A Few Quick Questions With…David Ahern

Earlier today, I posted my take on Madam Tulip, and now here’s a quick Q & A with the author, David Ahren.

According to your author bio, Madam Tulip isn’t your first novel — but it’s the first published, though, right? What made this one different than the others?
My last novel was a dark thriller, edgy and disturbing. When I was lucky enough to get to talk to several publishers about it, I found they were only interested if I meant to follow up with a couple more in the same vein. I really didn’t want to do that. So it sits in the imaginary drawer and will probably stay there.
In the writing of Madam Tulip, what was the biggest surprise about the writing itself? Either, “I can’t believe X is so easy!” or “If I had known Y was going to be so hard, I’d have skipped this and watched more TV”.
How much sheer fun they are to write was a real surprise. I love living with these characters.
I particularly enjoyed the character Jacko. What can you tell me about him — where did he come from?
Ah! He sprang up fully formed, hair and all. I love characters who are impossible people you can’t dislike. Jacko owes a lot to one of my grandfathers who had a wonderful ability to relish life. He had extraordinary energy and always had a scheme of some sort, usually unwise.
Did you intend from the beginning on this being a series and construct things with that in mind, or was this a novel you liked enough that you wanted to continue with Derry and the rest?
Madam Tulip was a series from the start. I used to make TV documentary series in another life, so thinking that way is instinctive for me. I like the way a series forces you to be consistent with your structures. You have to set yourself strict rules. Tough, but satisfying when you succeed.
Is there a genre that you particularly enjoy reading, but could never write? Or are you primarily a mystery reader?
That question really makes me think. These days I read mostly non-fiction, because I don’t like to be influenced stylistically by other novels while I’m in the middle of writing one. Historical novels I love. In fact my all-time favourite writer of series is Patrick O’Brien who wrote the most wonderful series of sea-stories. But any time I tried to write in that genre, I got bogged down in hugely enjoyable research and forgot I was meant to be creating a story.
Thanks so much for your time, hope the launch goes well!
And thank you H.C. for your interest in Madam Tulip. She thanks you too and sees a wonderful future for your blog.

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