I inherited a skill from my da – I was always good at telling yarns. I was relating and embellishing one of these protracted tales one evening at a family gathering when someone said, “You should put all that into a book some day.” I suppose that stuck in my mind and some twenty or so years later I put finger to keyboard and typed a few pages. I don’t know exactly what happened but when I tried to open the document again a few days later, there it was – gone, lost somewhere in the bowels of my hard drive or cyberspace. That as they say was that and it took another few years until, now retired, I had another go. This time, to be sure to be sure, the keyboard was abandoned in favour of a pen and a pad. The result is . . . Never a Dull Moment.
The title comes from what my wife (affectionately known worldwide as Belfast Mary) said to me as we walked down the aisle, hand in hand, man and wife on a sunny June day in 1976. “Darling (I cannot recall her repeating the affection since) you will never have a dull moment.” As usual she was telling the truth and if you decide to open my opus magnus you will soon discover I didn’t have too long to wait until the fun began.
I found writing the easy bit – it was all there in my head after all. In six short weeks sitting outside in the Spanish sunshine (her indoors telling me ad nauseum to cover my bald head) with my biro, ring binder and the odd San Miguel – I was done. The typing was a different matter altogether. Up every morning at 6.00am one finger pounding my way through the 75,000 odd words for hours on end until the boss arose and shifted me off “her” table to lay out the breakfast. During the process I developed an intense hatred for quotation marks, these bloody things “” but four months later I had a manuscript of sorts. I still feel proud to have produced a manuscript – such a proud word – it’s like having another “ology” only better to add to your c.v.
My two sons and the missus did the editing – “far too many swear words dad,” they were right of course and so with the culling of the expletives complete I’m all ready to go.
But go where? I googled, emailed and texted every publishing source I could find and the response was always the same – NADA – that’s Spanish for nothing. I was on the point of flinging the aforementioned manuscript when a ray of light emerged from the gloom – the angel Vanessa, yes she who doesn’t sleep.
“You need Chenile Keogh and all at Kazoo young man.” said Vanessa (she obviously hadn’t seen my d.o.b.) and a few short months later, hey presto we’re published – complete with a beautiful cover by a young Donegal artist Daniel O’Toole at email@example.com.
What’s this book about? Well for starters it’s all true folks, everything in those 317 pages really happened. If you don’t laugh out loud at all that ensued both North and South in my wonderful life then I have failed miserably but I will let you out there be the judge.
But before you read the blurb and the bio a word to all you wannabe writers out there – just do it! If an old codger like me can – you can.
(c) Sean Stewart
About Never a Dull Moment:
Growing up in Belfast during the sixties and seventies wasn’t all bombs and bullets, doom and gloom – certainly not for Sean Stewart. In Never a Dull Moment, Sean looks back on the events of the period – big and small, national and local – through a collection of captivating short stories. He recalls the unique challenges, unforgettable characters, determination and love he encountered as a young man coming of age in a troubled time, and he draws a fascinating picture of the place that shaped him and made him the person he is today.
From “special” busses in Belfast to a magical “field of dreams” in Donegal, Sean conjures a time gone by with charm and often hysterical humour. A disarmingly honest and beautifully personal memoir, Never a Dull Moment is a love letter to an almost forgotten time but never forgotten people – truly a story of life, love and above all laughter.
Order your copy online here.