Roddy Doyle is an internationally bestselling writer and winner of the 1993 Booker Prize for the novel Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. His first three novels-The Commitments, The Snapper, and The Van-are known as The Barrytown Trilogy. Doyle will read from and sign his eagerly anticipated new novel The Dead Republic, the triumphant conclusion to the trilogy that includes A Star Called Henry and Oh, Play That Thing. Raucous, colorful, epic, and full of intrigue and incident, The Dead Republic is also a moving love story-the magnificent final act in the life of one of Roddy Doyle’s most unforgettable characters, Henry Smart. Roddy Doyle will be at the Tattered Cover Book Store 1628 16th Street Denver, CO 80202 (303-322-1965 ext: 2736 ) Monday May 10, 7:30 pm. The Celtic Connection”s Mary McWay Seaman interviewed Doyle by email in Ireland last month) Interview… MMS Congratulations on your new novel, The Dead Republic, the third of a trilogy. How did you decide to set Henry Smart up with legendary characters like John Ford and Henry Fonda on a California landscape? RD Thank you. As I was finishing the first volume, A Star Called Henry, I knew that Henry would be leaving Ireland and going to America, and I knew that I”d need an excuse to bring him back to Ireland, for the third volume, The Dead Republic. I”d read a biography of a veteran of the Irish War of Independence, called Ernie O”Malley. The biography included the fascinating, almost absurd, detail that O”Malley had assisted John Ford in the making of The Quiet Man, and was credited as the “IRA Consultant”. So, I thought, “I”ll make Henry the IRA consultant.” Then I had to come up with a way for them to meet. Ford made many films in the desert, so I sent Henry to the desert. MMS Have you ever personally suffered what Henry did by editorial attempts to sentimentalize some of your work? If so, how did you fight back? RD Never. MMS Please tell us a bit about your research in preparation for this book. RD A lot of reading ” biographies of Ford, Wayne and anyone who seemed close to Ford, books about the making of The Quiet Man ” anything at all that might give me a glimpse of the people or the weather or the setting, both in Los Angeles and Ireland. I stared at photographs, watched a lot of movies ” never a hardship. I researched and read as I wrote, added little details if I thought they”d add to the story. Henry returns to Ireland in the early “50s, and the closer he got to Dublin ” my home ” and my time ” I was born in 1958 ” the less research I had to do. He was wandering my streets ” and my head! MMS So many characters, so many backgrounds! How do you prepare for the assortment of voices and their testimonies? RD Again, reading helps, trying to find words that characters might have used in their own particular ways. For example, Henry meets Louis Armstrong in Oh Play That Thing, the second volume. Armstrong carried a typewriter everywhere he went, for years. He left behind two memoirs and thousands of letters. He used the word “nice” a lot. It”s usually a bland word but, in his hands and from his mouth, it was lively and funny. So, I took that word and made him use it in the novel. Getting to know the characters and their distinctive rhythms and words is a gradual process, and very slow at first, until I feel I know them. MMS Does the 1974 Dublin bombing act as a turning point? How was Henry changed other than physically? RD I suppose it is. Henry is caught in the bomb and its aftermath, and his name becomes public ” so the IRA finds him, and uses him for the rest of the book. Also, the bombs wakes him. He becomes aware again about the Troubles in the North, that there seems to be unfinished business, that the trouble didn”t end just because he left Ireland in 1922. MMS Has the Celtic Tiger bitten into Ireland”s strong regional and cultural differences? Please share some observations. RD I”m sick of even seeing the term “Celtic Tiger”, let alone thinking about it. That”s an honest observation, by the way. MMS Who are your favorite authors and why? What daily reading do you do? RD Dickens. I”ve been reading and re-reading his books every decade of my life, and they seem to get better. Philip Roth ” I love his anger and his brilliance, and he makes me laugh like no other writer has ever done. MMS Favorite music? Favorite food? Favorite drink? RD The last few days I”ve been listening to Joy Division, Galaxie 500, Gil Scott Heron, and an Icelandic composer, Johan Johannson. I don”t have a favourite food; it”s not something I get worked up about ” unless I”m hungry. A pint of Guinness, occasionally, and a cup of coffee, almost constantly. MMS Please tell us about your early education and how you came to be a writer. RD I don”t remember much about my early education. I was only a kid and I didn”t take notes. I started writing because I loved reading. MMS Favorite travel destination? RD I was in India earlier this year. I”ll go back. MMS Ireland is so different today from when I first visited in the 1980s. What is your favorite place in Ireland (besides home)? RD Dublin is the best place on Earth, and Ireland is lucky to have it. I like Wexford, in the south-east. It”s friendly, relatively rain-free ” and near Dublin. MMS It seems that Ireland”s privations of the past are completely lost on young people. Is this a good thing? RD I wouldn”t want to inflict privation on young people just because they”re young. MMS Do you think that former Irish rebels are still admired and revered as heroes? RD Yes. MMS What is your opinion on the decline of print media? Will it level off or continue to slide? RD I honestly don”t know the answer to this question. But my gut tells me it will level off. Too many people like the smell and the feel of books ” there”ll always be a market. MMS What differences do you notice between the Irish and the Americans? (cultural, social, philosophical ” that sort of thing.) RD Sorry, there are several books in this subject. MMS What are the best and worst parts of book tours? RD The best part is the reading events. The worst part is the almost daily early morning flights, and loneliness. THANK YOU! (from May 2020 Celtic Connection)

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