Growing up in the sixties and seventies in Ireland gave me the inspiration to write The Gun. Politics was always to the fore in peoples minds even though in this part of the country we were far removed from the troubles in the North of Ireland. It still was a factor in the lives of everyone on the island and created some of the divisions that I think are obvious in The Gun.
The Deerstalker in a lot of ways is an unfortunate character who due to circumstances found himself for the first time in his life on the wrong side of the law. Due to an overbearing mother when he was young he found the pressure now coming from what he saw as an overbearing government impossible to bare and lashed out. It was like the last straw in his life and he blamed everything around him. Once again the recession played a big part in the creation of The Gun.
My Hometown of Wexford
My hometown of Wexford means a lot to me, from its people to its lovely narrow streets and beautiful beaches. I found the narrow streets of this ancient Viking town in which I grew up an inspiration in writing The Gun. The laneways which run parallel with the main street of Wexford create the claustrophobic atmosphere which I think helps to build the tension in the book. It gives me great pleasure that Wexford plays a big part in The Gun.
When I was a young boy and a teenager going to school was not a pleasurable experience for me so I left school when I was fifteen. I have always had a longing to learn and as I matured I was able to make this a possibility by going back to Adult Education and continued where I left off. So at 55 (now 56) I finally sat my Leaving Certificate and was so lucky to have met my English teacher Jim Maguire who encouraged me so much with my writing. He is a published poet and it was great to have him look over my work and give me tips to help me with my writing. He encouraged and inspired me to keep writing. In the very early stages of writing The Gun he used to check my writing and give me pointers, then after a while I seemed to be able to manage on my own. Had I not gone back to education maybe I wouldn’t have ended up writing, I don’t know but this was definitely the biggest factor in me writing The Gun and I will be forever grateful to Jim for his help and for getting the opportunity to write. It really goes to show that it is never too late to start doing what you love.
Garda Detective Tadhg Sullivan leads a special unit that investigates politically motivated crime. A man known only as The Deerstalker is a cancer who has infected the Irish political system.
Sullivan teams up with journalist Helen Carty, and together they try tracking down the mysterious killer. Carty adds to Sullivan’s problems, when he finds himself falling in love with her. And further complicating things, he starts losing trust in his partner, Detective Pat Carter, who appears to be on the side of the Garda Commissioner, who Sullivan is rapidly falling out with.
Sullivan’s case is further thrown into confusion when a copycat killer, Tommy Walsh, is shot dead by the CIA. When the CIA discovers that they’ve killed the wrong person, the two agents involved–Simon, who has become disillusioned by his time stationed in the Middle East, and Joey, a psychopath who confuses zealotry with patriotism–are also in pursuit of The Deerstalker.
Sullivan finds himself in a race against time, if he is to arrest The Deerstalker before the CIA take him out, and use his death as a pawn in a political game of chess.
Who will win out in the end?
He stared at the gun lying on the bed. It was in his possession for nearly half his life and he’d never known what to do with it. The funny thing was, he’d always hated guns and yet, here he was.
He heard his wife moving around downstairs and knew that very soon she would call him for a cup of tea. He had to get the gun back into its hiding place.
He thought back to the first time he’d seen it. A late night knock at the door and a man from down the street had handed the gun and ammunition to him, wrapped in fertiliser bags.
“What the hell is this?” he’d blurted out.
“It’s a gun,” the man had said showing no expression.
“What are you giving it to me for?” he’d whispered, not wanting his family to hear them.”
“Because I trust you,” he’d replied.
“What the hell do you mean, you trust me? You hardly know me! And all I know about you is that you’re mixed up in the IRA. I have a family and I don’t give a damn about the North. Now please get away from my door and take that thing with you.”
The man had stared at him, but all calm had disappeared from his features. Then he spoke through gritted teeth.
“Now listen to me. The guards are going to be here shortly. Something serious happened tonight and now you’re mixed up in it, whether you like it or not. If you don’t take the gun from me now, when the guards arrive here and see us together, I’ll implicate you. Even if they don’t believe me, it will mean that you’ll have to stand up in Court and give evidence against me. Do you want that for your family? It would be much easier for you to stick the gun in the boot of your car drive off somewhere and hide it. But you’d better make your mind up fast, before they drive up and arrest us both.”
He often wondered why he’d taken it. Was it because he’d had sympathy for the man? He didn’t think so. Maybe it was the fear of being implicated, or like the man had said, being branded an informer. He wasn’t sure, but whatever the reason, it seemed like providence.
I am 56 years old and I live with my wife and two teenage children in Trinity, Wexford. Up to 2012 when the recession hit Ireland I was making my living as a musician. I then went back to adult education and completed my Leaving Certificate in 2014. I am now studying for a degree in Culture and Heritage Studies at Wexford Campus.
While I was studying for I began writing ‘The Gun’ which is the first book in The Tadhg Sullivan Series. I have just completed the second book in the series.
I play guitar and sing in many of the pubs in my hometown of Wexford where I am often joined by my two children Ella and Rory who play fiddle and flute.
In my spare time (which I do not have a lot of) I like to walk my two dogs with my wife Caroline.