I reached out to author, David Ahern, and requested an interview. His Madam Tulip series is so fun that I had to ask a few questions about the third book in the series, which is to be released today. I am so pleased with the results and I hope you enjoy it too!
David Ahern’s Bio, from his website:
“David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland but ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist and sensible person. He earned his doctorate but soon absconded to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series and winning numerous awards, none of which got him free into nightclubs.
Madam Tulip wasn’t David Ahern’s first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’s ever had with a computer. He is now writing the fourth Madam Tulip adventure and enjoys pretending this is actual work.
David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud.
Eliza: First, I would like to say thank you for doing this interview! It’s always a pleasure to get to know a little more about authors and their books. You have published 3 books now with Malin Press. Is that a traditional or an indie publishing company?
David: I run an independent TV production company that has started a small publishing venture. So I’m kinda the boss and not the boss. They’re testing the water with Madam Tulip, and so far they’re happy. I’m a big fan of the freedom and independence the smaller publishers can give their authors. Writers looking for a deal with the big houses can forget that what they need is the right contract for them as a writer, and that’s not easy to get.
Eliza: I’m sure most hopeful authors have dealt with submitting manuscripts. Did you find an agent or submit directly to publishers? If so, how long were you actively submitting?
David: I didn’t submit Madam Tulip to any publishers or agents. I’ve been lucky enough in the past to have had many industry pitching sessions, and I learned that these days most agents and publishers lack the patience needed to see a series grow. Everyone is interested in the next hit. Far better to go independent if you think your work will need time to find its following.
Eliza: I really like your covers, particularly the cover for your last novel Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance. Did you have much say in what the cover would look like?
David: We have a wonderful designer in Natalie of Kisscut Design, and I get to work with her on the covers. For me, with a background in visual media, not having a say in the covers would be unthinkable. Covers are so important, and it’s a fun part of the process too.
Eliza: In your author bio, you state that you have a background in television. Does this influence the way you write?
David: I’m sure it does. TV demands you tell an engaging story. You have to avoid people reaching for the remote – if you hang around they’re gone. Apart from that, years of film editing means I think visually and I tell stories that way. I want my readers to get inside the action, and people do love that quality in the Madam Tulip books.
Eliza: Would you ever want to write a screenplay for one of your own novels?
David: I think the answer is no, though I’d want to be consulted. The best thing about writing novels is that you get to do something that only you can do, and you have complete freedom. Film isn’t like that; too much money is involved. So I’d prefer to get on with creating the next Tulip story. Nobody else can do that.
Eliza: If your book was a movie or television series, who would play Derry O’Donnell?
David: Jennifer Lawrence would do a wonderful job. She’s got a terrific sense of humour. I fully expect her to phone.
Eliza: I noticed that your first two books were published pretty close together. Did you wait to publish the first one until you had finished the second?
David: Yes. I waited until I had a draft of the second. I didn’t want that awful pressure writers talk about of staring at a blank book #2 with a clock ticking.
Eliza: How long did it take you to write each book and does it get easier to write them as the series continues?
David: Each takes about a year. And yes, they do get easier in that the characters are old friends now. But you want each book to be at least as good as the last, preferably better, so that makes each book a little harder. There’s so much serendipity in writing. You never know how well a story is going to come together, so you need a little luck too.
Eliza: I love your main character, Derry O’Donnell. She sounds like she would be lots of fun to have over at a garden party. I think it is fascinating that you are writing from the perspective of a young woman because I am a young woman and the main character in my serial is a middle aged man. I struggled a bit when writing my character because I wanted him to feel real and very separate from myself. Did you find it difficult writing from that perspective?
David: Not at all. I’ve always been able to write realistic female characters; I’ve no idea why. But empathy is what imagination is for, and if you live with your eyes and ears open (and your heart too), you can think yourself into anyone’s life.
Eliza: In the first book, Derry is placed in a difficult position of solving a murder. If you were in Derry’s place, would you handle the situation differently?
David: I’d have to, because I doubt I have her ability to think on her feet or the acting skills that she deploys so effectively when she needs to. I’m not sure I’d have her moral courage either, although I’d like to think so, of course.
Eliza: Thanks again! And best of luck with your new book!
David: Thanks to you, Eliza. A pleasure.
Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance is released today, April 12. Available on Amazon, in eBook and paperback.
Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance Description:
“Suspense, mystery, action, a little romance and lots of laughs
A surprise role in a movie takes actress Derry O’Donnell to a romantic castle in the Scottish Highlands. But romance soon turns to fear and suspicion. Someone means to kill, and Derry, moonlighting as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip, is snared in a net of greed, conspiracy and betrayal.
A millionaire banker, a film producer with a mysterious past, a gun-loving wife, a PA with her eyes on Hollywood, a handsome and charming estate manager—each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip.
As Derry and her friend Bruce race to prevent a murder, she learns to her dismay that the one future Tulip can’t predict is her own.
Madame Tulip is the third in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.”