Colin and the Concubine is the second novel by actor and journalist Domhnall O’Donoghue. However, originally, it was supposed to be a completely different story. Then, Tuesday, 8 November 2016 occurred:
It was the morning after the night before – the night when Donald Trump flabbergasted the world by defying the odds by being crowned the 45th president of the United States of America. I sat in the make-up chair, inhaling all the coffee that I could find, hoping the Ros na Rún make-up team could make the blemishes and unsightly bags – along with the bloodshot lines currently hijacking my eyes – disappear.
I’d been looking forward to the climax of the 2016 election since the primaries first began, and even though I had an extremely early call-time that Wednesday morning, I decided to stay up the entire night, convinced that the excitement of a history-making Clinton victory would supersede any exhaustion.
Except that victory never materialised.
As the results started to trickle in from the various districts and states, the world began to realise that all the polls and all the predictions that were certain of a Clinton win were incorrect. Instead of it being a night where the first woman was elected to America’s highest office, a divisive, hate-filled blackguard had emerged triumphant, having seemingly appealed to the dark side of 62,984,825 voters. Frustratingly, this number was almost three million less than what Trump’s Democratic rival received but on account of an antiquated electoral voting system, it was enough to give the controversial hotelier and TV personality the win.
At the time, the world didn’t realise the extent of the double-dealing that Trump and his cronies undertook to achieve this stunning and unexpected win – and, as I write this, over two years later, we still don’t – but that morning, as I did everything in my power to remember my cues and not fluff my lines, I battled a heaviness and melancholy that scared me to the core.
Naturally, everyone in Ros na Rún was talking about the election – with some even hoping that he would, in time, move away from comments encouraging men to grab women ‘by the pussy’ and become presidential material. I did my best to detach myself from the post-game analysis, fearful that I would burst into tears.
As a gay man who’d been empowered by the recent developments and progress made in the Western World on behalf of the LGBTQ community, at that moment, I felt more alone than ever. A vote for Trump was a vote for hate, intolerance and marginalisation. The memories of my teenage self crying in my bedroom, having been called a ‘faggot’ by someone on my way home from school came flooding back.
That evening, tired and emotional, I watched Clinton’s concession speech. Yes, she was flawed in many ways – and it was probably fair to say that she never quite managed to have her truly ‘wow’ moment during the campaign like many of her supporters had expected – but there on the screen was a woman who had dedicated her entire life to politics whether it was in her role as First Lady, Secretary of State or the first female Democratic nominee, and she’d just been humiliated by an inexperienced, hateful charlatan. The world was really and truly unfair at times, I concluded.
Without knowing what else to do, I made light work of a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, but as I cursed the fact that I only had a single bottle in my house, my focus fell on the three Post-It-filled charts hanging on the wall – a loose structure to the plot of my second novel that I was due to commence writing that week.
Something in me stirred.
Fatigued but inspired by the current events shocking the entire globe, I cast aside what remained of the wine, threw the charts in the bin and began plotting an entirely new story – a romp set in the early nineties about a man called Colin – a talented and conscientious baker who spends his life being beaten by his duplicitous cheat of a brother, Freddie. That is until an exotic lady from Istanbul arrives in the town of Navan – just in time for the final ever Calorgas Housewife of the Year competition.
Over the course of the writing process, I was able to work through my many grievances following that fateful November night by using the one thing that has always rescued me during life’s hairier moments: laughter.
Fittingly, the novel is being released this Valentine’s weekend: a time when love Trumps hate.
As it always eventually does.
(c) Domhnall O’Donoghue
Hailing from Navan, Domhnall is a graduate of the Bachelor in Acting Studies Programme, Trinity College Dublin, later completing a Master’s in Screenwriting at Dún Laoghaire IADT. He now works as a journalist, actor and author.
For four years, Domhnall enjoyed the responsibility of being Assistant Editor at Irish Tatler Man, a title that won Consumer Magazine of the Year. The Irish Times, The Irish Independent and The Irish Daily Mail, amongst many others, have also published Domhnall’s work. He currently writes a monthly column for Woman’s Way magazine.
Tirgearr Publishing released Domhnall’s first novel, Sister Agatha: The World’s Oldest Serial Killer, in late 2016. The comedy became a number-one bestseller on Amazon and received great critical acclaim (“Beautifully written. With Sister Agatha, surely he has secured himself as a one to watch in contemporary Irish literature. We loved it.” – Woman’s Way, Book of the Week). His second novel, Colin and the Concubine, will be published by Mercier in February 2019.
As an actor, Domhnall has been appearing as Pádraig in TG4’s award-winning series Ros na Rún for six seasons.
About Colin and the Concubine:
Colin Saint James hates his older brother Freddie – and for good reason. A true psychopath, Freddie has been hell-bent on destroying Colin’s happiness since before he was born! Never one to admit defeat, Colin searches for opportunities to get one up on his sibling, even just once. When the heats for the final ever Housewife of the Year competition are announced, Colin sees his chance. The only problem is he needs a wife. Luckily, he lives next door to Navan’s best-looking woman, Azra, who happens to be single and anxious to get a ring on her finger. But Azra is also a Turkish concubine and she and Colin do not exactly see eye-to-eye over her nocturnal activities. Will Colin be able to park his reservations about his X-rated neighbour if it gives him the chance to emerge triumphant over Freddie for once in his life?
Order your copy online here.
And here’s a promotional video Domhnall has produced for the release of Colin and the Concubine: