The Next Big Literary Thing

Nuala Ní Chonchúir, short story writer, novelist and poet, who blogs at Women Rule Writer, has set up a blogging scheme called The Next Big Thing, a platform for writers to promote some aspect of their work. Nuala’s short story collection Mother America was published to great critical acclaim this year and for her Next Big Thing blog post, she chose to write about her as yet unpublished novel Highland. Here, I give you a few details about my work in progress.


What is the working title of your book?

The current title is April Fools. It is a novella about the day before a Taoiseach resigns, when one of his inner circle goes through the day carrying out a last instruction that he doesn’t agree with, but feels obliged to carry out. He needs to decide what he believes in and what he will or won’t do, and what he decides ends up having a huge impact on the rest of his life.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I had wanted to carry out a book set over a short period for quite some time; my first book, The Stone, was set over two generations with a huge range of events to cover, so narrowing my focus to one day was in fact almost refreshing. I also was speaking to someone who worked in an overseas bank who was able to tell me several secrets I never would have guested about Irish politics; all of which got my imagination working.

What Genre does your book fall under?

Political thriller would be the easiest fit at the moment.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I love this question! The main character is a very fashion conscious Irish man in his mid-thirties, so I would put James McAvoy in that role.

So this isn’t gratuitous at all.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

A political fixer has 24 hours to move millions of euro, hide the greatest sins of a Taoiseach and to save his own soul, and maybe even do all three.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I started writing while on maternity leave, and continued writing while my son was very young. Editing has taken much longer as my free time grows less and less, but I hope to have it ready for review by his first birthday in March of 2013.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Most political thrillers are spy thrillers that contain elements of political corruption, such as Le Carre or (save me) Jeffrey Archer, so there isn’t a lot to compare with there. This book would make the most allusions to Orwell, however.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to describe the process of political destruction that was apparent in Dublin at the time, from the point of view of an outsider, and also to record the failure of a political construct that would soon not be seen any more. I was also very angry at the damage that was being done, and that was why I decided to write this.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

The irreverent, sarcastic, and knowing narrator that reviews Irish society with in a clear-eyed manner. He is the most narcissist creation I have ever written and I’m half in love with him myself.

When/how will it be published?

I have two avenues open to me at the moment; via an interested Irish agent and also via the excellent website, which has access to British agents and publishing houses. I’m also considering e-readers and the like, as it is an expanding market that might work very well for this type of work.

2 thoughts on “The Next Big Literary Thing

  1. Susan

    Really like that “what are you working on” summary bit – that makes me want to read more. That “last instruction” has me very intrigued.

    My current WIP is in submission at present so am erring on the cagey side. Maybe I’m overanxious as it’s unpublished, but I’ll have a think about it. I refer to it here and there on the website but am highly vague about the plot!


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