1. Tell me about your book CLONMAC'S BRIDGE and where you got your inspiration for it?
Clonmac’s Bridge was inspired by a real-life discovery of Ireland’s earliest major span, built circa 804 AD.
I've long been a fan of important archaeological discoveries and I found this one particularly interesting. It tells us something about the level of technology in that society and struck me as a beginning of their rise out of the Dark Ages. Though there were many monasteries helping preserve classical works, they hadn’t applied them to life as later happened in the Italian Renaissance, and I was curious why. I found a fictional way to explore that question and create what I believe is a compelling tale at the same time. I hope readers agree.
2. Do you admire your own work?
Yes, actually I do. Though, I have to say immediately that my view counts for nothing. How readers see it is what matters, in the end.
3. Do you enjoy giving interviews?
That depends on the interviewer. In your case, very much.
4. Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or movie?
Not since about the age of eight... thank heavens!
5. Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Frequently. That’s what the Delete key is for.
6. Is there a message in your novels you want the readers to grasp?
Have you got an hour? Any short answer to this is sure to mislead as much as it in informs, I’m sure. Still, it deserves a good old-fashioned try.
If I had to compress it down to essentials, I’d want readers to see in my work the view that life can be good, that we can flourish, and our thoughtful choices have a huge influence on whether or not we do. I’d want them to ‛get’ that the keys to that are through striving for high competence via creativity, and sheer persistence in the face of obstacles over a long, often difficult period.
Typically, in life as opposed to literature, those hurdles are not big, dramatic one-time events. More often they’re the day-to-day Chinese-torture drip of the inertia of wet human cotton balls, to use a horribly mixed metaphor. Those barricades are usually held in place by small souls who, paraphrasing Mencken, fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.
At heart, I’m a romantic writer – but in the 19th century sense of that term.
7. Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
It would be impossible to pick just one.
I’ve enjoyed such a variety from E. M. Forster to Ayn Rand, from Dumas to R. F. Delderfield. Those are all, clearly, starkly different writers. I do tend to prefer British writers mostly.
Of authors of more ‛popular fiction’ I used to read a fair amount of Ian Fleming, Ken Follett, and the like. More recently, I’ve discovered a wonderful fellow named David Bruce, who writes WWII-era military fiction. Nowadays I read chiefly historical fiction, mostly from the 1950s.
I’m not sure I could identify just what ‛strikes me’ about any of these. I like books that have a story with admirable characters and that moves along. I generally get impatient with ‛serious’ authors who, as the saying goes, muddy their waters to make them appear deep. At the same time, superficial ‛heroic’ characters get boring very quickly. Of more popular fiction these days, at least among the successful ones, the emphasis often seems to be more on either the grim or the goofy and neither is really my taste.
For good or ill, I’m a fairly old-fashioned fellow in most of my tastes.
8. If you could change places with any of your favourite fictional characters and change one of their choices, who, what and why?
Oh, James Bond, of course. Wouldn’t every man? He gets to off people who annoy him, without any consequences.
9. What was your favourite subject at school?
Here again it would be impossible to choose just one. Mathematics and physics were high on the list, but I always loved art and music and literature, too. I did a lot of acting in my younger days in school and later. I’ve always been interested in a very wide variety of subjects. Now, most of my non-fiction reading is in history.
10. If you could learn one random skill, what would you learn?
I’d finish learning to play the piano. I doubt now I’ll take the time but I’ve always regretted not practicing enough to become proficient. I could say the same thing about drawing, an ability I consider next to divine when it’s developed well and one for which I have no talent at all, probably because of native impatience. I greatly admire those who have those qualities.
11. What was your favourite cartoon growing up?
There were several but I think probably The Jetsons was the top.
12. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or is it all imagination?
Most of my books are based on real-life events, heavily modified by my imagination. “Cossacks In Paris,” whose background is the final two years of the Napoleonic wars, is from start to finish, obviously. But, less obviously, it is right down to the main character, whom I discovered in a news clipping from 1814.
“Death Is Overrated” was influenced by a few different classic films but the events themselves are mostly drawn from the experience of real people, though the characters are only very loosely.
My latest, Clonmac’s Bridge, is inspired by a real-life discovery by maritime archaeologists who unearthed a medieval bridge in Ireland near a famous monastery. Again, though, the real events are just background; the story is entirely invented.
My work fits roughly into the Romantic Realist school, though how well it fits varies quite a lot from novel to novel.
13. What’s next for you?
Well, I have planned a re-telling of the William Tell legend.
Also, I’m finishing the research for a 19th century medical drama about a young woman from Scotland who emigrates to America to become a physician, a rare and very difficult thing even as late as 1890.
After that, I plan to start writing a trilogy whose background is the Age of Discovery – when Venetians traded in the Levantine, the Portuguese opened oceanic trade routes to India, etc. I’ve been researching it for a couple of years.
14. Which book do you wish you’d written?
I don’t really think that way. I admire several authors but I can only write my own stories.
15. How do you deal with brilliant ideas that pop up while you’re writing something else?
I write them down for later use. That said, it happens a good deal less often than I wish.
"A maritime archaeologist raises a medieval monastery span from the mud of the River Shannon, sunken for 1,200 years... and finds it perfectly preserved.
What could account for this astounding longevity? Why are his colleagues and the Church so desperate to prevent him learning the secret? And why is his consummate lover his greatest enemy?
Griffin Clonmac will go through hell to find out.
He won’t go alone. Inspired by a real discovery, Clonmac’s Bridge shifts between contemporary times and 9th century Ireland. It tells the story of two men who struggle against envy and mediocrity — a millennium apart — aided only by a loyal helpmate and an unconquerable will.
An archaeological thriller, a love story, and a pensée on society then and now, Jeffrey Perren fans are sure to find this latest novel his best yet."
Jeffrey Perren is an American novelist, educated in philosophy at UCLA and in physics at UC Irvine. The lure of writing soon outweighed everything, though. He wrote his first short story at age 12 and went on to win the Bank of America Fine Arts award at age 17. Since then he has published at award-winning sites and magazines from the U.S. to New Zealand. He has had short stories published at the award-winning sites Apollo's Lyre and Mystericale.