Wednesday 11 December 2019

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Cork Profile

Kevin Doyle, author

Thursday, 25th July, 2019 1:07pm

Name and position:  Kevin Doyle, author

Age: 58

Lives: Just this one.

Family: My partner Mary and our two children, Reidín and Saoirse.

Pets: None at present.

Favourite thing about Cork: The people who live here.

Least favourite thing about Cork: The re-development of the docklands.

One thing you’d change about Cork: I’d prefer if there was less cloud in sky all day everyday…

When you were small, what did you want to be as a grown-up?

A scientist.

Tell us about your career progression to your role today:

After school I went to UCC and eventually focused on organic chemistry. I liked it quite a lot and eventually got a job in a pharmaceutical company in Cork’s Lower Harbour area. I worked with a great bunch of people there. I was unsettled though, and wondered about changing careers. I had won a Green Card, but as I was about to explore that avenue I met my present partner and sweetheart, Mary Favier.

We travelled around the world together and nearly didn’t return to Cork. I worked as an industrial chemist in New Jersey for a while too. Eventually, I gravitated towards a career in writing. I’m a political person, I’m an anarchist, so I’ve been involved in a lot of political campaigns over the years in this city and nationally.

We have two children and I was at home with them a lot when they were young. It was a real pleasure, but minding children is hard work too. Eventually I began to get some of my short stories published. I published a children’s book with the illustrator Spark Deeley, called ‘The Worms That Saved the World’. After winning the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award in 2016, Blackstaff Press accepted my novel, ‘To Keep a Bird Singing’ for publication. That came out in 2017 and has done well. It is a crime thriller set in Cork, on the city’s northside. It centres on the identity of an informer inside Sinn Féin named ‘Brian Boru’. On the road to uncovering the real identity of Brian Boru, the main character, Noelie Sullivan, uncovers an older, uglier crime centring on Danesfort Industrial School. My new novel, ‘A River of Bodies’, is about that darker investigation.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of what you do?

Hearing from readers that they’ve enjoyed what I’ve written. Or hearing back from a reader that something I’ve written has helped him or her.

What motivates you?

Seeing injustice.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Don’t underestimate the power of privilege and money in this world.

If you weren’t in the job you have, what would you be doing?

I might have stayed in chemistry or a related area. It was rewarding, if you could manage to stay out of trouble.

What is your greatest life or career achievement to-date?

My family matters the most to me. Their health and well-being comes before all else. I feel very fortunate that I met the woman I’ve spent most of my life with.

Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?

I had an uncle on my father’s side who lived in London. During my school years, for quite a few summers, I went to stay with him for weeks at a time. He brought me around to all the museums of London, and in a sense showed me the world at a young age. It was at Speaker’s Corner in London that I first heard a person explain what anarchist ideas were actually about. Sadly, my uncle died before I could thank him for all he did for me.

What is the life dream now?

I’d like to keep writing and being published of course, but writing is a very hard business now.

How do you switch off?

Running is something I’ve grown to love. I also like to travel away from Ireland.

What is your favourite Cork memory?

My dad was from Kenmare and my mother from Bere Island. Football was in our blood, so at Munster final time the tension in our house was high. When the match was held in Killarney, we all travelled down by train and ate a picnic, prepared by my mother of course, before going on to the match. Kerry always seemed to win, but the sandwiches my mother made were out of this world.

What is your favourite place in Cork?

I really like the view of Cork from the Camp Field, off the Old Youghal Road. It is the same view as that from Bell’s Field, but from higher up on the hill. It was the view of Cork I grew up with.

Do you have a favourite quote or motto?

During the battle for Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, the anarchist militant Durruti was asked for his view on how the campaign was going. He said: ‘We have a new world in our heart and it is growing this very minute.’ I guess he was underlining the age old belief that despite the difficulties one faces, a positive vision can give you strength and resilience.

When are you at your happiest?

Probably when my partner and children are close by. However, a spirited protest brings me great joy too.

Any regrets?

A few.

What is your hidden talent?

I like to cook!

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I’m a sucker for a good war movie.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Have you heard about this new book, ‘A River of Bodies’ …?! It will be launched this Thursday 25 July at Eason’s on Patrick’s Street at 6.30pm.

Name and position:  Kevin Doyle, author

Age: 58

Lives: Just this one.

Family: My partner Mary and our two children, Reidín and Saoirse.

Pets: None at present.

Favourite thing about Cork: The people who live here.

Least favourite thing about Cork: The re-development of the docklands.

One thing you’d change about Cork: I’d prefer if there was less cloud in sky all day everyday…

When you were small, what did you want to be as a grown-up?

A scientist.

Tell us about your career progression to your role today:

After school I went to UCC and eventually focused on organic chemistry. I liked it quite a lot and eventually got a job in a pharmaceutical company in Cork’s Lower Harbour area. I worked with a great bunch of people there. I was unsettled though, and wondered about changing careers. I had won a Green Card, but as I was about to explore that avenue I met my present partner and sweetheart, Mary Favier.

We travelled around the world together and nearly didn’t return to Cork. I worked as an industrial chemist in New Jersey for a while too. Eventually, I gravitated towards a career in writing. I’m a political person, I’m an anarchist, so I’ve been involved in a lot of political campaigns over the years in this city and nationally.

We have two children and I was at home with them a lot when they were young. It was a real pleasure, but minding children is hard work too. Eventually I began to get some of my short stories published. I published a children’s book with the illustrator Spark Deeley, called ‘The Worms That Saved the World’. After winning the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award in 2016, Blackstaff Press accepted my novel, ‘To Keep a Bird Singing’ for publication. That came out in 2017 and has done well. It is a crime thriller set in Cork, on the city’s northside. It centres on the identity of an informer inside Sinn Féin named ‘Brian Boru’. On the road to uncovering the real identity of Brian Boru, the main character, Noelie Sullivan, uncovers an older, uglier crime centring on Danesfort Industrial School. My new novel, ‘A River of Bodies’, is about that darker investigation.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of what you do?

Hearing from readers that they’ve enjoyed what I’ve written. Or hearing back from a reader that something I’ve written has helped him or her.

What motivates you?

Seeing injustice.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Don’t underestimate the power of privilege and money in this world.

If you weren’t in the job you have, what would you be doing?

I might have stayed in chemistry or a related area. It was rewarding, if you could manage to stay out of trouble.

What is your greatest life or career achievement to-date?

My family matters the most to me. Their health and well-being comes before all else. I feel very fortunate that I met the woman I’ve spent most of my life with.

Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?

I had an uncle on my father’s side who lived in London. During my school years, for quite a few summers, I went to stay with him for weeks at a time. He brought me around to all the museums of London, and in a sense showed me the world at a young age. It was at Speaker’s Corner in London that I first heard a person explain what anarchist ideas were actually about. Sadly, my uncle died before I could thank him for all he did for me.

What is the life dream now?

I’d like to keep writing and being published of course, but writing is a very hard business now.

How do you switch off?

Running is something I’ve grown to love. I also like to travel away from Ireland.

What is your favourite Cork memory?

My dad was from Kenmare and my mother from Bere Island. Football was in our blood, so at Munster final time the tension in our house was high. When the match was held in Killarney, we all travelled down by train and ate a picnic, prepared by my mother of course, before going on to the match. Kerry always seemed to win, but the sandwiches my mother made were out of this world.

What is your favourite place in Cork?

I really like the view of Cork from the Camp Field, off the Old Youghal Road. It is the same view as that from Bell’s Field, but from higher up on the hill. It was the view of Cork I grew up with.

Do you have a favourite quote or motto?

During the battle for Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, the anarchist militant Durruti was asked for his view on how the campaign was going. He said: ‘We have a new world in our heart and it is growing this very minute.’ I guess he was underlining the age old belief that despite the difficulties one faces, a positive vision can give you strength and resilience.

When are you at your happiest?

Probably when my partner and children are close by. However, a spirited protest brings me great joy too.

Any regrets?

A few.

What is your hidden talent?

I like to cook!

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I’m a sucker for a good war movie.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Have you heard about this new book, ‘A River of Bodies’ …?! It will be launched this Thursday 25 July at Eason’s on Patrick’s Street at 6.30pm.

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