Today’s guest has taken a different path to become an author and was gracious enough to share all about it with us. Paul Garrigan, author, blogger, and all around interesting guy has agreed to share about his latest book and other juicy tidbits about himself – Enjoy!
Five years ago my life was in a complete mess. I was living in a beautiful Thai village, but an out of control alcohol addiction meant life was unbearable. I’d been in trouble with the booze since my teens and the end of the road was approaching fast. I knew that if I didn’t manage to quit soon I’d die. My liver was damaged but that the worst part was the mental pain. I was only 36 but my life felt over. That was when I heard about a Thai Buddhist temple that offered a unique treatment approach for addiction. I saw it as my last hope.
I managed to get free of alcohol then and I began writing about my experiences on a blog. My story received positive feedback and it encouraged me to keep writing. I was contacted by a publisher who suggested that I turn my story into a book; I also received the same suggestion from an established writer. This was more than enough motivation to get me moving. I ended up signing with Maverick House; an Irish publisher with a history of taking chances on interesting book ideas.
To learn more about Dead Drunk, including where to buy your copy, go here: http://paulgarrigan.com/dead-drunk/
Has writing always been a part of your life or did you discover it later?
I can’t remember when writing first became a part of my life. As a kid I’d make my own comics so I suppose that’s where it started. A lot of my heroes growing up were writers and my favourite place in the world was the library. I continued to write as an addict; self-pitying morbid drivel that always ended up in the bin. I suppose that all that writing over the years helped me develop some writing skills, but I didn’t have anything worth saying until I got sober.
What are you currently working on?
I just signed a contract to write a new book about my experiences fighting Muay Thai. This is the toughest martial art in the world and stepping into the ring is going to be something of a challenge. The training is intense and it is hard not to wonder if this is really something a 41 year old ex-drunk should be considering. I’ve always been a bit of a coward when it comes to physical confrontations so I’ll be facing my biggest fears. I loved martial arts as a teenager but gave it up for alcohol – now I’m getting it back. I hope my story will inspire others to make their childhood dreams a reality. The book is due for release in 2012 but people can follow my progress on http://middleagedmuaythai.com/
What advice would you give to a writer just starting out?
I became a full-time writer two years ago and my advice is aimed at those people who would like to do the same. I suspect that almost anyone can make their living this way if they want it enough. A bit of talent is always going to help a writer, but the most important factor is discipline. The more you write the better you get at it – it’s as simple as that. I spend 12 hours a day, six days a week, hitting the keyboard and that is how I make my living as a writer.
What is it like being an Irishman in Thailand?
It is strange but most Thai people have never heard of Ireland; they always get it mixed up with Iceland. I’m constantly fobbing off questions about what it was like growing up surrounded by snow; they get disappointed when I point out that it hardly ever snows in Ireland.
Is there a link between creativity and substance abuse?
I grew up with the strange notion that addition was the sign of an artistic temperament. This is a myth. Alcohol and drug abuse only ever steal talent. I fell for this lie for a long time but alcohol never helped me – it only hindered me. Sure, there may be some sensible people who can feel inspired after a couple of glasses of wine, but I doubt that the alcohol is adding to their talents. Even those artists who abused the booze had their most creative periods when they were dry. A good example is Jackson Pollock who managed to create almost all his famous work during a two year sober period.
I grew up in Ireland but have lived in Thailand for the last decade. I trained as a nurse but now make my living as a freelance writer. I’m married to Oa and we share a wonderful three year old son. I’m an ex-drunk who found that life in sobriety could be better than anything I could have previously imagined. My book Dead Drunk was released by Maverick House in 2010.
A huge thanks to Paul for coming by for an interview, feel free to leave him questions and comments below!