Emer G.M. Lawless with her novel Our Diligent Souls
Emer G.M. Lawless, originally from Dundalk, has recently published her novel, Our Diligent Souls.
Buoyed from the success of completing her novel, Emer told The Dundalk Democrat: “I had to put in 8-12-hour days writing to get to the end of the book. The story evolved from one initial character.
“I learned an enormous amount by walking through the dark as such, trying to figure out how to put these characters together and get the storyline in place – I needed to create strong individual characters.”
The Dundalk author continued: “I took more freedom with the whole endeavour than one would normally, it took a serious amount of time and effort – I was working on Our Diligent Souls for four years: sometimes up to 40-80 hours a week.”
The end result revolves around Mark, a man from Dundalk who is working his way up the shipping industry ladder in Dublin, but it’s also about his love life, family relations, and friends; two of which are childhood friends that emigrated to Australia and have to come back for a three-day wake in town, and later for a family wedding.
It captures the differences between rural and city life, between the corporate world and independent social enterprise.
Emer explains the merits of her characters: "The feedback coming from people who read it has been enormously positive – they are saying, it’s not what they expected, I guess they expected to be reading about me.
“When they got into it, they couldn’t connect the fact that I had written the book, they were just so involved with the characters, which was great news.”
Emer’s passion for her novel clearly shows. She explains: “It’s something that consumes you entirely. When you go out on your bicycle, when you go to bed, you’re living and dreaming the book.
“I love the writing process – it gives me so much but has its sacrifices too. What you get out of writing, it’s mindfulness really.
When you’re mindful about a storyline or character, you abandon your own concerns because the book takes precedence.
“It’s the first thing on your mind in the morning, you can evolve from all form of ideas that you might have held onto. If you’re struggling with life you get a chance to stand away from it, take a back seat for a while. After three and a half years the rewards were unbelievable.”
So, what are Emer’s literary plans for the future?
The author reveals: “The plan for the next year is a fifty-fifty split, short stories and the book’s promotion.
“I have a valuable asset in my hand, as I see it, something that I hope will inspire. I will follow up on every possible opening and award and host workshops too.
“The book launch and recitals are exciting events going forward, I’m proud of the work and am keen to impart what I’ve learnt.”
Our Diligent Souls is available in paperback and Kindle version through Amazon and via the local independent bookshop, Roe River Books, Dundalk.
The official launch dates, recital and signings of Our Diligent Souls take place on: June 28th in Dundalk Library, July 5th in The Heritage Centre, Carlingford, July 6th in The Market House in Dunleer and July 12th in the Patrick Kavanagh Centre in Inniskeen.
For more information see www.emerlawless.com