Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Tale of Two Childhoods

I'm giddy with excitement to be able to introduce my guest blogger today. Ken Bruen is the author both the Jack Taylor series and the Sergeant Tom Brant series, as well as numerous other works and collaborations. Ken spent twenty-five years teaching English in Africa, Japan, S.E. Asia and South America. He's been nominated for almost every award known to crime fiction: the Edgar, the Barry, the Macavity. And he's a Shamus award-winner. Ken, like his Jack Taylor protagonist, hails from Galway, Ireland. And he is quite possibly one of the nicest, most generous people I've known.

It is my distinct honor and pleasure to have Ken Bruen here today to tell his story as only Ken can:

A Tale of Two Childhoods

As a child, I was guilty of the worst crime in the Irish calendar, I was quiet. In fact, I never spoke and those who know me now wonder if maybe, I wasn't a better gig then.

Moving on

Sitting beside me was a lad named Gerry, full of vim and vigour and as they say, even then most likely to succeed

Right behind us was a lad named Sean, from the poorest area of the town and to be poor then, meant watching for the rent man on a Friday night and alerting your mother to turn off the lights so he might believe you were out

As if there was anyplace to go

And lights out didn't convince the rent man of anything, save, you hadn't paid the light bill

Fast forward

Gerry, two years ago, hadn't quite become the success they'd planned and the circus was in town and, a few pints to the worst, he went down at 4 in the morning to pet the tigers, as he felt they might be lonely

They gook both his arms off

It was indeed, dare I say, Tabloid fodder

He was the front page for all of a day

Got over thirty large in compensation

With the help of new friends, he blew the money in five weeks

I ran into him last year when my French translators were in town

See, see the casual way I inserted that, like I have a whole realm of translators and last year, it was the turn of The French.

I was in the bathroom and Gerry came in, ask me to him relieve himself, he had refused any artificial limbs, telling me

"Them yokes never fecking work."

I'm thus, engaged, when the translator walks in and not only am I.......manhandling......but with a person who is obviously physically handicapped

My dark rep in France was........SOLID

Gerry asks me to light him and I put a cigarette between his lips, fire him up and he goes

"How are them books doing for you?"

And my heart is scalded, torn in a thousand ribbons, and I know the sheer decency he was raised in, I say

"Doing ok now, thanks."

And armless, he moves off, ensconced in a cloud of nicotine, says

"You were always a hoor for them books."

I met Sean last week, he has just been named as the third richest man in Ireland, ahead of Bono and trust me, that is serious bucks or Euros or whatever you measure in and he is just about the coldest person I've met in many an era and believe me, I've met some cold one's, most of them I'm related to, more's the Irish-ed pity, mainly through alcohol and he says

"I don't read fiction."

Right off the bat, like I'd asked him

"Do you read fiction?"

Subtext you read me?

None of that false bonhomie,

"Gee, haven't seen in twenty years, how the devil are you?"

No wonder he's rich

Reminded me of the old adage, if you want to know what god thinks of money, look who he gave it to.......Madonna?

I muttered something along the lines of

"Hasn't Ireland changed so much?"

Piss poor, you think I don't know?

And then the moment, he gives me the full on eye fuck, says

"But I've read your most recent offering."

Don't you love him?

I wait cos waiting is what, not so much what I'm best at, but I'm most accustomed to and he's used to making pronouncements and then he adds

"You need to write a bestseller."

God it.

Memo to self

Wake up, say yer prayers, have a shower, ring your child before she goes to school and am......write bestseller

I have it

When I was young, the old people, they'd see some poor afflicted soul, they'd bless themselves, utter

"There but for the grace of god........"

I think about that and guess what, when I utter that, who do you think I see as the afflicted soul?

Hint.......when I had to go to hospital after I got me jaw broken at a book launch, who came to see me, said

"I'd have brought a book but I couldn't carry it."

As I said in my review of THE GUARDS....speechless! Thank you for being a part of "Detectives Around the World" Ken! You already know you warmed my heart with your contribution. I'll be the one smiling ear to ear all day today.

Happy Reading everyone! Enjoy the other bloggers today for the third day of "Detectives Around the World."

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Naomi Johnson April 14, 2010 at 7:04 AM  

Ken Bruen doesn't even know how to NOT be brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed this, and Jen, I am so stinking jealous!

What a great guy. There he's got all those movies/tv shows being made, new book coming in August, he's got a family and a life. And he still makes time for fans. Talk about SOLID.

Kaye Barley April 14, 2010 at 8:04 AM  

ALWAYS wonderful to see words from our Ken! Thanks for this, Jen.

Hugs to you both!


Keith Rawson April 14, 2010 at 12:19 PM  

Ah, Ken, how I miss the days when you were doing time at Muderati. I miss these kind of regular posts. Thanks for this, though.

Susan Shea April 14, 2010 at 1:57 PM  

Wonderful writing. This is how it's done, fellow writers. A little gem. Thanks Ken and thanks Jen!

Pop Culture Nerd April 14, 2010 at 3:22 PM  

As usual, he leaves me speechless. Too...awesome...for...words.

What a coup, Jen. Thanks, Ken, for a brilliant read.

le0pard13 April 14, 2010 at 3:39 PM  

Oh, thank you for that Jen (and of course, Ken). One of THE best posts I've read on someone's blog.

kathy d. April 14, 2010 at 6:06 PM  

Fascinating say I, a reader, half of whose ancestors came from County Sligo and am now compelled to read some books by Ken Bruen, who is obviously a delight.

Can you recommend which books to start with or one to start with?

I do like humor, character development, good plot, but a lot of violence, not so much.

Jen Forbus April 14, 2010 at 6:41 PM  

Kathy, the book I just reviewed here is THE GUARDS. It's a good place to start in that it is the beginning of the Jack Taylor series. But he also wrote a book called TOWER with Reed Farrel Coleman that was published just this past year and it's a complete stand alone. I also highly recommend that one.

Jen Forbus April 14, 2010 at 6:42 PM  

Thanks everyone for stopping by and leaving such nice comments! Ken is fabulous and I'm so honored to be hosting him today.

Jon The Crime Spree Guy April 14, 2010 at 6:48 PM  

Ken rocks.
Thanks Jen

MysterLynch April 15, 2010 at 9:10 AM  

I am not saying anything that has not already been said, but Ken is as fine a person as he is a writer.

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