Jone$town will have you captivated

by Amy Rohu
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Dublin author Robert McDermott has just released his latest publication ‘Jone$town’. McDermott, who lives in the capital and teaches English and Creative Writing, spoke to the Dublin Gazette about his latest release and some of the inspirations and challenges he faced when publishing his book.

“My book is set in a small town in contemporary New Hampshire and describes the goings-on in a prestigious gated community nicknamed Jonestown by the locals. The events are told through the eyes of an unreliable narrator who tells the reader from the outset that he’s making some of the story up as he goes along, he even suggests we guess what’s real and what’s not.”

He continued: “When a neighbour’s cat goes missing it prompts a sequence of events that unravel a series of mysteries and secrets about not only Jonestown but also the narrator’s past forcing him to confront some disturbing truths.” 

Speaking about his interest in writing, McDermott said: “I’ve always enjoyed telling stories. Encouraged by my English teacher, I began writing when I was in school and continued on and off into my adult life. I can’t really pinpoint one particular influence as there have been many. I’ve been lucky to have the support of some great writers along the way and each of them has been influential to some extent.”

While he has some experience in writing already, McDermott said he didn’t find writing the first draft of his book ‘particularly challenging’, but finding a publisher was the challenging part. Another aspect he found tricky to navigate was after he had written the book and that’s when the hard work really started: 

“The most exhausting thing is not writing a book, it’s afterward. I’ve spent the last six months as we geared up for publication editing, formatting, emailing my editor, doing a million things while also managing my job and home life. I know I shouldn’t complain and I don’t, but I’d hate to think how much coffee I’ve drunk in that time.”

Giving his advice to anyone who wants to write a book in Ireland he said: “As the slogan goes, just do it. There is never a better time to write a book than now. If you have a story that’s burning a hole in your soul or, if you’re lucky enough to have a story that only you can tell, do it, stop waiting. If you wait until tomorrow, it won’t happen.”

Jone$town is out now and available on Amazon, Book Depository in Dubray Books Blackrock. 

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