Interview with Irish author Steven Callaghan

July 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Posted in Literary Academy | 2 Comments

1. How would you describe your latest novel ‘Fishing in Beirut’

       Fishing in Beirut is a novel about five characters who have come to Paris for different reasons. I intended it broadly as a story of desire, and more specifically as being about these five people trying to come to terms with themselves and their pasts. When I lived in Paris I felt intoxicated by the city pretty much on a daily basis. I wanted to really convey a sense of modern, day to day Paris to the reader also.


2. How would you describe your writing style in ‘Fishing in Beirut’?

       I think the writing style changes slightly depending on which character we are with. However, I wanted it to be quite sensual throughout. It is relatively plain in terms of language but the focus is very much on sights, sounds, smells, and physical and mental feelings. Also, exactly where in Paris a scene is taking place is always described.


3. Your novel takes place between European destinations what do these locations lend to the story?

        I would hope they lend the story a strong sense of place. They also help the reader get a fuller grasp of the characters by being able to associate them with particular cities.


4. What authors have inspired you?

I’ve certainly been inspired by authors as diverse as Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, Natsuo Kirino, Fyodor Dostoyevsky  and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. However, I’ve been inspired equally, if not more so, by filmmakers like Jim Jarmusch, Abel Ferrara and Michael Mann, and musicians like Tom Waits, Kurt Wagner and Vic Chesnutt, in how I approach storytelling.


5. Do you have plans for a second novel?

       I’ve just completed my second novel. It’s set in Paris once again and I’m currently looking for a publisher!


6. What advice would you give a debutant Irish author?

       I don’t think authors tend to need advice from other authors on writing itself. The helpful advice is that which relates to the industry, regarding finding an agent, submitting to the right people etc. The whole process is quite trial and error, and I suppose my advice would be if you believe in your work, don’t give up. Do your research, keep submitting, and don’t lose heart if it seems to entire mainstream publishing industry is one big closed shop. Increasingly these days, there are all kinds of ways and means to get your stuff out there. I serialised Fishing in Beirut online before it ever came out in hardcopy.


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  1. Sarah’s Books Reviews and interviews are always so very interesting and also informative. The Fishing in Beirut interview gives a great insight into the writing process and sources of inspiration, such as time place and style. I think Fishing In Beirut succeeds in giving a very broad and ‘different’ sense of place, with a comprehensive view of a Paris less walked and seen by the average tourist. Yet the sense of time and place manages to evoke a real Paris, and real characters living their lives there. Anyone who loves Paris would love this book! But it is the characters who draw us into the scene, real people in a real place, warts and all. Sarah’s interview broadened my understanding still further and I was delighted to read about a new novel by Steven Callaghan coming out soon. Very best wishes on it’s success. 🙂

  2. From Steven’s interview, i am interested in reading this book. I was in paris once and loved it. The characters sould like real people too

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