Conor Bredin is the author of ‘The Longest Night,’ a highly innovate, fast-paced Irish supernatural fantasy that I would recommend to you all. Mild-mannered teacher by day he also produces and hosts the popular ‘Story Of A Storyteller’ podcast. Which is how we met when he foolishly asked me to be a guest on one of his shows. Today I’m returning the favour to my fellow Irish scribbler. You can find details of where to find Conor at the end of the post. Enjoy.
Tell me a bit about Conor Bredin?
Ugh no! I hate these questions! That’s the part of having an author career that I hate the most. The selling and pushing and praising of oneself!
Anyway! I’m Conor Bredin, Author, Teacher, Podcaster and Gamer. I was born in New York, and when it was time to start school my parents panicked and worried about having a yank for a son, and fled home to Ireland. I grew up in Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim, a town with a castle, a tiny but very vibrant theatre, and loads of hills and mountains. I ended up going to St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra for my teaching degree, and have worked in a variety of schools in Dublin ever since. Currently teaching in a primary school in Lusk, County Dublin.
Where did you get the ‘The Longest Night?’
Literally pulled ideas from a hat! I bought the book Ready, Steady, Novel! as my boyfriend was sick of me saying “When I become an author” over and over, without ever writing. So I listened to him, just this once, and bought this book that would help me plan it out. One of the steps was to list every single topic that I could think of that inspires me, or I’m passionate about or interested in. I came up with a list that was three pages long! After that the book instructed me to choose nine that I thought could inspire a book, put them into a hat, and pull three. I took out “Mysteries”, “cults” and “Newgrange”. That was it! From there the plot came to me nearly fully formed!
I hear there are plans for a sequel. Any truth in that?
No. Fake News.
I’m joking. There was always plans for a sequel, or two. I love the idea of trilogies, and that was the original plan, but seeing as The Longest Night is tied so closely to the Winter Solstice, I was thinking there could be four, so a book each for the solstice and equinoxes! Hoping to get the series finished in the next two years!
You’re also working on a middle grade fantasy. What’s that about?
When I say that i’m a writer, I’m always asked if I write kids books as I’m a teacher. So I decided to give it a go. Here I am, 128,000 words later and I have a MONSTER of a first draft. Thinking of splitting it into three actually. (I love trilogies, as I’ve said.) In one sentence it’s about realising that growing up is not only necessary, but a wonderful thing, and that it’s okay to be scared of being an adult, but never okay to refuse the call to adulthood.
You also have a popular podcast. What plans do you have for it?
As your readers are aware, you were a guest on my podcast Story of a Storyteller, where I get to know the authors and storytellers of the world. Some of us tell stories for a living, whereas others don’t, and I always wondered why. The podcast was a way of me getting to know other storytellers to try and figure out what makes a writer, or actor, or film director.
The podcast is really just the cure to my inherent nosiness if I’m honest! Season 2 is airing now, and I’m hoping Seasons 3, 4, and 5 will air later this year too! The next few guests are amazing, so do check it out!
How is lockdown life as an Irish teacher and indie author?
Honestly? Hard. My time staring into the screen has tripled, and that’s not my thing. Before lockdown I used to write for an hour and then go to the gym before work. Then when I was home I got to relax. Now I never leave home, the gym is closed, and my focus (I only have an hour to write I better make it count!) is utterly gone. I haven’t writen yet in 2021, but that’s fine too. I just need to get through the hard days and when the easy ones come that’s where I shine!
How does a career as a teacher influence your writing?
I don’t actually know if I’m honest. It does help that I have a little more free time during the summers thankfully. It’s one of the perks to the job! I also am constantly bombarded by people. I talk to easily one hundred different people a day (when schools are open) and I think all that seeps into my brain and I end up writing people into my stories and books. It’s a blast!
You’re also an avid Dungeons & Dragons player. How do you fit it all into 24 hours?
So I run two games of D&D. Running the game means an hour or two of prep time for both, and the games themselves go on for 3 hours each. Thankfully they are only two times a month so I space the work out. D&D fuels me if I’m honest. When we finish one session I’m boucning and ready for the next. Unlike writing for books, writing for a game is so different. I write half the story, and the players write the other half!
For example, one of my players, who runs the game as Naoise, a rogue gnome, jokingly threatened a throwaway character with death, or marriage. We all laughed, but I, playing the character she was threatening, accepted the choice of marriage over death. Over the next few months (for those who don’t know, D&D games can run over literal years) the new husband, Frank, became a joke character. If the party were worried about a trap, Frank would be forced to check it out. Carrying something heavy? Frank. Galloping long distances to send a message? Frank. But over time, Frank became a friend to all the players, and a loving and attentive husband to Naoise. Until the day that in a battle with an evil lich, Frank dove in front of Naoise and took a spell to the chest, killing him instantly. The players all gasped in shock, and the woman playing Naoise actually cried. Now the story has fuel, has energy, as the players are travelling across the globe to find a way to bring Frank back from the dead. It was such a pivotal moment I got a piece of art made, featuring all the characters!
How do I fit it all in? I just do a little bit of everything. A jack of all trades and a master of none! Timers are my greatest friend. I only ever spend a hour doing one thing at all. Then I move to the next, until I collapse into bed at midnight.
If Conor Bredin could be any race other than human, what would he choose?
I know this is talking D&D wise, so just to make this make sense, in D&D there are many different races. Gnomes, Orcs, Elves, Tieflings etc. The one thing I hate about having to die someday, is that I won’t get to see how things “end”. Because of that, I’d love to be gnome, as they are the longest living species in the D&D! I’d want to be around for when we colonise Mars, faster than light travel, and the first meeting with an intelligent extraterrestrial species. I don’t want to miss any of it!
Where can we find more of you on social media?
Well the central hub is my website, http://www.conorbredin.com. I give the most updates to my personal and writing life to my newsletter subscribers so if you’d like to hear more go to http://www.conorbredin.com/freebook to get a free book AND hear more from me. Twitter is the best spot to find me though: https://www.twitter.com/Conor_the_geek!
Thanks to Conor. Next up in the series is another Irish author, Dixon Rueul, who will be talking about her post-apocalyptic ‘Rise Of One’ series.