I grew up in Dublin, Ireland, where I still live today. After living in London, Bahrain, and Thailand, and studying music at Ballyfermot College, I produced electronic dance music for several years under the name Demon Groove. My music has been played in clubs all over the world.
In September 2011, I signed my first ep to Frederik Olufsen’s (of the Bang and Olufsen family) label, Royal Fetish Recordings under the moniker Demon Groove. Between 2011 and 2015, I released eleven EDM face mashers through the coolest indie labels around—including Adapted Records and Tasty Records. When the EDM scene lost its way and the music devolved into “basicness”, I went travelling for 6 months. During this time I wrote several songs on guitar (and a borrowed ukulele).
MY WRITING JOURNEY
I’ve always wanted to write a book. I pencilled in that ambition for when I retired. But in 2015 I spent a summer biking from Dublin to Milan and that autumn in Thailand. I had no idea how to structure sentences, I didn’t even fully understand what an independent clause was and my spelling was horrendous, still is. (However, I am a bit of a grammar nazi now). During my three months on the Thai island of Ko Chang, I began editing my travel journal/blog (which I published under the title In Fields of Nettles). I also began scribbling a first draft of The Governor’s Daughter (The story of an Irishman living in America who gets mixed up in a secret society…I was listening to a lot of Joe Rogan’s podcast on the beach).
When I returned to Dublin at the start of 2016 I began editing that manuscript and became obsessed with writing (something I had wanted to pursue since I was a boy). I was also honing a load of songs I wrote on guitar in Thailand, and some really good stuff was taking shape. While perfecting those songs, and working to buy new equipment, I was teaching myself how to be a proper writer and, more importantly, how to edit out all that useless flowery writing new writers gravitate towards. This took some doing—and you might be able to see it in my short-story section how deep I dived into various ways to write.
My first book was put aside in 2017, and I wrote two 60,000-word manuscripts—which served as a lesson in structuring a book. I did the same thing in 2018 and developed the book-writing process by finishing two 80,000-word manuscripts: The True King of Ireland (about a dolphin that helps a politician win an election) and Pieces of a Man (about a divorcee writing a book on a plane and falling in love with an air-stewardess). As decent as they were, I felt I hadn’t nailed it yet. Sensing the real books were about to come, I shelved both. (I may return to them at a later date).
SONGWRITING, PRODUCTION, AND DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR
My songwriting was moving onto another level alongside writing. However, I found myself in a somewhat deluded headspace at this time—where I was dreaming about working with the likes of Adel and Bruno Mars. I suppose I was that confident about the songs and was dreaming a little too big. But you have to! That ambition drove me to choose the very best songs and become much more professional in my mindset—and generally, a perfectionist in everything I was doing. Better songs and productions came and my feet were back on the ground.
In 2019, after working without much enthusiasm at a job I had lost my passion for, I was fired (by an ego-maniac of an employer, it must be said). This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. From the ashes of despair, my debut novel came about.
Around that time, I was having lucid dreams. I’m not usually one of those people who tries to interpret dreams. But this one in particular resonated with me: I was on an island helping kids escape from crazed people. It was visceral and stayed with me all that day. I decided to write it down.
That dream became the island setting for Treoir (Irish for Guardian), and the children became the subjects of the novel: Jonah, a genius with albinism, and the protagonist’s precarious niece, Quinn.
I wrote the first draft of Treoir in about 6 weeks between May-June 2019 and, after several rewrites and months of intensive editing, I published it October 9th, 2020. I plan to market it properly once I’ve edited my second book: Killing Venice.
GRAFT TO CRAFT
Being fully immersed in writing in 2019-2020, I wrote several manuscripts (each one over the course of 2 months). One being Death of Venice now called Killing Venice. It’s the story of an Irish Judge…if I told you I would spoil it. Let’s just say he’s a bad-bad boyo! The second manuscript was How to Mend a Broken Heart, a streetwise Dublin barber tries to escape his miserable past by helping a young hood put his life back together after his father kills himself. And Hometides, a semi-autobiographical, satirical, dark-comedy based in Rathmines, Dublin, told in the 2nd person about a failed musician with big dreams and facing reality again. I also started My Sister, The Quiet Girl, about Irish twins born months apart who get themselves mixed up in political activism that leads to a twisted, Hitchcockian plot involving fake identities and manipulating people into doing some murdering. That’s not finished. I also wrote half-a-book called The Bad Book, about two bored high fliers who make a bet and play with a loner’s life, inviting him into their twisted celebrity world and try to win the bet. Killing Venice will be my second novel, followed by either My Sister The Quiet Girl or The Bad Book.
While writing/editing those books I was taking days and weekends to edit Treoir.
I got back to full-time editing Treoir in December 2019 after two rounds with beta readers. And after months of intensive work, I had the first solid version by the end of May (exactly 1 year later) and a rough cover.
In the summer of 2020 I used the Covid lockdowns to perfect the novel, obsessing over every piece of syntax and line of Treoir, recording the days work, listening to it before bed, waking and listening again, correcting every comma, every clunky word until I felt I was seeing a movie play in my head. Besides all that—and obsessively recording my music—I was designing my cover…and becoming a baws on Photoshop.
I’m currently recording and producing my songs in between editing the books I’ve written (while trying to build a social-media following—something I’ve found to be a soul-sucking endeavour).
I’m inspired by writers like Alex Garland and Chuck Palahniuk, John Steinbeck and Alexander Dumas, and Robert M. Pirsig, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Salman Rushdie.
As for musicians, there are way too many to mention. I am my own inspiration nowadays—that does sound like the kind of concieted thing Kanye West would say. He calls himself a genius. I’ve learned ‘genius’ is a result of passion and endeavour. And if it is, therefore, we all are in our own way.