So, a departure from Crime Fiction for Tony Black and a wonderful novel all about family. A book I loved a great deal, you can see my review shortly, but first Tony kindly answered a few questions for me and here is what he had to say.
“His Fathers Son” is a huge departure from crime writing – is it something you have wanted to do for a while?
I have to say, yes. Much as I love the gritty crime stuff there’s only so far down that one particular rabbit hole that you can go. I started off writing more general fiction and sort of drifted into crime and much as I’ve enjoyed exploring the world through Gus Dury’s eyes, and a few others, I’ve just got too many ideas outside the crime genre not to explore those too.
It’s a heartfelt story – does it resonate on a personal level for you?
Yes. My publicist describes it as ‘semi-autobiographical’ and much of it is lifted straight from my real-life experiences. I was born in Australia, like Marti, and grew up in Ireland; moving to Galway on the west coast at the same age as Marti. I used a lot of those early experiences to colour the novel and the time period is the one I remember.
I loved the settings especially – what made you choose emigration and Australia in particular as a backdrop to Joey’s story?
Well, they were both countries that I know and love, and luckily on opposite sides of the world – that kind of contrast was heaven sent for this story. When Marti arrives in Ireland the rain and the cold and the grey of the buildings is a shock compared to the blue-skies and sunshine of Oz. I also had a family background of immigration to draw upon, my own parents being ‘ten-pound poms’ in the 60s so again, a lot of the book’s content is my story too.
Are you intending to write more books that are outside of the crime genre?
Yes, definitely. I have a non-crime book coming out next year called The Last Tiger which is quite similar to His Father’s Son in the themes it explores. It’s about a family of Lithuanian refugees who think they’re en route to the USA but wash up in Van Diemen’s Land, the once notorious prison island of the British Empire. The infamous Tasmanian tigers are running wild and the father of the family utilises his old skills to trap and kill them for the government bounty, much to the upset of his young son, Myko. It’s a bit of a heart tugger too and draws again on an earlier generation of my family who were Lithuanian immigrants.
Which one book would you like to have if stuck on a desert island?
Probably the Yellow Pages, it would be most use for fire-lighters. But if I couldn’t have that then, A Farewell to Arms by Earnest Hemingway.
Food: Healthy or CHIPS!
Chips. With pizza.
Favourite thing to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Chill out with the papers, I don’t buy them through the week but still manage the Sundies. Then, maybe a long walk with the dog – we have a Cairn terrier puppy right now and he just can’t get enough exercise.
Thank you so much Tony!
First of all my grateful thanks to the publisher for sending me an advanced copy of this wonderfully moving book. Tony Black, well known for his outstanding crime fiction takes a break from that and I for one am very pleased that he did.
Joey Driscol moves his family to Australia in the hopes of a new beginning. For a time the family live happily but when Joey’s wife disappears back to their native Ireland, taking their son Marti with her, Joey is forced to follow if he is to see them again.
This is such a beautifully written story – the characters and the settings come to life and the ups and downs of daily life and those things that can haunt us are brilliantly imagined but oh so realistic. The relationship explored between father and son is magnificent, not just Joey and Marti but Joey and his own father- heart wrenching and appealing, the demons Joey must face from his past in order to secure his and his families future will keep you turning the pages until you are done. My heart was with his wife – Shauna – she suffered as I suffer – a lot of what she has to face to deal with the “Black Dog” are things that I have had to face myself. What made this all the more wonderful for me was seeing the other side. Joey lives with Shauna’s issues – decisions they take and have taken both separately and together make up the world that Marti finds himself living in….if the family are ultimately going to find redemption, its going to be a hard road. I felt for each and every one of them.
This is an emotional story to be sure. Poignant yes. It also has its humour – cleverly paced and bittersweet I highly recommend that you pick a copy of this up as soon as it is available. Mr Black can write more than crime fiction thats for sure. I hope he continues to do so.
Find out more about Tony Black here http://www.tonyblack.net/
Follow him on Twitter here https://twitter.com/TonyblackUk
Happy Reading Folks!