Today I’m delighted to introduce debut author James Delargy. I met James at Harrogate when my OH and I were both chatting to him in a queue while waiting for an event. The conversation drifted round a variety of subjects but he made the fatal mistake of mentioning in passing he was an author – so there was no escaping an invitation to join us today.
James Delargy was born and raised in Ireland but lived in South Africa, Australia and Scotland, before ending up in semi-rural England where he now lives.
He incorporates this diverse knowledge of towns, cities, landscape and culture picked up on his travels into his writing. He would like to complete a round-the-world series of novels (if only for the chance to indulge in more on-the-ground research).
His debut thriller, 55, was published in April 2019 by Simon & Schuster and has been sold to 21 territories to date. It has also been optioned for feature film by Zucker Productions in partnership with Prodigy Pictures.
Over to James:
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Sam Stone by John Prine
This is a fantastic song about drug addiction in a man returning from an unstated war and was a song that myself and my brothers would sing as kids in the car, not understanding the meaning behind the words, ‘There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes…’
It is so poetic and tragic including the ending where the veteran is ‘climbing walls while sitting in a chair.’ My favourite line of all comes from the refrain: ‘Sweet songs never last too long, on broken radios’ which is immense. It was written when the singer was just 25 which amazes me to this day to be that profound and wizened that young.
Jockey Full of Bourbon by Tom Waits
There are literally a hundred tracks that I could choose from Tom Waits. My favourite artist full stop. From crooning, heartfelt songs such as Looking For The Heart of Saturday Night, Tom Traubert’s Blues, Martha and Alice to semi-spoken word classics such as Step Right Up, What’s He Building and Frank’s Wild Years to screeching, powerhouse songs such as God’s Away on Business, Anywhere I Lay My Head and I Don’t Wanna Grow Up.
He has the entire range from crippling pathos and desperation to character-driven songs that find humour in the darkest places.
A song Come on Up to the House has one of my favourite lyrics, a biting retort, ‘Come down off the cross, we could use the wood.’
I could choose any song from Rain Dogs but I’ll plump for Jockey Full of Bourbon as it is a tale of murder and treachery, full of wonderful characters, all set in a locale that is described so perfectly.
In the House, in a Heartbeat by John Murphy
This is an instrumental track that I use when I am sitting down to write, normally late at night when its dark and quiet. It is a heart-pumping number that starts off with a quiet piano before eventually building into an electric guitar crescendo.
As it lacks lyrics it is a good piece to listen to as there is no temptation to sing along.
Everlong by Foo Fighters
Another song that just builds and builds throughout. A thumping, blood-pumping track that is only improved by the classic video.
All I Wanna Do by Sheryl Crow
This is a lovely, boozy tale of just hanging around and reminds me of doing nothing when I should have been studying. ‘All I wanna do is have some fun. I get the feeling I’m not the only one.’
Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
Chocolate – I have to resist eating it too early in the day otherwise it’s all I’ll eat.
Writing – Being immersed in a story provides a sense of utopia that is hard to replicate.
Sport – I’m a sucker for watching sport and zoning out. I get relaxation from watching other people running around.
Music – it can inspire or soothe depending on the scene that I might be writing at the time.
Internet – there is just so much to find out about the world. I have to ration it otherwise I’ll find myself heading down endless rabbit-holes of information but useful and useless.
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Make the most of school holidays. You won’t always get 2 months off (its two months in Northern Ireland) in the summer with free food and rent.
Take every opportunity to get abroad. Meet new people and cultures. Sometimes it will be hard but it is worth it.
Toast tastes better with butter.
Appreciate your family and the people that you grew up with. You won’t be around there forever to say hello to them every day.
Try some writing. Don’t wait until your mid-twenties to get into it. Everyone has something to say, no matter if you grew up in the middle of nowhere. Keep going despite the rejections and the self-doubt. As long as you enjoy writing it, keep going.
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
I once shot my brother through the lip with a homemade bow and arrow.
I have a day job so I write from 10pm to 2am.
I have a mobile phone that is 8 years old. This makes social media difficult.
I have done a skydive.
I love the TV show, Deadwood. The dialogue so poetic and fantastic. As well as the show itself being one of the greatest made.
What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?
I’d love a Number 1 UK and international selling book. That would be in there for sure.
Play football in the Nou Camp
Visit Machu Picchu
Become a full-time writer. At least for a couple of years anyway.
Watch the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
Thanks so much for joining us today James. It was lovely meeting you in Harrogate and great to get to know a little bit more about you today. I can recommend Machu Picchu (my knees would disagree) but if you’re feeling lazy there is a train. Toast does indeed taste better with butter and oh for the days of long school summer holidays! If it makes you feel less hampered with social media , my OH has an original Nokia (to be fair he shuns social media too, so not really a problem) – his godson was impressed as he thought he’d got one as a retro tribute! Fingers crossed for the international bestseller and pleased to see you chose the Nou Camp and not the Bernabéu.
Wilbrook in Western Australia is a sleepy, remote town that sits on the edge of miles and miles of unexplored wilderness. It is home to Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins, who is proud to run the town’s small police station, a place used to dealing with domestic disputes and noise complaints.
All that changes on a scorching day when two men enter Sergeant Chandler Jenkins police station.
Both tell the same story. That they were kidnapped and escaped becoming the 55th victim of a serial killer. And claiming that the other is the serial killer.
Two suspects. Two identical stories. Which one is the truth?
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