welcomes as our guest journalist and author Eamon Loingsigh. Eamon studied journalism at University of South Florida. Exile on Bridge Street is due to be released later this year by Three Rooms Press and has also authored Light of the Diddicoy, An Affair of Concoctions and the poetry collection Love and Maladies.

He is currently a freelance journalist for the Associated Press, The Guardian and various websites. His most recent work, Exile on Bridge Street (Three Rooms Press) is the second book in the Auld Irishtown trilogy and it will be released Fall, 2016.

Norm: Good day Eamon and thanks for participating in our interview.

How did you get started in writing? What keeps you going?

Eamon: I had no idea I wanted to write until two things happened to me around the same time when I was eighteen years-old. My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I mysteriously began having seizures.

Both were deeply disturbing reminders that we are not immortal. Right around that time I read Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse, which grabbed my interest.  

Norm: Norm: How many times in your career have you experienced rejection? How did they shape you?

Eamon: Rejection is a large part of being a writer. If you have expectations of succeeding, you will soon find rejection. The Internet makes it worse because there is no accountability, so people can say the nastiest things while eating a bagel and click over to a different website without any repercussions. 

Norm: What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Eamon: I think what set my writing apart is the mood. Every chapter written has a strong feeling, which can bring the reader into the moment. I am also known for having many distinct characters in my books that symbolize their role in the story and whose traits are often based on people I've met.  

Norm: What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

Eamon: I feel like writing is very personal, so workshops were a waste of time for me. I found that, contrary to what many people are doing today, going to college to learn how to write creatively is a huge mistake.

MFA programs baffle me. It screams that if a person isn't born with a gift for writing creatively, they can just pay to learn how. That's not always the case, obviously, but it has certainly flooded the market with middlings of middle to upper-middle class people in their 20s who believe they are entitled to be writers. Who haven't learned about life yet. Who haven't been evicted, homeless, struggle to survive and therefore haven't experienced what readers are looking for in books. Life is full of conflict, and so is good writing. But if you've only learned about conflict in a classroom, well, it's much different than going through it.    

Norm: Why have you become fascinated with the history of Irish-Americans in New York City?

Eamon: My great-grandparents came from County Clare, Ireland to New York City in the 1890s. By 1906 Thomas and Honora Lynch opened a saloon in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, while living in Brooklyn. Eventually my grandfather took over the bar and if my father hadn't refused it, I would have it. It sent money from New York back to Ireland to support its quest for freedom from Britain and for many years my family Irish immigrants to the city find work and shelter. When anyone from County Clare came to New York, they went to my family's saloon and the many groups and clubs they were involved in for help. Listening to old stories about the Irish in New York as a child had a tremendous impact on me. 

Norm: What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn't so? As a follow up, what is the most important thing that people DON'T know about your subject/genre, that they need to know?

Eamon: Well, I may write about gangs in Brooklyn. And my specialty may be the history of Ireland and New York, but a great passion of mine is storytelling. I am heavily influenced by poetry and the artistic description that fuels a reader's imagination. 

Norm: Your most recent book Exile on Bridge Street, which will be coming out in the Fall of 2016, is the second book in the Auld Irishtown trilogy. Please tell our readers a little about the book.

Eamon: Exile on Bridge Street is the follow-up to Light of the Diddicoy, but it's a stand-alone historical novel. It's not a requirement to read either one first. It's about a fourteen year-old boy named Liam Garrity from Ireland who's father sends him to Brooklyn to work with his uncle just months ahead of the Easter Rising (a bloody revolt against British rule in Ireland).

Because the revolt is secretive and his father is a rebel, he doesn't know why he is being sent to New York. Liam though is kicked out of his uncle's room in Irishtown and finds himself homeless during winter in Brooklyn. A gang that controls labor on the Brooklyn docks picks him up and supports him, but the leader, a very charismatic guy named Dinny Meehan, wants him to bring his uncle to them since his uncle is an enemy of the gang. Right around that time, the Easter Rising occurs and Liam realizes he must get his mother and sisters out of Ireland before the British come to the family farm, so he needs the gang's help. But in order to help his mother and sisters, he has to give up his uncle.  

Norm: What are some of the references that you used while researching this book?

Eamon: There are many historically accurate events that take place in the book, such as the explosions on Black Tom's Island during World War I. German saboteurs set the munitions depot on fire just across the water from Brooklyn because they were due to be sent to England. The result were massive explosions and bullets being sent through the air, hitting the Statue of Liberty.

Norm: What did you enjoy most about writing the two books and what was the most difficult part of writing the two books

Eamon: I think challenging is a better word to use. Finding the time to write can often be challenging, but the biggest challenge is making everything work, having it all make sense AND be intriguing. 

Norm: What process did you go through to get your books published?

Eamon: Well, like most people, I was completely ignored for a couple years. No publishers or literary agents would pay any attention to me. One night I went to a party where there was a band and an open mic in Manhattan.

Everyone was kind of drunk and I went up and read a poem with music behind me. The publishers of Three Rooms Press was there and I met them. I also went to other poetry readings at Cornelia Street Cafe where they have a presence. So it just came about while in conversation with them that I had books, so I sent them a query and here we are. 

Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your work?

Eamon: I have a BLOG The books can be bought at local bookstores or AMAZON, 

Norm: As this interview comes to an end, what question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has?

Eamon: What is Dinny Meehan?

Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors