Colin Broderick

How did you become a writer?

Some days I'm not really sure if I am a writer.  Some days I am a carpenter, other days, just dad.  I've been writing on an off my whole life. I tried to write my first novel when I was nine or ten. I still have the notebook somewhere. I think I got to about page three.  I'm getting better at finishing my stories now.

Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).

When I was a kid it was Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton. As I got a little older it was Bukowski for a while, then the obligatory Hemingway and Fitzgerald phase. Then as I aged I drifted into John Irving (earlier Irving). Over the past twenty years it's been mostly Philip Roth, and of course The Snow Leopard by Matthiessen which I re-read again and again. I love clarity when I read. I want to know where I am in a book. I love a good story. Give me a good story with some depth to it, clear concise no-nonsense writing and I'm all over it.

When and where do you write?

I write at home with my laptop in my lap. I like a quiet room if at all possible; soft light, a nice window, a view of some trees, leaves falling, to remind me of the impermanence of it all.

What are you working on now?

I am frantically polishing my first feature movie, "Emerald City." I wrote it, directed and acted in it. We've just been accepted into The London Irish Film Festival and it's been shortlisted for Best Feature. I also just signed the contracts on my new book, "The Writing Irish of New York." Fordham University Press will publish that one in 2017. I also have another couple of screenplays currently in development: "The Catalpa" and "The Rising."

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

There was a period of about eight years when I went back drinking in my thirties where I didn't write at all but I've been pretty active ever since I got sober again. I have two kids; I can't afford writers block.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

"Writers write." I can't remember who said it...maybe it's just what my inner voice yells at me daily. My mentor Billy Collins also used to say, "All writing is rewriting." That's true also. Everything is a work in progress until they pry it from your cold dead hands.

What’s your advice to new writers?

My advice is just write: write, write, write...but just as important: know when to let go. You must let go in order to move forward. Again and again I see young writers I admire getting stuck on one book. They try to get it published and nobody wants it and they go back and tweak it again and again for years without getting into something new. My advice is, "LET IT GO!" Stick it in a drawer, move on. Trust me, you will get better just by virtue of experience, and if you turn out to be Ernest Hemingway twenty years down the line, they'll ask you what you have stored away in that drawer of yours.

Colin Broderick was born and raised in Northern Ireland. He has published two memoirs "Orangutan" Random House 2009, and "That's That," Random House 2013. He lives in upstate New York with his wife, two kids, and a dog named Beckett. His new book, The Writing Irish of New York, will be published in 2017 by Fordham University Press.