Friday, March 23, 2018
Exclusive interview with Madam Tulip author David Ahern
Today, it gives me great pleasure to feature Irish author and documentary writer and director David Ahern. He is the author behind the exciting and humourous paranormal mystery and thriller series Madam Tulip.
About David Ahern:
David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland but ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist and sensible person. He earned his doctorate but soon absconded to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series and winning numerous awards, none of which got him free into nightclubs.
Madam Tulip wasn’t David Ahern's first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’d ever had with a computer. He is now writing the fourth Madam Tulip adventure and enjoys pretending this is actual work.
David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud.
Check out Nadaness In Motion's five-star book review for Madam Tulip (book 1 in the series). The books can be read as standalones.
First, a few general questions
Q: What are you favourite reading genres?
David Ahern: Non-fiction mostly, but in fiction comedy and mystery-thriller. I binge on historical every few years.
Q: Who are you favourite writers, canonic and contemporary?
David Ahern: Patrick O’Brien (a wonderful historical novelist and one of the finest storytellers ever), EF Benson (Mapp and Lucia) and Dorothy Sayers (of course). For comedy, Wodehouse, Thurber and Flann O’Brien (hilarious Irish genius). In the canon, Jane Austin is right up there for me.
Q: How much time do you spend on writing your books? Do you have a target in place?
David Ahern: I guess no more than a couple of hours a day. At the editing stage, much longer. I don’t have a target for the number of words. Anyhow, I’m an obsessive rewriter.
Q: How has your study of psychology helped you in writing the Madam Tulip books?
David Ahern: About two percent of what living has taught me.
Q: What first inspired the Madam Tulip character and subsequent books?
David Ahern: I’m an Irish writer who grew up in a theatrical family. I used to make serious TV and wanted to do some fun stories for a change. The Madam Tulip books make me smile. I hope they do the same for readers.
Q: Character development is hard to see in mystery books. So how did you work that out in the Madam Tulip books?
David Ahern: For me, character comes first. The big challenge is to create mysteries that aren’t mechanical and characters, who are real.
Q: I like the idea of tarot readings, how much research did you have to put in this section to write about it?
David Ahern: Some, but I have advice from some real experts too.
Q: Will we get more revelations about Derry's visions and abilities in the coming books? (In book 1, she was struggling with her ability and was at one point hoping to lose it entirely)
David Ahern: You’ll have to read the books to find that out! But I will say that sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between psychic abilities and empathy - a sensitivity to people and atmospheres. Derry has both. The important thing for readers, though, is that these abilities are no help at all to Derry in solving crimes. But they do matter for all kinds of reasons.
Q: Apart from Bruce, Jacko, and Vanessa, are there other recurrent characters? Even if they appear in books 1 & 3 but not 2 for example?
David Ahern: Bella is definitely here to stay. There may be others, but we have to see what they want to do.
Q: How many books are you planning for the series?
David Ahern: I’ll keep going as long as readers want me to. I’m writing book #4 now.
Publishing & Miscellaneous
Q: Are you a self-published author? For you what have been the pros and cons of publishing?
David Ahern: I’m not really typical of self-publishing in that I run an independent TV production company that has started a small publishing venture. So I’m kinda the boss and not the boss. They’re testing the water with Madam Tulip, and so far they’re happy.
I’m a big fan of the freedom and independence the smaller publishers can give their authors. Writers looking for a deal with the big houses can forget that what they need is the right contract for them as a writer, and that’s not easy to get.
Q: Having written paranormal mystery, what other genres would you consider in the future?
David Ahern: Madam Tulip already crosses genres to some extent, so I don’t feel constrained at all. I’m inclined to the literary, but then I'd have to play the artist and pretend to know what I’m talking about.
Q: Are you working on anything else besides the Madam Tulip series?
David Ahern: No. Tulip is enough for me.
Q: Is there anything you'd like to add?
David Ahern: Just a big thanks for having me.
Buy links for Madam Tulip (book 1), Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts (book 2), and Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance (book 3).