We offer our first and exclusive Q&A Interview with Eamon O’Leary, a writer whose literary works have been featured on our Spillwords pages as well as being Author of the Month of March 2020.
What does it mean to be selected as Author of The Month?
It’s the icing on the cake. To be chosen by one’s peers is very encouraging. Aspiring writers need exposure, and Spillwords provides a wonderful platform for authors to display their wares. It’s great to include this accolade in my CV.
How have your friends and/or family influenced your writing?
Family has given me enough material for a thousand stories, thankfully most contain an element of humor. I should say I’m a late starter. Very late, only starting after retiring. I’d no previous experience and as one who regarded English lessons as a waste of time in school, many friends whilst being supportive were, to be honest, skeptical that I’d have any success. It made me more determined.
What inspires you to write?
Perhaps I should not say this, but writing is not easy. Weeks often disappear without a word being written and then – eureka. It’s usually something insignificant – a current news item, an anecdote in the pub, an interesting or unusual fact. Anything can provide inspiration.
What was your writing catalyst?
Hmmm? Do I have one?
Tell us a little bit about your writing process?
Once the seed takes root, I’ll live the story, or more correctly, the lives of the characters. I have to know these guys and have the story finished before committing a word to paper. It’s a bad habit, but I still reread and edit as I go along. Being a terrible typist doesn’t help. When finished, I edit, edit and edit again. Then I put it aside for at least three months. I’ve yet to pick up and read a story that does not need further work. I find reading out loud a great help and taking the advice of Elmore Leonard – If it sounds like writing; I rewrite it. There may be some talent lucking somewhere, but a lot comes down to; discipline, love, luck, and endurance.
What would you say is most fulfilling about writing?
Seeing what started as a simple idea reach fruition as a published story.
Does the addition of imagery help to tell your story?
Definitely. As a family, we are known as story-tellers. The same story may be trotted out repeatedly, but it’s the use of imagery that guarantees a positive audience reaction.
What is your favorite reading genre?
I don’t have one. I’m trying to make up for lost time and will read anything, well nearly anything. I’m not a fan of sci-fi.
What human being has inspired you the most?
My late mother and Nelson Mandela.
What message would you have for the Spillwords Press community that voted for you?
Sincere thanks. They’ve made an old man happy. I’m strutting around like a peacock since Spillwords gave me the news. A huge thank you to the staff in Spillwords for their professionalism in presenting stories/poems in such an eye-catching manner.
What would you like your legacy as a writer to be?
Wow! A legacy. If my children and, in time, grandchildren read one of my stories and can say “Yeah, that’s good.” That will do for me.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
For people starting out, you don’t need an MA in English Literature or Creative Writing to succeed.
Write to please one person – yourself.
The things I should have learned in English class: Hyperbole, Metaphor, Alliteration, Onomatopoeia, Past Perfect, Past Continuous and his buddy Past Perfect Continuous, etc still mystify me, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always get it right. I’ll skip punctuation, but the comma and me are not best friends.
One last bit of advice: Don’t ask family or friends to critique your work. They’ll tell you it’s fab. Join a writing group instead.
Released early from a life sentence working in financial services, I started writing short stories. To date, it's been much more successful than my golf, which is terrible. No particular genre. An eclectic mix.