Balbriggan Author publishes new locally-based novel as a tribute to his late brother. With the Coronavirus crisis closing down so many bookshops, local Balbriggan author Patrick Bentley made the decision to try get his new novel GREENRIDGE into as many hands as possible.
“A great way to take your mind off the present,” said Patrick. “Isn’t everyone looking to do something with all this time they have on their hands? And this book GREENRIDGE has a few laughs along the way that hopefully will lift the mood in people’s lives. I had no intention of launching the book until after the crisis passed, but my wife Sharon came home with €10 from a guy wanting a copy. I couldn’t say no, and then that just opened the floodgates. But I am very restricted myself in how I can get copies to people. I can’t go door to door, so I placed it in a few shops locally: Baxter Butchers in Balbriggan and Price Cutters in Skerries.”
Patrick can drop off a signed copy of GREENRIDGE at any location within the 2k restriction in Balbriggan & Balrothery and using strict social distancing and hygiene practice. Just send a text 0863363992 with your address and a note to where you have left €10 eg under a flower pot or Green Bin etc.
Okay. So what’s this book about?
“Well, it’s based in Balbriggan, Skerries and The Naul, Co. Dublin. But unlike the DARKLINE novels, GREENRIDGE has no underlying message; it’s just geared to entertain. People would get fed up if every book you wrote had a big message, or even brought Spirituality into the storyline. So in that sense I’ve changed direction a lot with this story. The book is basically two stories in one book. On one side you have Amy Watts on a painful recovery trail after losing her mother in a car crash. She’s met the guy of her dreams and is set to marry Rob Cooper in the Bracken Court Hotel. A couple of her close friends are jealous. One has a sense all is not what it seems with Amy’s new fella … “Then the other half of the story is set in the Naul, Co. Dublin. Greenridge itself is the name of a psychiatric hospital being run (poorly) by Doctor Grimes and his staff. Christy Boyle, the odd jobs man, stands out as the main character. His main goal in life is to one day land the top male nurse post and marry a beautiful nurse …”
And what’s it been like writing it?
“The idea way back was to write something like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest without stealing that story. GREENRIDGE is humorous yet sad and sometimes dark as the book gives a bird’s eye view of some of the goings on in such places. It’s maybe my favourite book to date – and a follow-up book (GREENRIDGE 2?) is well under way. “As many know, I lost my brother Alex in 2018, and the book is specially dedicated to him. it made writing it very personal. I even placed him in the storyline as a kind of extra, as you’d do in a movie. The last words I said to him were about placing him as one of the characters in the Millrace pub in the book. He said, ‘I can’t wait to read it!’ Then he laughed. ‘I’ll need to get a pair of glasses!’ “Four days later he was dead. So as you can imagine it’s a very special book to me, and one that I hold close and will always treasure. I made a promise that no matter what it sells, 1 copy or 1,000 copies, I’m going to enjoy every second of this experience. With the DARKLINE books, and my first book, the autobiographical THE JAGGED HALO, that was never the case. They were a bit of struggle from the start.”
Are you proud of all you’ve achieved?
“I never entertain the notion of any sense of pride in my achievements. I shy away from all that and always will. “I have this theory, you see, that people are blessed with a natural gift to write, to play football, to sing, etc. I think I’m one of those people. The result for me, the beauty is I get an incredible natural buzz and high from writing. So much of a high that I’d argue with anyone who’d tell me that winning a TT race or winning a World Cup medal would surpass it. I’m serious – it’s that strong a emotion. Only a natural-born writer can get this. “I remember when writing A NATION OUT OF TIME – it was 3 in the morning. I’d been writing for days and suddenly I saw a flash and a trillion words flashed in front of my mind’s eye. In that single moment I felt I could have written a thousand books. That stands out as my greatest moment to date as a writer. And it only lasted for two, maybe three seconds. You take any top Trinity College student who’s got all the English language down to a tee. They may write a brilliant best seller on the grounds of their education, but I can guarantee you they won’t get this feeling I’m talking about. You cannot make a writer, your born one. “I have no education whatsoever. I’m a dreadful speller. Grammar itself does not come easy to me, but I’ve learned a little bit. Yet when sit down and write, it feels like stepping into another world where the powers of creativity spring to life and I feel like I’m on a real live movie set, with real-life characters. Everything is real and alive. It’s a spectacle. And this special, unique feeling comes with it. That’s how it is when I write.”
Do you love it?
“Hugely! But now listen to this very carefully. Once the book is written, once you’ve penned it, whatever gift you had that enabled you to write goes back to sleep. You return to everyday life like everyone else – and that’s it! I honestly feel I’ve achieved … Zero. People say, “You’ve written four books!” I say, ‘No, I’ve done nothing at all. It’s just a gift, and that’s all it is. Take that gift away and you’d never be able to write.’ So to me, looking for praise for any achievements in life, is a sign of a lack of self-worth. What about the support you get you seem to have a growing army of enthusiasts? “The supporters who go out of their way to give €10 for my books – I can’t just can’t thank them enough. They have kept me going as a writer. Without their support I couldn’t keep paying the editor, the proofreader, the layout people and printers to enable me to be where I am today. Makes me proud to be Irish. At the doors, I’ve met some of the most amazing people in any walk of life. And when C 19 is gone I look forward to getting back out there and seeing them all again. Hopefully I’ll arrange a proper launch for Greenridge. “Stay safe.”
GREENRIDGE is being sold in Baxter Butchers Balbriggan and Price Cutters Skerries. €10. Or contact Patrick at 0863363992 to arrange to pick up a personal signed copy. Support local.