Interview with Brian Igoe

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I sometimes feel I grew up in a car. Or an aeroplane. Earlier I suppose it was in my grandmother's house in Ranelagh Road, Dublin. But as a family we did a lot of traveling, I went to boarding school from the age of 8, and spent holidays in Southern Africa, France, and Ireland, so all in all a happy start to life (apart from school!). Little did I know that half a century later these early travels would provide the canvas upon which I was to work on books...
When did you first start writing?
I did some articles for a South African Economics Magazine around 1985, and later condensed them into a booklet entitled 'High Yield Investment Programmes - Fact or Fiction?'. However in the sense of writing books, I started when I was 65! I started life as a lawyer and became by a series of unexpected twists and turns what I suppose one would call a businessman. First an assistant in a horticulture development in Ireland, then as a manager on a Tea Estate in what was then Rhodesia, and that led to a career which left me as the boss of a multi-national multi-disciplined company based in Harare, by now Zimbabwe. We left Zimbabwe in 2001, and for a few years I was a business consultant and eventually retired. During all that I lived through Zimbabwe's Liberation Struggle and learned to fly, and when I retired I started scribbling memories from which emerged my first 'book', To Fly!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A Love affair. With a Computer. A thing called a Kaypro from which we ran a 300 cow dairy herd in 1983. The cows were free ranging animals on a huge field on which were parked numbers of feeding stalls. These were linked to the Kaypro in the office, so that when, say, Bessie IV walked in the stall would be instructed by Mr. Kay's Kaypro to feed her until she had eaten her ration for the period. She could not exceed that ration, and at milking time her milk was likewise weighed and recorded by the Kaypro. If it was more than her average the next feed would also be more. That saved the cost of the computer in a week by more efficient rates of conversion of food into milk, and led me to think seriously. I moved onwards and upwards applying computer technology to every aspect of our business where it could make us more profitable. When retirement and 'To Fly' came along, eBooks were becoming seriously popular, and for me being an Indie author was a natural progression. What motivated me to write at all? Boredom, I guess. And the possibility that writing was something which might, just might, turn my passion for history into an income....
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Ebooks were a natural for me, and the businessman in me looked around the market place for selling them. I eventually homed in on Amazon for their Kindle, and Smashwords for everything else. I do have a problem with Smashwords which I haven't yet resolved, the fact that I do not live in the United States. That and the cumbersome chain of payments from customer through distributor through Smashwords to me makes payments very slow. Moreover the method of applying the US tax system on authors which, it seems to me, is unique to Smashwords means that as a non-American I still pay an American tax! But to answer the question, Smashwords with their excellent distribution network has got my books out into a wide market place, and their unique 'meatgrinder' means they are fairly well presented there. But Amazon pay faster!
What do you write about?
a/. Mainly History and historical themes.
b/. Things I know something about.
I write about the past because that has been a hobby since childhood, and I write about things I know about because I feel that if someone is actually going to pay to read what I have written, it must be what it says it is. My Story of Ireland, for example, is just that, the story of how Ireland got from where she came from to where she is today. Most of the other books are novels to the extent that I have imagined some of the scenes but not the plot. Napper Tandy for example, lived the life and died the death I have described, but what he actually said and the conversations he had along the way I have imagined unless there is a record available. The Road to Zimbabwe on the other hand is imagined within broad parameters for the first six hundred years, but becomes factual, almost autobiographical, in the last third of the book.
What is your writing process?
First, obviously, research. Mostly on the internet which has made quite easy a task which a few decades ago would have taken months and involved a great deal of travel and hours of browsing in various libraries. That research I then condense into notes set within the timeframe of the story. That in turn is expanded into the book. The actual writing process I find needs a disciplined approach, just as though I were still running a business. So I rise at 4:30 a.m., work until 7 a.m., bath shave and breakfast and then work until midday. That's it. In the afternoon we hike, my wife and I, all over the countryside where we live. She says we go walking. I think hiking sounds less geriatric. Take your pick. We aim at 20 miles or so a week. Some books take more time than others, but I aim at two a year and between 70,000 and 100,000 words a book. Then I put the result away for a while, say from six to twelve months, and then I get it out again and edit it. That works for me, and anyhow I can't afford an editor!
How do you approach cover design?
The cover design is the only thing I outsource, but I minimise the cost by using the same basic structure for all my books.
What are you working on next?
Cato. Marcus Porcius Cato, a Roman Statesman and contemporary of Julius Caesar with whom he waged a lifelong struggle, for they had diametrically opposed views on just about everything, especially government. It wouldn't have needed much, a different decision by Caesar on crossing the Rubicon for example, to have made Cato pre-eminent in history and Caesar just a byword. I am trying to tell that story. Writing about ancient Rome, or rather publishing a book about ancient Rome, will be a first for me but I did actually write most of one on Julius Caesar a few years ago and called it The Reluctant Dictator. Eventually I decided that the subject had been overdone. A lot of the research I did for Caesar however applied equally to Cato, and it's always been a period that has fascinated me. I hope Cato's Shade will approve of what I write!
Published 2013-09-02.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Crummell!
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 5,220. Language: English. Published: October 8, 2014. Category: Nonfiction » History » European
The Story of Oliver Cromwell's 'pacification' of Ireland between 1649 and 1653, with a description of the New Model Army, the sieges of Drogheda and Wexford, and the removal of the entire Catholic population from their homes to exile in the far west of Ireland.
The Great Famine - Ireland 1847 to 1851
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 7,290. Language: English. Published: September 12, 2014. Category: Nonfiction » History » European
The Great Famine in Ireland is the most the most reviled, and yet the most formative event in modern Irish History. What was the Famine? What caused it? Why did so many die, or leave if they could? I look at these questions I give my take on all this, and then I look at those notorious evictions, and finally comment on the long term impact on Ireland, how it was changed, and changed forever.
St Patrick to Grattan - Selected Irish Lives
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 13,100. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: March 12, 2014. Category: Nonfiction » Biography » Historical biography
A short glimpse into some selected Irish Lives, from St Patrick to Grattan, to celebrate St Patrick's Day.
Limbless Landlord
By
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 53,950. Language: English. Published: August 26, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » History » Biography
Footless! Legless, in fact, and armless too. Nothing to do with a state of intoxication, though - Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh was was born with no legs or arms, and yet was a most adventurous traveler, a husband and father, an expert horseman, a first class shot, a noted yachtsman, an active local Justice of the Peace and administrator, and a Member of Parliament.. This is his story.
The O'Connell Series. Book 4. Apogee & Perigee.
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Series: Daniel O'Connell, the Last King of Ireland, Book 5. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 17,750. Language: English. Published: August 21, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » History » Biography
This, the fourth book in the O’Connell Series, is also the last one. It describes what posterity has treated as the acme of his career when his Monster Meetings for Repeal attracted hundreds of thousands of people who all behaved perfectly peacefully and, exceptionally for Ireland, with absolute abstention from all liquor. That leads us on through prison to his death on his way to Rome..
The Ireland Series Book 4 - 19th century
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Series: The Story of Ireland, Book 4 ยท Daniel O'Connell, the Last King of Ireland, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 16,110. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » History » European
The Nineteenth Century! The Great Famine starts this section, and next piece, The Irish in America deserves a book in itself. Here we just take a glimpse at the early days. The Transport Revolution with its Atmospheric Railways and its Fly Boats and its steamers and railways should have another book, while The Fenians and Parnell laid the foundation for Modern Island.
The Daniel O'Connell Series Book 3. The Great Reform Bill.
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Series: Daniel O'Connell, the Last King of Ireland, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 18,580. Language: English. Published: July 3, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Biography » Historical biography
This is the third in the series of LiteBite Books telling the story of Daniel O’Connell. It follows him from the Waterford Election to the great Clare Election where Daniel himself was elected. Thence the book looks at the run-up to the Great Reform Bill in England and the disputes in the United Kingdom House of Parliament of which Daniel was now a Member.
The Daniel O'Connell series. Book 2 - Marriage and a Duel
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Series: Daniel O'Connell, the Last King of Ireland, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 22,470. Language: English. Published: June 30, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » History » Biography
This is the second in the Daniel O’Connell series of LiteBite Books. It takes us from the end of the last book in 1800, which was the year of the Act of Union between England and Ireland, to 1828 when at the famous Clare Election he was elected to Parliament. That election was the culmination of a series of Catholic electoral victories in Ireland, but these were, one might think, Pyrrhic Victory.
The Road to Zimbabwe
By
Price: $7.77 USD. Words: 74,220. Language: English. Published: June 8, 2013. Category: Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom
This is the story of Zimbabwe - told as a series of dramatized adventures interspersed with just a little history. It covers the period from 1190 AD to the current year, 2013. Told in 3 parts, Zambezia, takes us to around 1900; Rhodesia, to 1980, and Zimbabwe to the present day, 2013.
The Ireland Series - Book 3, All Change
By
Series: The Story of Ireland, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 20,030. Language: English. Published: May 27, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » History » European
This is the third in the series of LiteBite Books telling the story of Ireland. It takes us from what was a state of virtual slavery, the misery of the Penal Laws, to virtual freedom with the (almost) victory of Daniel O’Connell, 1690 to 1847, a period which saw the greatest change in the fortunes of the Irish since the arrival of the Normans over six hundred years earlier.
The Ireland Series 2 - Religion and War
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Series: The Story of Ireland, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 18,200. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: May 8, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » History » European
This is the second in the series of LiteBite Books telling the story of Ireland. It takes us from 1366 to 1791, the most defining period of Ireland’s history. Book 2 looks at the amazing Fitzgeralds, known as the Geraldines, and follows the saga through Henry VIII and the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Oliver Cromwell, King Billy and the Battle of the Boyne and the Flight of the Wild Geese
The Daniel O'Connell series. Book 1 - Youth
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Series: Daniel O'Connell, the Last King of Ireland, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 17,500. Language: English. Published: April 14, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Biography » Historical biography
This is a LiteBite Book, about the equal of fifty or so pages of a Paperback or Pocket Book. The Daniel O'Connell story โ€’ Book One. Youth. This is the first in a series of LiteBite Books telling the story of Daniel O'Connell, called in his own day the Uncrowned King of Ireland. This first Book takes us from his birth in 1775 to 1800.
The Ireland Series Book 1 - Our Roots.
By
Series: The Story of Ireland, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 15,120. Language: English. Published: April 13, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » History » European
This is a LiteBite Book, about the equal of fifty or so pages of a Paperback or Pocket Book. The Story of Ireland โ€’ Book One. Roots. This is the first in a series of LiteBite Books telling the story of Ireland. This first Book takes us from 3000 BC to 1366 AD.
Bianconi, The King of the Irish Roads
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Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 33,150. Language: English. Published: November 8, 2012. Category: Nonfiction » History » Biography
Charles Bianconi was an Italian immigrant who built up the largest transport system in Europe,in Ireland! It opened the country up as never before. Trudging Ireland's country Lanes the idea of a passenger transport system occurred to him, and he never looked back. He had 100 vehicles travelling 3,800 miles daily calling at 120 towns, and 140 stations for changing horses. This is his story.
Napper Tandy, The Irish Patriot
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Price: Free! Words: 33,250. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2012. Category: Nonfiction » History » European
Napper Tandy was born in Dublin in 1740, an ironmonger's son. He was Secretary of the United Irishmen which with Wolfe Tone he helped found the United Irishmen. He led the mismanaged French ‘invasion’ of Ireland in 1798. He was sentenced to death, but never executed, a fact which may well have denied him the martyrdom which came to others Like Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmett. This is his his story.
High Yield Investment Programs - Fact, or Fiction?
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Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 13,950. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: October 23, 2012. Category: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Investments & securities / bonds
I originally became interested in so-called High Yield Investment Programs, HYIP’s, in 1998 when researching alternative sources of finance for investment in areas seen as a bad risk for geo-political reasons. I wrote a series of articles around that time for a finance magazine, in the hope of attracting criticism and comment – which I did! I have now put these together in this small book.
To Fly!
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Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 25,270. Language: English. Published: October 21, 2012. Category: Nonfiction » Biography » Adventurers & explorers
"To Fly!" is a compendium of stories about flying adventures of a father and son, the father in the RAF and the son in Zimbabwe. Bill Igoe learned to fly an aeroplane in 1934, forty years after the death of the Wright Brothers' inspiration Lilienthal. And Bill’s son Brian learned to fly forty years after that, when the Concorde was around. Both had a lot of stories to tell.
Daniel O'Connell, The Last King of Ireland
By
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 75,650. Language: English (Irish dialect). Published: October 19, 2012. Category: Nonfiction » History » European
This is about revolution, duels, and love - love of girls until his marriage, and then of Mary, his devoted wife until the day she died. He became a lawyer, and as a barrister he won fame and fortune. As a politician he achieved greatness, and eventually became what was very close to being the ruler of Ireland โ€’ the last, though uncrowned, King. The book is a novel, but historically accurate.
The Story of Ireland
By
Price: $8.88 USD. Words: 90,820. Language: English. Published: October 15, 2012. Category: Nonfiction » History » European
This is the story of Ireland – not just her History, but her story. Her Music, her Poetry and Theatre, her ancient Brehon laws. How people lived in the times of Brian Boru, what they wore and what they ate and drank. It’s the story of her roads, her railways, her canals. It’s the story of her industries, her agriculture, her linen, her ship building, and her modern financial revolution.