Pat has always written, but he also loved fishing, boating and sports as a child.
“When I read swallows and amazons I felt I should have a go at writing about my own life. I started a novel.”
After college Pat worked as a freelance geologist, in Ireland and abroad.
“I dreamt up projects and would approach a company and then head off to look for lithium or whatever was required. I lived on my wits. I also worked on contracts for companies. I worked in Africa, Asia, Australia, the US, Canada and Europe, but was based in Dublin. After 15 years I moved back to Limerick, taking my family.”
That’s when Pat started to write. For years he suffered rejections, but then, in 2011, his luck changed. His stories won prizes, and many mentions, and he started on a novel. He found an agent but it never sold .
Most of the stories in this debut collection have been previously published in various journals.
Who is Pat O’Connor?
Place of birth: Castleconnell, County Limerick.
Education: St Munchin’s College, Limerick. University college Dublin; Geology, then PhD in geology.
Home: Castleconnell, County Limerick
Family: wife, Joan. Grown sons Padraig and Art.
The Day Job: “Helping in my wife’s investment advice company, and writing, fixing houses, minding nature, and rehabilitating rivers.”
In Another Life: “I’d be a painter, an environmental scientist, a forester, musician and explorer.”
Favourite Writers: Flann O’Brien; Elizabeth Strout; Don DeLillo; Annie Proulx; Mike McCormack; Billy O’Callaghan.
Second Novel: It’s a contemporary literary novel. “I’m currently looking for a publisher.”
Top Tip: Write regularly; write what’s true to you; and above all, persevere.
The Debut: People in my Brain. Limerick Writer’s Centre: €12.
A man, peacefully climbing a hill, hears a disturbing report of disaster, before losing radio and phone contact. Is a global calamity imminent? A marriage is teetering, a family living in chaos, because of a wife’s financial decisions. A café gives out advice along with the sandwiches.
“I try to observe and imagine in a detached way, but I write out of emotion. The subject has to raise the pulse or prick the conscience. And there has to be humour.”
The Verdict: A quirky, original collection, which looks at today’s issues in wildly unexpected ways.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 18th January.
© Sue J Leonard. 2020