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Wednesday 12 December 2018

ℚ King Of The Blind - Caiseal Mór

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about King Of The Blind: A toast to music, mirth, storytelling and whiskey (, Matrayah Media, 523 pages), a Historical Fantasy.

Wonderful book, enjoyable and well written. It's entertaining, moving and fun to read. Highly recommended! ~ Goodreads Reviewer

|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to Caiseal Mór; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

What was the inspiration for King Of The Blind?

"I’ve been a huge fan of the music of Turlough O’Carolan since I was a boy. My mother had an old 78 record of some of Carolan’s music played on the Irish harp and it fascinated me.

In my twenties I was travelling through Ireland listening to stories from traditional storytellers. I heard a few tales about O’Carolan and just started collecting them. I never really intended to write a novel about him. I was just interested in his music, his life and that period of Irish history."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"One of my mentors once told me that you can only wrote about what you know. I would say “King of the Blind” is 100% a reflection of my interests and obsessions.

Traditional Irish music and humour have always been central interests for me. I love a good laugh and I’m inclined to be inspired by people who’ve succeeded against the odds. Indeed, I’m one of those people who thrived despite having the cards stacked against me in life.

O’Carolan’s story is powerful because even though he was disabled he managed to rise above the limitations others saw in him to become the greatest musician of his age."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for King Of The Blind - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"Ever since my first novel was published by Random House in 1995 I’ve designed my own covers. I’ve been a digital artist for twenty-five years.

I went through a few drafts before settling on this one. I wanted to give a hint of the mystery, awe and peace depicted in one pivotal scene in the story."
Why should we read King Of The Blind and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"This novel is really about the awesome power of gratitude. It’s about focusing on the opportunities in life rather than the setbacks. Indeed, I personally don’t believe in setbacks. As far as I’m concerned there are only opportunities.

The story is unique because it’s based on a mixture of history and myth. A great deal is known about Turlough O’Carolan but there’s a lot more said about him in traditional stories. Unravelling fact from fiction was a challenge. In the end “King of the Blind” became a story about storytelling."
Can you tell us something quirky about King Of The Blind, its story and characters?
"This novel is loaded with quirk and quirky characters, many of whom were alive in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Just to give one example; Turlough O’Carolan was known to have been good friends with Dean Jonathan Swift who wrote “Gulliver’s travels”. They were drinking buddies. Dean Swift went mad from the drink in the last years of his life and got into some quite embarrassing situations as a result.

O’Carolan himself was a folklorist and is reputed to have shared many stories about the Shee folk (or Faeries as they are known in English). These stories may have inspired some of the imagery in “Gulliver’s Travels”."
Who would you recommend King Of The Blind to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"Anyone who’s interested in history, folklore, Celtic mythology and traditional or Baroque music will love this novel."
If you could / wished to turn King Of The Blind into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"About fifteen years ago a producer expressed interest in “King of the Blind” to be made into a movie. He had pegged Liam Neeson to play O’Carolan and the late John Hurt as the storyteller, Hugh O’Connor.

Alas, negotiations never progressed further than the rights. Now the rights have reverted to me I’d like to see what Peter Jackson could do with this story- though Guillermo del Toro would also create an interesting version I think. He has a gift for blending the dreamlike and the real."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I’ve had thirteen novels published- all of them were classified as historical fantasy, except in the U.S. where they were classed as Dark Fantasy.

I enjoy blending fact with fiction and seeing how far I can push it. I like to question the nature of reality and that’s why I’ve written so much about the Irish Shee folk or Faeries. I’m fascinated by dreaming and dream states and the liminal ground between waking and sleeping.

I’m a Scifi fantasy fan but I don’t read many novels. I’m too busy writing them."
What is your writing process?
"I wrote “King of the Blind” in three months. I worked 12 hours a day with one hour for lunch, one hour for siesta and one hour for walking by the ocean near where I lived at the time in Sydney, Australia.

Each week I’d take a day off, though if inspired I prefer to keep working. Sometimes ten or twelve days would go by without a break. I was living alone so it wasn’t so difficult to finish the novel quite quickly.

I don’t plan anything. I tend to just look over my research notes and start writing a novel. I rarely ever start at the beginning of the story. The ending is much more important, in my opinion.

I was also in constant contact with my publisher at the time (Random House) so I was able to send drafts over to my editor to get her opinion. That helped the process along immensely."
What is in store next?
"“King of the Blind” is the first part of a story centred on Red Hugh, the storyteller. I never got around to writing the next part of his tale but I’m planning to do that early next year as there has been some interest from a producer who wants to make a series based on the first novel. I suppose it’d be a cross between Outlander and Pan’s Labyrinth.

Right now, I’m working on writing and illustrating a Sci-Fi graphic novel called “Veil of the Gods”. Chapter One is already out on Kindle and Chapter Two is about to be published."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Haha! This is Rani. She’s a rescue dog. We think she’s part boxer, part American Staffie. And yes she’s an inspiration."
Hello Rani! You are a very beautiful girl; lots of head scratches and belly rubs to you! Caiseal, thank you for sharing Rani with us :-)

Based on the life of Turlough O'Carolan, Ireland's greatest Harper.

King Of The Blind
Available NOW!

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting!

Caiseal Mor said...

Thankyou for hosting me on your wonderful blog!! Was a pleasure to answer your questions :-)

Marisela Zuniga said...

Great interview, thanks for sharing!