Wales Arts Review Interview

You can read the full interview with this wonderful literary journal here.

“Mickey, the ‘good son’ of your début novel’s title, is an endearingly witty, unforgettably idiosyncratic lead character – something like equal parts Paddy Clarke and Scout Finch. Could you tell us a little bit about the genesis of the character?

Mickey came from the first short story I wrote. I’d been writing plays and comedy scripts since leaving university and, out of the blue, an offer came to submit a story to an anthology. Not only had my writing experience been limited to dialogue but also I had written collaboratively with actors then comedians. I had no idea how to approach prose writing. A quick search online said a good place to start with was ‘write what you know’. I wrote about a childhood memory, in a voice that was an approximation of a boy like me.

In the early drafts of the novel I made a tougher, braver and more creative version of the short story Mickey (I think he was called something else too – I’ve lost my copy of the anthology and my computer got corrupted so I lost all my early writing including the first drafts of the novel!). When I first wrote him, he was more solemn externally but lively internally.

In later drafts I re-tuned aspects of his character, making him funnier and more resilient, more determined to hang on to his sense of self. As he developed, he became his own person and not like me, as a boy, at all. Of course, when I look at it objectively there are things I can identify with, but I’m not sure that they’re any different than the connections I feel when I’m reading generally.

There was an intention to make him echo those plucky, inventive child characters from film and TV as he is obsessed with American life.”

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