So far I have avoided mentioning the word ‘authonomy’ on this blog. (For those who don’t know ‘authonomy’ is a writer’s website set up by the publisher Harper Collins). I had a mixed experience on authonomy – and at the time of writing I have not logged into the site for some 104 days (…although eight chapters of LITTLE BASTARD remain there for the curious among you!). However, for all the toxic insanity of the forums (that eventually replaced the genuine fun of the forums and sent me packing to pastures new….i.e. Facebook!) and the epidemic of blind book backings in pursuit of a publishing deal that never existed in the first place(!)…there was (and probably still is – for all I know!) a truly good side to the site: it had many excellent writers and many excellent people featured on it. I am very glad of all of those people – and their writing – and thus (for all its failings) I will always retain a residual affection for the flawed cyber-Hotel California that was ‘authonomy’.
Anyway, the point (which I am eventually getting to amigos!!) is this: this week’s blog post is dedicated to one of the writers I first encountered on authonomy. (It’s one of a planned occasional series of profiles of authonomites – or, like me, former authonomites! – who I know to be both great writers and great folk). Poppet – who is a super talented writer, amazing book designer and a top amigo – can already be found via the link under ‘Author’ at the foot of each page on this site…and I’d wholeheartedly advise any of you who don’t yet know Poppet to go and click on the link as soon as you’ve read this post! (She rocks!)
Today I am adding another author to the Author links section of my site for the first time – a chap who is still a current authonomite: Mr Paul Freeman.
Apart from a ready wit and a natty taste in hats(!) Paul is an excellent writer. He has recently set up his own website where you can read his work – a finished novel, work in progress and short stories. You can even listen to the man himself reading one of his stories (…a neat touch methinks).
The link to Paul’s site (Say It Softly) can now be found under ‘Author’ at the bottom of each page of my blog.
I like all of Paul’s three novels featured on his site. TAXI is a poignant and involving tale of a picaresque Dublin cab driver. It has a brilliant (and cinematic) opening – placing its main character, Danny, in a predicament that leaves him with a major dilemma…and thus the reader is hooked! (Check out the chapters on Paul’s site to see what I mean). Through its well-observed vernacular and deft characterisation, TAXI brings the city of Dublin to life. I’ve not yet been to Dublin (maybe one day!) but thanks to Paul’s writing, I feel I know the place.
BLACK MOUNTAIN is also set in Dublin. It features Jimmy – a Dublin lad returning to his home town and his family after a decade’s absence following a personal tragedy in Germany. The extract on Paul’s site foreshadows much drama to come.
However, of the three novels featured on Paul’s site I was totally transfixed by TRIBESMAN and now I just want to know what happens next in Culainn’s quest as he journeys once more to the North of the Empire. It’s a great example of the Fantasy genre at its best – a traditional Fantasy setting/set-up (to keep the genre fans happy) yet with enough of an adult dynamic and a writing style that ensures that those who (like me) often find Fantasy a disappointingly pale and formulaic imitation of Tolkien are properly hooked as well. Quite simply, it’s a really great quest-based yarn that is fantastically well told. Check it out, folks!
Slainte Mr Freeman. I take my hat off to you! (…heh heh!)