Paul Kestell

Over the last week I have been tending to my significant other who is recovering from surgery, so I am a little behind in getting this weeks interview under way but, I’m on it now and it will be good. So, please read on to enjoy my chat with Paul Kestell, author of ‘Wood Point’.

Paul was born in Dublin Ireland in 1958. His first work was the radio play ‘For A Few Weeks In June’, broadcast in 1990. He took up writing full-time in 2007 and his novel ‘Viareggio’ received excellent reviews in the Sunday Independent and in the Irish World Newspapers. This year Paul read from ‘Viareggio’ at the West Cork literary festival in July. His second novel, ‘Wood Point’ has just been published by Thorn Island Books. He has also released the first story from a new collection called ‘Hamilton Row’. This story is called ‘The Fuchsia Walk’ and is now available alongside his other work as an e-book. ‘Wood Point’ will be available in paperback in the coming weeks.

 IDI – Paul, some writers have been known to be eccentric, from keeping rotting apples in a desk drawer to only being able to write on a specific paper. Do you have any quirks or superstitions that have become as integral to good writing as plot and character?

PK – To be honest, I never concern myself with plot or characterizations, the reason being that I write cinematically and the film and  evolve as I view the action in my mind’s eye. However, I love a glass of ice-cold Rose late into the stillness of night–when one of my characters is having an epiphany.

IDI – When did you have your ‘writer’s epiphany’? When did you know that you were born to write?

PK – When I was about eight-years-old I won a prize at school for a short essay–and crayon drawing–of me and my father walking over a nearby hillside. I lied because I said we had spotted a rabbit–which we hadn’t–I had just discovered my creative side and it was the first time a teacher had taken notice of me because I wasn’t good in math.

IDI – What are you working on now? Can we get a peek?

PK – I have just finished my second novel, ‘Wood Point’ published by own imprint Thorn Island books. I could say lots of things about publishing in Ireland, but I won’t bore you or make excuses. I didn’t approach any mainstream publisher with ‘Wood Point’ because I don’t know of any who would match the subversive genre in which I write. Here is a short sample…

Kate fixed the buggy harness; she slotted the straps into the receivers. Sarah stared into her mother’s eyes, her cheeks red. The wind hushed the tiny hairs stranded on her head. Kate pulled up her hood and fastened the top button. The wind, westerly from Timoleague, wasn’t cold yet; it gusted and almost blew her backwards. She lifted the buggy over the stretch of matted grass, round the exotic tree that didn’t quite know of the prevailing wind.

Across the estuary the tide was on the turn. A small boat moored at Burren Pier bobbled as if excited it was allowed more water. The cattle still on the side of the hills looked odd; she felt they might fall over as they stood statuesque just below the ridge. Aunt Myrna was minding Fiona. A blessing to get out in the air. She was grateful for the pathway, again the first of the new tide against the sea wall.

I have just finished my short story, ‘The Fuchsia Walk’. It is 10,000 words long and concerns a young priest who is morally tortured after hearing a strange confession from his own parish priest. Both, ‘Wood Point’ and ‘The Fuchsia Walk’ are available on Smashwords. ‘Wood Point’ in paperback is almost ready for purchase.

IDI – Where do you get your story ideas?

PK – What actually exhausts me is the sheer terror I experience when I feel I cannot ever get to the end of the stories circulating in my brain. I never go dry writing, as true writers don’t. When I am writing I live, when I am not I am slowly dying.

IDI – I’ve heard many answers to the question, ‘Why do you write’. Having done so many of these interviews it seems that the majority of writers agree that for a time, they ‘become’ the characters they write, feeling what they feel, knowing what they know and thinking what they think. Where do you stand on the subject?

PK – Disagree. I would never immerse myself in any of my characters they are always other people that I am just writing about. However, in my two novels to date, the central character has so much of me in him, but his is immersed in me rather than the other way around.

IDI – Favorite author, and why?

PK – Joyce, of course I was asked this question before and I said that nobody gets to the core of humanity quite like him. The short story, ‘The Dead’ is immense in its description of the releasing of repressed emotion right bang in the middle of the very ordinary. Joyce had many things to say in this great work about people, the arts, alcohol, and the presence of grace even in the mundane. It was also extremely witty and caustic in its analysis of pretence.

IDI – Who’s your target audience? What aspect of your writing do y ou feel targets that audience?

PK – That’s easy. This book os for people who are as uneasy as I am about the world and people who run it, the long and destructive road down which we follow neo-liberalism. Both my novels are very political in that they ask so many questions!

IDI – Everyone has a dream. What’s yours… best seller, feature film adaption, Pulitzer?

PK – Definitely a feature film. As I said, I writer very cinematically so my work is very visual. ‘Viareggio’, my first novel, is very cinematic as much of it is based in beautiful Tuscany. ‘Wood point’ is based on a screenplay and I would guess is the first novel ever to feature its own Ennio Morricone soundtrack. I advise readers to download the soundtrack from YouTube, it goes perfectly with the wonderful West Cork landscape.

IDI – When writing, do you outline or sketch the entire book before you feel comfortable enough to begin your draft or do you prefer to wing it?

PK – I just watch the movie day after day, night after night. The only notes I might take are factual regarding place names, people names or time and dates. The rest is in the cinematography and the dialogue.

IDI – Paul, thank you so much for joining me today. I wish you the very best of luck with your work and look forward to the release of ‘Wood Point’ coming soon.

 Ink Drop Interviews are conducted by Kathy Reinhart, author of the award-winning novel, ‘Lily White Lies’.

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If you are a published author and would be interested in participating in an interview, contact me at ladybuggerly at hotmail and I will make it happen!

Don’t forget to leave your thoughts and comments for the featured author. He appreciates your support!


About K.E. Garvey

Gather 'round and let me tell you a story... View all posts by K.E. Garvey

4 responses to “Paul Kestell

  • Marcia Quinn Noren

    Paul Kestell’s writing is so fine, I cannot adequately express my appreciation for his contribution to today’s “English Literature.” Long after his passing, he should be studied in Lit classes around the world.


  • davidrory

    Hi Kathy, my friend Marcia linked me to this. She sees a lot of commonality between Paul and myself as writers. We have both based work in West Cork, use a cinematic style and are somewhat challenging in our politics and outlook.
    It was nice to see how Paul works, we have something in common there too. I will be reading his work as soon as I get my latest novel finished. I find I can’t read and write at the same time. I will be following your blog with interest. Good luck with it and thank you for your efforts. We all need help and encouragement.
    Regards, Davidrory.


    • Kathy Reinhart

      Thank you for stopping by. I read a lot, but like you, I cannot read and write at the same time. Best of luck with your latest novel and I’m sure that Paul will appreciate your kind words….. Kathy



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