Beginner’s Pluck: Frankie Gaffney

STARTING life in Balbriggan, Frankie moved to inner-city Dublin at 12. He mitched from school, and in his early 20s, working in nightclubs, saw Dublin’s underside.

“I partied like crazy.” He did a radio course in Ballyfermot at 24; that inspired him to apply to Trinity College as a mature student. That’s when he started writing; completing three short stories before turning to the novel.

“I’d always wanted to write,” he says. “Even when I was wild I was thinking, some of this material would be great in a book.

“I came up with a plan. I decided to structure the book on Shakespeare’s seven ages of man; and in each of the seven chapters have one of the seven deadly sins and seven holy gifts.” He planned the novel in an artist’s notebook, writing all his ideas for each chapter on a separate page.

“Then I went to the Anam Cara retreat on the Beara Peninsular and wrote five of the chapters in two weeks.”

Who is Frankie Gaffney?

Date/place of birth: 1981/Dublin.

Education: Scoil Mhuire in Parnell Square. Trinity College Dublin: English and History: MPhil in Linguistics; now taking a PhD.

Home: Dublin 7.

Family: Mother Eileen; “She encouraged me to read; there were always books in the house, and that saved me.” Very supportive family.

The Day Job: PhD student and writer.

Interests: Food. Cooking, and going to restaurants.

Favourite Writers: Pat McCabe; Roddy Doyle; Irvine Welsh; James Joyce; Donna Tartt.

Second Novel: “It’s contracted. I’m at the early stages deciding between two ideas.”

Top Tip: Listen to advice, but disregard anything that doesn’t apply to you. There are no hard and fast rules.

Twitter: @FrankieGaffney

The Debut

Dublin Seven; Liberties Press, €13.99/Kindle, €4.00

At 18, Shane is adrift. Dropping out from a pointless college course, he falls in with a rough crowd; and after meeting Griffo, a cocaine dealer, he sets himself up in business. At first, all goes well. He gains a beautiful girlfriend, and keeps in control of things, but he becomes increasingly embroiled with violent gangsters.

The Verdict: I loved this debut, for its intelligent authenticity, and was rooting for Shane throughout. He’s violent; but he has a tender side too.

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