Ned is out there on nedhickey.wordpress.com. Large as life. He is on what I call a script-novel where one reads the film and sees the book. Try it on – it might fit your way of thinking and imagining. Anyway he walks and talks, lives and loves in the life created by Big Bill Nolan in the pub at Ballon between the drawing of pints for the thirsty. What an achievement that writing was in the days before the computer, wordprocessor and probably in the absence of a typewriter, when there was no barrier between a man and his thoughts but the sharpening of a pencil.
Free for the reading, he is and very soon free to download from all the ebooks. Why so? because he deserves it.
Children of the Cromlech is now available as a printed copy from Amazon.com and Amazon.uk for US$ 14.95 or GBP 9.50 respectively. This is made possible by the revolution in publishing known as print-on-demand. You order, they print and deliver.
There is still the option of ordering a single copy from me at Euro 12.95 including postage!!
40 Marshall Road
Andy Crossen wrote –
I read this first novel by John O’Neill in a single afternoon sitting. It is the gripping story of the lives of three Irish children as they progress to adulthood and their struggles to come to terms with themselves and the events that they experience, sometimes with each other, sometimes not. As implied, their paths cross at times throughout the book. Mr O’Neill has a particular skill in writing dialogue that impresses so much, that I felt as I read that I was hearing the conversations rather than reading them. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
I wrote in my latest blog note – COC new price – that the book might explain to a younger generation those characteristics of their parents and grandparents that amuse, annoy or puzzle them. It’s the Generation Gap, boys and girls but with a twist. It is inevitable universally but more powerful and sometimes destructive in a changed environment. My father’s generation, born in Ireland of the 1890s, lived a very similar lifestyle to that of his father at least until the wider availability of the petrol engine in Ireland of the 1950s. Mechanisation and travel did not leap forward in the first 60 years of my father’s life. Life and community was still local. Life’s necessities were produced nearby. News came from the daily newspaper or from the mouth of the occasional intrepid traveler whose information was entertaining but irrelevant.
The gap increases with change. This may be because of technological or social revolution as in generations who continue to live in the same place but very different conditions. I am more concerned by the greater chasm which opens because of emigration. When children of the diaspora grow up to see the Irishness of their parents after many years in a new country it is inexplicable to them. They need to share. At times of trauma such as in their illness or particularly in death the children feel the need to know what made their families different, to understand the tensions, to forgive the misunderstandings and find reconciliation.
It is my hope that Children of the Cromlech will explain one to the other in the particular lives of those I have chosen to narrate and, less seriously, entertain others with a good yarn.
I have finally got a reprint of the Children of the Cromlech specifically to avail of letter rate postage to overseas. The previous prints were on Munken paper, soft and beautiful, but quite bulky with the result that many of my books were too thick for letter-rate and went parcel at four times the cost. Not a good look. I now have the book on laser paper, white, shiny and THIN. A further advantage is that it fits an A5 post-bag neatly. Pity about the Munken.
As a result, the price of Children of the Cromlech can now be reduced from NZ$ 24.95 to 19.95 (Eur 12.95, US$15.95) including postage and we are all HAPPY.
If you would like to understand the difficulties your father and mother or your grandparents might have struggled against in the Ireland of the 1930 – 1950s, do read it.
Contact me, the author, printer, binder, shipping clerk, accounts, marketing guru etc etc at
40 Marshall Road
Tobin’s general shop, see ballonvillage.com for the history
Robina Adamson is an enormously talented illustrator who has enriched many books for us less talented writers. She captures all I needed to convey in my book and sends the following review.
I found the story well written with each character deeply interwoven with the other. They each struggle with their life’s path and spiritual journey, eventually finding their place of healing. Mary’s life was turned about by her encounter with Father Joseph. Father Joseph was the most involved character and I began to wonder if the author John is the priest, as he understands a great deal about the politics, personalities and workings within the Catholic church. Joseph is a caring man with deep, unwavering convictions which eventually lead him out of the Catholic church. At first his mother is deeply shocked over this, but finds her healing in the possibility that she may one day become a grandmother. I cried when the stone Martin was working on was revealed. I felt very deeply the pain of Joseph’s mother and other women whose babies were buried in the grove. Martin, raised in an atheist home, becomes strongly aware of spirit as he hears the voices of children in the grove. He was also traumatised by the war and in particular the killing of a German soldier, who could easily have killed him but chose not to.The story is intensely believable. It is honest, compassionate and heartfelt – at times even heartbreaking. I loved this story and connected most with Father Joseph and his mother.
Many thanks, Robina.
In the long process of writing and publishing Children of the Cromlech, I was forced to face up to the realities of my place in rural Ireland of the mid-century. I have commented on occasion that I was the lucky one, the one with the shoes, the cherished late arrival, the cuckoo in the nest. And so it was but now I have dug deep in retrieving memories and building a social scene from which I did not escape unscathed. The book is a realistic fiction based on distasteful facts. Two revelations – I was effectively exiled from Ireland at age 12 to a residential diocesan junior seminary not 12 miles away from home. My only adult contacts were celibates, priests or nuns. Very quickly, I became a visitor and progressively a stranger in my own village and even to my family. I am not sure, even now, 70 years later, that I fully recovered. Too much was lost or hidden. The second and more important discovery is a question which remains – not why my characters and thousands of their peers escaped Ireland but why on earth did anyone stay.