facts in accurate, readable fashion for, in my case, a daily newspaper readership. It's immediate, involving, takes no prisoners and allows for the great company of journalist colleagues.
Writing fiction is everything that journalism is not; it's got elements of a parallel dream world to it, is definitely a world over which the writer has ownership. It is, of necessity, a lonely occupation. Balancing both is a privilege.
IN: What would you tell new writers that might help them to establish their own successful writing careers?
RD: Simply put your bum on the chair and start writing. It's not easy at first but in time a clarity about what you can say, and how, emerges. The thing to remember is that there is NO GOLDEN TYPEWRITER! No perfect time or place. None better than now anyway.
IN: What's next for you?
RD: I'm finishing a TV documentary based on a book of mine about an incident in the African Congo of 1961; nonfiction. When that's finished I'm starting a novel that moves between Ireland and Australia, a part of the world I visited for the first time last year.
Read Rose Doyle's excerpt from Shadows Will Fall.
Inkwell Newswatch (IN)
© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049
All Rights Reserved. Copying in any way strictly forbidden.
Our Disclaimer Is Based Upon McIntyre's First Law:
"Under the right circumstances, anything I tell you may be wrong."