This book has been around eight years in the making. It has taken many forms in my head and almost never came out. Then one day I read an interview with Irvine Welsh about how he had rescued material he had written over 20 years previous and ended up making it into a novel and so I thought I could. The worry always for someone like me is I’m not Irvine Welsh and so anything I do that’s not a sort of “big subject” type thing, I’ve no reason to believe anyone will be the slightest bit interested in it. My only previous novel, The Last Pearl Diver, wasn’t a big seller but that there is wrong. Who cares if it was? You don’t go into these things to make money. I hardly made a penny from books until The Asterisk Years came along. That puts a writer in a bad place in my view. All my other books were written out of necessity (The ability to eat and keep warm mainly) and then I had a book that sold an incredible amount for an independent book. It takes your hunger away. Literally.
So I wanted to challenge myself by breathing life into this book and seeing if I could construct something that people would enjoy. It’s written in the first person because that’s my original style, to write like I am talking to you in a bar. There are graphic scenes and situations because that’s normally how real life works. Most of the stuff I didn’t need to research as I knew the characters and the streets and all I had to do was polish them, some mind, not all. I’m an independent kind of guy, I don’t seek approval from anyone nor do I need to be accepted anywhere. That’s not me raising a banner of revolution either, it’s just how I am and how I have been brought up. I love real people and realism and so that’s what I go for in my books
The IRA Block is out on June 1st