Inspired by the spare writing of Henry Miller and Denis Cooper, Ted started writing in his teens.
“It wasn’t good. I wrote journals and personal diarist stuff.”
At college, Ted wrote his thesis on Flann O’Brien; this interest led him to the Dalkey Archive Press in Illinois, where he worked for a year and a half. Then it was off to Chicago to work on a boating magazine. He has since been employed as a mover, a chef, and a teacher in college.
Meanwhile, he was writing.
“I started with short stories, and after that I tried a novel. I wrote two before my debut. They will stay in a drawer. But they taught me how to write, and what not to do.”
The debut started with a series of vignettes and short stories based on Ted’s life.
“I took those and began to write darker things in, thinking about the way life can go wrong. When you are privileged, in general, you can take life for granted. I like recasting, making readers question what came before.”
Who is Ted McDermott
Date of birth: 1982
Education: Hugh school in South Carolina; University of Michigan, English Literature; University of Montana; Masters in Creative Writing.
Home: Montana. “We’ve just moved back here from Philadelphia.”
Family: Wife, Shawn, and a mutt named Ramsay.
The Day Job: An academic book editor.
Interests: Skiing; hiking; walking the dog.
Favourite Writers: Julie Hecht; Flann O’Brien; Shane Salter; James Welch.
Second Novel: “I’m working on one. It features a murderer and a reporter.”
Top Tip: Think about why you are writing, rather than what or how. That gave me clarity of purpose.”
The Debut: The Minor Outsider: One: €14.99. Kindle: €9.03.
Ted is taking a college writing course when he spots Taylor. They fall in love over a long summer where they party and trek, but can the relationship work? The beautiful Taylor is sensitive; loving and gentle, whereas Ted struggles in a spiral of self destruction. He has had a tumour in his arm for some time, living in denial, and when Taylor insists that he seek help, he doesn’t like what he hears. But is he imagining some of his symptoms?
The Verdict: Quite brilliant. An honest unflinching account of a man and his frailties.
Published in the Irish Examiner on 2nd April
© Sue Leonard. 2016.