Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Boys of Summer

Please help me welcome Ciarán West, visiting us from the United Kingdom today! His first book, The Boys of Summer, was recently released and Ciarán has some fun ways of promoting his work. You can read more about him at his blogspot, He is also on Twitter at and on Facebook at

The Boys of Summer, by Ciarán West

"It’d been boiling for weeks. Mam said last time we’d a summer like this was in 1977, when she was pregnant with me. I used to wonder what she’s looked like; twelve years younger, with a big belly on her. I seen pictures of her from before that, when she was young; people used to say she was beautiful. She just looked like Mam to me."

Why is this book any different from the rest?

Well, because reviewers say this one is brilliant. When was the last time you read a book that really gripped you from the start; held your attention all the way through, and left you reeling at the end? A long time ago, probably. That's because these days, anyone can write a book, but very few people can write one properly. The Boys Of Summer is different. The characters are real, the dialogue is authentic and the plot is as relentless as it is clever. 

So what's it about?

Ostensibly, it's about a killing that happens in 1989, in a close-knit estate in Limerick, Ireland. Really though, it's about being eleven, friendship, love, romance and loyalty. It's about knowing who your friends are, and finding out who your family are. It's about making choices and living by them.

Who's in it, and why should we care?

The story is told through the eyes and words of Richie South, a boy who's a little more bookish and well behaved than his peers, and finds Growing Up to be rife with challenges and confrontations. We watch him mature over a very short time, when faced with tough choices and horrific events. We also watch him fall uncontrollably in love, with a girl who you wouldn't take home to mother.

What is it reminiscent of, in your opinion?

My big influences would be Stephen King and Irvine Welsh; with very early Dean Koontz in there too. In a modern sense, people have compared this to Emma Donoghue's Room and Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time. Comparisons which are both flattering and fair, I think. 

Why should we buy it, in a nutshell?

You should own this book because it's unpretentious, it's written from the heart. The prose is spare, vital and not littered with pointless adverbs or flowery, thesaurus-derived language. It's not over-long or boring. It speaks to everyone who has ever been a child, no matter where or when they grew up. And because it'll be the best thing you read all year, self-published or not. I would bet my life on it. Go to Amazon, read the first chapter and a half, and if you don't want to buy the book and read the rest of it, then we'll part company as friends and never speak of this again. Below is a short excerpt from the book between the main character and his mother:

"‘You know I love the bones of you, don’t you?’ She turned off the gas under the kettle, cos it had started whistling.
‘Yeh-huh,’ I could feel a blush coming all over me, and I didn’t want her to see it. I loved her too, but you couldn’t really say it."
Where you can get the book now:
Are you writing another book now?
I am mainly promoting this one at the moment, rather than writing another one. I have three clear ideas for grown-up novels, and another that I'm going to write for the 8-11 yr old bracket, under a pen name. My daughter is nearly ten, and the biggest reader I know, so I've promised her I'll write something appropriate for her to read. I can't say much about the other ideas, other than that one of them involves a fringe character from the first book, but we've flashed forward to 1995, so it's another nostalgia-fest of sorts. And that one of the other ideas involves the present day, London, and a lot of dread and peril!
I have to tell you, I love your videos. You have one in which you talk about your book in a funny mock interview (below) and two in which you talk about how to limerick correctly. I hope you do more!

Connect with Ciarán!