04 Jul 2022

Limerick author takes inspiration from Covid lockdown for horror book

Limerick author takes inspiration from Covid lockdown for horror book

Jonathan Dunne's eighth novel, The Squatter, is available now

WRITING horror stories has become a way of life for West Limerick-born author Jonathan Dunne. His eighth novel, The Squatter, was launched on New Year’s Eve and is available to buy online.

But, admits the man from Ballyine, outside Newcastle West, this new book does represent a bit of a change.

“My original short stories were horror stories,” says Jonathan who credits his dad Bill Dunne for getting him into ‘spooky stories.’ “My father is legendary for telling us and our friends and cousins scary stories when we were kids,” he says.

Jonathan started writing as a teenager and returned to writing short stories as an adult before embarking on his first novel, Balloon Animals, which came out in 2012. Six more novels followed, all with a hint of humour and black comedy.

“But my first love has always been dark stories of a supernatural flavour,” says Jonathan, pointing out that he comes from a family of undertakers. “For me, writing horror is like coming home. I like harder suspense but not gore. My writing going forward will be in this genre because it's what excites me these days.”

Written during lockdown in Toledo, Spain where Jonathan lives with his Spanish wife Ruth and three daughters, The Squatter has a Covid-19 twist.

When the pandemic forces single mother Molly Greene to close her Michelin-starred restaurant, she moves to the isolated town of Old Castle and an old, empty farmhouse, which isn’t quite as vacant as expected.

“The Greene family realise they've become unwitting participants in a macabre contest where the farmhouse is first prize, or is it?” explains Jonathan. “Financially broke, Molly decides to go public about the ominous presence in the farmhouse, hoping to cash in on the phenomena.”

But not all goes to plan. “If you are a reader who likes things that go bump in the night, then The Squatter is for you,” says Jonathan.

Jonathan believes his West Limerick childhood helped to ignite his imagination but says he was a reluctant scholar in Ardagh NS and later at Scoil Mhuire agus Ide in Newcastle West. But he returned to study as a mature student, after a succession of various jobs including in bookshops, and got a degree in literature.

He now lives in Toledo, dividing his time between writing and teaching English.

“I'm an indie writer and proud to be one,” he says. He has had interest from some small publishers and from various London agents but says he prefers to remain independent.

The Squatter by Jonathan Dunne is available across all online platforms in e-book format but paperback. Hardback editions are also available.

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