Friday 19 June 2020

Blog Tour: Interview with Tadgh Coakley Author of Whatever It Takes @Lovebooksgroup @MercierBooks

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Whatever It Takes by Tadgh Coakley. I have an interview with the author today and if you like the sound of that, you can click here to order your copy now. Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more exclusive content and reviews. 

Here's what it's all about...

Set in Cork city, Detective Garda Collins is at war with the leading local criminal, Dominic Molloy. Unwilling to accept the human degradation caused by Molloy’s drugs, violence and prostitution. He has made up his mind to bring Molloy down, but just how far is he willing to go to make that happen? What is he willing to do and what fall-out will ensue for himself and his garda colleagues? This tense crime novel (the first in a series featuring Collins) tells the story of two immovable forces colliding. Something has to give. Running out of time before the murder of two teenagers becomes inevitable, and with a traitor in the garda station feeding information back to Molloy, Collins takes his battle to new heights. He is determined to win, whatever the cost, whatever it takes.

Here's that interview for you...
First question-bit of a cliche-how did you get into writing?

I’d always wanted to write, so when I retired from my full-time job in 2015, I decided to seize the opportunity. I signed up for an MA in Creative Writing in UCC and have never looked back.

Do you write full time & if so, have you always done this?

At the moment, I still work a little part-time, but for the most part I’m writing full-time and have been since 2015.

Do you have a particular writing style or genre that you prefer to write?

I don’t think I have a particular style – it depends on the work. My first book was sports fiction, my current book (Whatever It Takes) is crime fiction, and my next two books are in different non-fiction genres. I don’t prefer any particular genre or style, it depends on the book or piece of work. I do like stories, though – I think all writing must have an element of story.

How do you develop your characters as you write, are any of them based on real people?

In fiction, I don’t base my characters on real people. I look at character and voice first and these general grow organically when I put the characters in situations and with other people. I don’t plan out my novels, they tend to grow quietly like a garden. When something flourishes, I’ll try to build more around it. When something fails, I’ll let it go.

What was the inspiration behind your book?

I’d never read a crime novel set in my city of Cork and so I wanted to rectify that omission when I began Whatever It Takes. That was the beginning point. Then I wanted a character who wouldn’t accept the impacts of crime, who would do ‘whatever it takes’ to prevent it. The book grew from that, with characters, plotlines and situations evolving as it went along.

What is your writing process-do you plan it out first? Write a bit at a time?

I tend to begin with characters and voices. Then, until I have a plot worked out, I will write scenes and see where the characters take them. I like to test the characters and get them out of their comfort zones in difficult situations. That’s when we see the real personalities behind the day-to-day facades we all create. Books also need tension and again that’s very revealing and readers enjoy it.

How much of you is reflected in your writing?

It’s hard to say. I hope I’m compassionate in my writing, even if some of the situations in Whatever It Takes are difficult for the characters (and readers). Because it’s a crime novel, involving professional criminals and police, there is a lot of conflict, which I prefer to avoid in my own life. I don’t agree with a lot of what the main character Collins, does, he’s certainly not like me, I think. I wouldn’t last ten minutes as a detective or criminal!

What kind of research did you have to do before/during writing behind your book?

It depends on the book. For a book of essays I’m working on, I did a lot of research. For Whatever It Takes I did some research about ‘true crime’ and garda procedures, but then I deliberately changed aspects of those to suit the needs of the book. I asked friends and experts who know about crime, policing and medical issues a lot of questions. With location I was very attentive to detail, going to all the places where scenes take place in the book.

How much attention do you pay to the reviews that you get?

I try not to, but luckily for my first book the reviews were very positive. I think the main thing about bad reviews it to learn from them and not to take them personally. The aim is for everybody who reads your work to love it, but in reality that’s unlikely, and that’s okay. Conversely I tried not to get too carried away with good reviews for The First Sunday in September, either. Reading is so subjective, it’s important not to lose sight of that.

Are friends and family supportive of your writing?

Incredibly so. My wife Ciara is amazingly supportive and I’m not sure if I could keep going without her. All my family have been wonderful. They even did a Zoom launch for the ebook version of Whatever It Takes, when it came out in late April on Amazon. All my friends have been brilliant, too, and I give thanks for them every day.

How do you feel leading up to your publication day?

It’s very exciting and I try to enjoy it all because it’s so rare. Most books are ideas or dreams that are never put down on the page, and most that are begun are not completed. So to actually finish a book (which isn’t easy), have the guts to send it out, survive the rejections, keep sending it out until it’s accepted – all that is really brave and takes great inner resources. I try to float on the wonder of it all, and I’m hoping for that again on July 31 when Whatever It Takes hits the book shops.

Which other authors inspire you or are there any you particularly enjoy reading?

All writers inspire and amaze me. My favourite writer is Kate Atkinson. Her Jackson Brodie series of crime books have such a light touch – as does the work of Fred Vargas and Andrea Camilleri – and I admire that so much. I also greatly admire Elizabeth Strout; her novel Anything is Possible is simply wonderful. My favourite crime writer is Peter Temple, the great Australian novelist. But I also love Tana French, Karin Fossum, Jo Nesbo, James Lee Burke and Henning Mankell. I love the short stories of Wendy Erskine, John McGahern and Danielle McLaughlin and the essays of Sinéad Glesson, Zadie Smith, Deborah Levy, Olivia Laing and Joan Didion. I love the pure storytelling of Philip Pullman and the humour of Terry Pratchett.

Finally...what are you working on right now?

Right now I’m working with a famous sportsman on his autobiography and a book of essays on sport. After that I’m hoping to return to Detective Collins of Whatever It Takes, to see what trouble he gets himself into next …

About the Author

Tadgh Coakley is from Mallow and lives in Cork city. His debut novel The First Sunday in September was shortlisted forthe Mercier Press fiction prize and was published in 2018 to much acclaim. His sports writing has appeared in The Irish Examiner and The Holly Bough. He has also been published in The Stinging Fly, The Honest Ulsterman, Silver Apples,Quarryman and the From the Well anthology. He is a graduate of the MA in Creative Writing course at University College Cork.

Thanks to Tadgh for stopping by the blog today!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for being part of the tour!
    Meggy from Love Books Tours