Interview with Peter Murphy, author of ‘Lagan Love’

Peter Murphy was born in Killarney where he spent his first three years before his family was deported to Dublin, the Strumpet City. Growing up in the verdant braes of Templeogue, Peter was schooled by the De La Salle brothers in Churchtown where he played rugby for ‘The Wine and Gold’. He also played football (soccer) in secret!

After that, he graduated and studied the Humanities in Grogan’s under the guidance of Scot’s corner and the bar staff; Paddy, Tommy and Sean.

Murphy financed his education by working summers on the buildings sites of London in such places as Cricklewood, Camden Town and Kilburn.

Murphy also tramped the roads of Europe playing music and living without a care in the world. But his move to Canada changed all of that. He only came over for awhile – thirty years ago.

He took a day job and played music in the bars at night until the demands of family life intervened.

Having raised his children and packed them off to University, Murphy answered the long ignored internal voice and began to write.

He has no plans to make plans for the future and is happy to let things unfold as they do anyway.

LAGAN LOVE is his first novel.

You can visit his website at www.peterdamienmurphy.com or his blog at www.peterdamienmurphy.blogspot.com.  Connect with him at Twitter at www.twitter.com/PeeloMurphy and Facebook at www.facebook.com/LaganLove.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Peter Murphy. Can you tell us what your latest book, Lagan Love, is all about?

Lagan Love is a story about the cost we pay for our love and passion. Set in Dublin in the mid nineteen-eighties, when the future beckoned and the past lingered in the shadows preying on the unwary, it asks the question: ‘How much would you pay for your dreams?’

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Aidan, Dublin’s rising poet, seeks redemption as the past reaches out to destroy him. Janice, an aspiring painter from Toronto, has come to Dublin to find herself but instead becomes immersed in the swirling mists until she no longer knows what is real.

Their more level-headed friends, Sinead and Ronan, do what they can but, in the end, Fate will come and try to claim its prize.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

The main characters are imaginary – in that they are not based on any one person that I have known but many of the supporting cast share names and characteristics with persons that I have known and that can still be found in Grogan’s on a quiet afternoon.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

I had a definite plan when I began but it got hijacked by my unruly characters who insisted on ‘telling’ me the story the way they viewed it. I am not complaining – they made it a better story.

Q: Your book is set in Dublin, Ireland.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

Dublin is essential as it is also ‘a character’ in the story. Its past is vital to all that hovers around the characters. Its long history of deceptions and suppression, smoldering revolutions and civil strife, are the driving forces behind Aidan and a constant enigma to Janice.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Dublin in the mid nineteen-eighties was a city in great flux. Integration into the European Union was offering a great and prosperous future (the Celtic Tiger) after centuries of economic and cultural repression. But the story, and indeed some of the characters, question the price that must be paid.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Janice and Aidan are walking home from the pub. The night before they had sex for the first time so this was their all-important second ‘date.’ Janice, who grew up as a reserved and somewhat prudish young lady, is finding her passion and indulging all that she had once constrained. Aidan, a love-them-and-leave-them type, suggests that they might have a chance at something more – a real and deep relationship. But they are both coy and joke about it.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

They walked along the top of the seawall, letting their bodies bump gently together. The sunshine warmed her hair and blushed her cheeks while breezes played an Irish lament – squeezed out of the popping chanter against the intermittent regulators, above the continuity of the drones.

When he spoke, his cadence in time with the murmur of the tide, he talked about Death and Life like they were interchangeable – that Life and Death were inevitable and had to be considered as that – the happenstance of existence. And when Janice looked to the water, where Death lurked in the depths, devouring Life in endless cycles, she knew what he meant.

He stood close and she could smell whiskey on his breath mingled with tobacco, the seeds of his own destruction – the spoils of another day of victory against all that lurked in the night. His cheeks were less lifeless and his hands were steady and only trembled when the breeze reached inside his loose shirt and caressed his chest. He was coming back to her, back to the world of the living.

By the lighthouse, she leaned against the seaward side of the lichen-stained harbour and watched him scramble out past the tide pools, out onto limpeted rocks, where waves broke into spray and straggled off among tangled tresses of kelp.

Near the edge, he seemed more agile and invigorated. The wind and waves reached out to him and she was torn between wanting to rush over to draw him back and the desire to just stand there and watch him.

          But what if he falls in? She asked herself.

          Then he will surely drown, she answered with a fatalism that was new.

 

Thank you so much for this interview, Peter.  We wish you much success!

 

 

 

 

 

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