The Top Shelf has teamed up with Pump Up Your Book to bring you Peter Murphy in month two of his promotional tour for Lagan Love! You can check out a trailer for the book by clicking here.
What Can You Say About Women?
By Peter Murphy
Since my first novel, Lagan Love, was published there is one question I have been asked a number of times: Was it difficult to write female characters?
I have often wondered at that. Is it because I am a man and therefore it is assumed that I would have difficulty in understanding women? Or is it because my female characters are so compelling that they engender amazement? I would prefer to think it was the latter but that would fan vanity and I have learned to be cautious about that.
I believe that good writers ‘create’ characters through observation. We meet all kinds of wonderful characters every day and, with a little bit of imagination, some of them can find their way onto the pages of a book. (This is another reason why we should behave ourselves with consideration for others because who wants to see their selfish, rude or indifferent, selves in public.)
However, most people would agree that men and women have difficulty in understanding each other. (I believe this is because women have a tendency to feel while men think or not think. This of course is a generality in lieu of a much longer discourse – perhaps the material for a future book!)Perhaps this is why we are inundated with one dimensional, or stereotypical, characters. Men in romance stories are too often cast in a mould; tall, dark, handsome, brooding or injured, but putty in the heroine’s long slender, manicured fingers – the stuff of fantasies – not unlike the large-breasted females who wear their hair tightly-bunned and frown through thick framed glasses until some guy unlocks their sensuous butterfly with a kiss.
While all of this is delightful in its own place – much like having delicate French pastries for breakfast – it can be fattening to the mind. Many of the women I have known in my life are far more interesting and I consider myself lucky in being able to see that.
My mother set me straight from the beginning. She was raised by her father who was a senior police officer during Ireland’s Civil War. He moved constantly so my mother was packed off to a convent school where she developed her brilliant mind. In the 1930’s she went to University – a feat in any country at that time and remarkable in Ireland. How she met and married my father is another story but, after raising 6 boys single handed, she returned to her prime passion – intellectualism!
She ran with an interesting crowd too; one of Ireland’s most prominent female novelists, Ireland’s first female President and, for balance, two priests. One was a noted historian and the other a poet! What impressed me about all of this was how she could hold her own in any conversation. Nothing was beyond her and while my friends only got to see their mothers as cleaners, cooks and nursemaids, I saw mine as a power in the world.
From all of this I realised that women range from angels to succubi – if you believe in such things. They have all the complexities, virtues and vices, insecurities and assuredness, ambitions and considerations that you might associate with men – only for me, women are far more interesting.
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.
Synopsis: If you know something about passion, and desire, and giving everything to live your dreams then leave your world behind for a while. Come with Janice to Dublin, in the mid nineteen-eighties when a better future beckoned and the past was restless, whispering in the shadows for the Old Ways. Janice has grown tired of her sheltered existence in Toronto and when Aidan leads her through the veils of the Celtic Twilight, she doesn’t hesitate. In their love, Aidan, Dublin’s rising poet, sees a chance for redemption and Janice sees a chance for recognition. Sinead tells her that it is all nonsense as she keeps her head down and her eyes fixed on her own prize – a place in Ireland’s prospering future. She used to go out with Aidan, before he met Janice, so there is little she can say. And besides, she has enough to do as her parents are torn apart by the rumours of church scandals. But after a few nights in Grogan’s, where Dublin’s bohemians gather, or a day in Clonmacnoise among the ruins of Celtic Crosses, it won’t matter as the ghosts of Aidan’s mythologies take form and prey on the friends until everything is at risk. Lagan Love is a sensuous story of Love, Lust and Loss that will bring into question the cost we pay for our dreams.