Writer Jonathan Dunne, from Old Mill, Newcastle West will launch his fifth book Hearts Anonymous at the end of April
HIS roots are in West Limerick but the historic Spanish city of Toledo is now home for author Jonathan Dunne.
And within the next few weeks, Jonathan’s fifth novel Hearts Anonymous will be launched, a book which he describes as a fairy-tale for adults and the young-at-heart with an element of dark humour.
It’s a lot to achieve in less than half a dozen years. But, explains Jonathan, writing has been a part of his life since he was a child growing up near Old Mill, outside Newcastle West when even his mother’s shopping list provided inspiration for his first scribblings and when even carrots and cabbage could be transformed into suspects for a murder story.
“I've been writing since I was a teenager and I’m now 40,” Jonathan explains. “My dad, Bill Dunne, read bedtime stories to us as kids and I think he planted the seeds that would later become my own stories. My mom, Dorothy, who died of cancer in 2009, always read to us and she was an avid reader.”
“Growing up in Ballyine (between Rooska and Old Mill), I was surrounded by countryside and a kid needs to have an active imagination to come up with things to do, especially during the summer holidays. Sometimes I would walk for miles with my dogs and sometimes camp out,” he recalls “I was a loner i suppose, but regularly had friends come to stay. I loved wandering in the pine forest near my house where it was very easy to imagine my own version of the world.”
School was in Ardagh and later at Scoil Mhuire agus Ide in Newcastle West but Jonathan was a reluctant scholar and says he has no fond memories of his school days. What he recalls most is heading to Connolly Terrace, Newcastle West where his granddad Billy Dunne lived. There he says, he would have a cup of tea and toast or maybe a few custard creams while his grand-father remained hidden behind a newspaper or a National Geographic with blue Woodbine smoke curling up around him, as the old Stanley range glowed red-hot.
After, Jonathan worked at a variety of jobs, including bookshops and later completed a degree in literature as a mature student. He lived in Spain for six years from 2000 and returned there, after a break, in 2009. “I live in the medieval town of Toledo, a touristic city, full of winding cobblestone streets and it is magic. I am married to Ruth who is Spanish and I have two girls, Chloe and Maia, ( 4 and 9),” Jonathan explains. Now, his work-day is divided between teaching English and writing. “If I don't write I feel at odds with the world,” he says. “ I’m an early bird, so I get up early and try to find an hour and something to write.”
He has written short stories but his first novel, Balloon Animals in 2012 was quickly followed by 'Living Dead Lovers' in 2013, The Nobody Show in 2014 and Hide the Elephant in 2015.
“I've had a few offers from small publishers for my books and I've also had various London agents express interest. They liked my writing, but wanted to see a different genre or they tried to change important elements in the books,” Jonathan explains. Describing his genre as black comedy, he adds: “I prefer to stay true to myself and publish my books on my own basis, rather than writing something which doesn't come from the heart. This is why i have decided to do it on my own. I involved in the creative process, from writing the book to helping with the cover design. I love the freedom that I have.”
His books sell both online or through Amazon. “ Because of the nature of internet, I have readers from all over the world, but mainly USA, UK, and Canada. I would like to find more readers in Ireland,” he says.
And through his online blog, he likes to keep in touch with readers and also to involve them. “ I'm an indie writer and proud to be one. I like to involve my readers because they are the people who make this happen for me. It's a way of saying thank you for all the support and having their names in one of my books is an acknowledgment and fun to do. I can do this with some characters,” he explains.
Other readers have proof-read his latest book. “They enjoy it and it helps me as typos are my speciality,” Jonathan says. “From their point of view it's something a little special to be involved in the creation of a book - something a little different. And I can do it coz I’m indie.”
Hearts Anonymous will launch at the end of April. Any of Jonathan’s books can be bought in paperback from Amazon or the ebooks are available from Amazon, Kindle, iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other platforms. Go to jonathanwdunne.wordpress.com for Jonathan’s blog