Dermot lived in County Cork until he was nine, when the family moved to Kildare. An only child, he was a voracious reader.
“I never thought of being a writer,” he says, “but I loved writing essays in school.”
After qualifying as a dentist, Dermot moved to London, working in Chertsey, and then Richmond before moving to Basingstoke where he stayed, running his own practice until he retired.
“I wrote a couple of articles for dental magazines,” he says.
Dermot has always read seafaring books and has been interested in Elizabethan Ireland and how it operated.
“I had a special interest in Grace O’Malley,” he says. “My father often spoke about her.”
He decided to start researching the period, and taking real facts, wove a story around them.
“I wrote it by hand, then through dictation, and finally with one finger typing,” he says. “It was a slow process.”
The novel sparked the interests of two successive agents. He hopes this will be the first of a seafaring series.
Who is Dermot Keane? (Dermot Keane is the pen name for Diarmuid Clohessy.)
Date of birth: 1947 in Fermoy Co Cork.
Education: Del La Salle Kildare; University College Dublin, Dentistry.
Home: Nately Scures, Hampshire.
Family: Wife, Brenda. 4 sons and 8 grandchildren.
The Day Job: Retired dentist and slow, intermittent writer.
In Another Life: “I was down for engineering at university, and just fell into dentistry.”
Favourite Writers: Patrick O’Brien; Umberto Eco; Arturo Perez-Reverte; Flann O’Brien; John Le Carré.
Second Book: “The second book in the series is complete.”
Top Tip: Get computer literate and try to get an agent.
The Debut: A Most Famous femynyne Sea Captain. Amazon: €6.92. Kindle: €4.51.
This tells the story of Grace O’Malley, sea captain and occasional pirate, who, escaping imprisonment, sets out on a trading voyage to Spain, in order to avoid being subsumed into a rebellion led by the Earl of Desmond. After surviving storms and sea battles she settles peacefully in Spain until the Earl’s cousin forces her to bring Spanish aid to the rebellion.
After her eventful voyage home, she’s no sooner discharged her cargo, when an English blockading fleet arrives on the horizon.
The Verdict: Meticulously researched. A rich tapestry of people, ships and places.
Published in the Irish Examiner on 18th March.
Copyright: Sue J Leonard. 2023.