Background: Originally from Co. Tyrone, Broderick is an Irish author living in NYC. His new memoir, That’s That, is due to be released next May.
When and why did you move to the U.S.?
“I moved to the U.S. in 1988. My last memoir, Orangutan, covers the first 20 years I spent here in New York working construction, the drinking, the failed marriages, jail, the usual stuff. In my new memoir That's That, I try to get at the "why".”
What is your most vivid memory of the your first few months living in New York?
“Driving into Manhattan for the first time in a construction van with my cousins, just the amazement and the terror at the sheer size of the place took my breath away. I couldn't understand how anybody could ever get used to it.”
Tell us about That’s That.
“I'm happy to say that after four years of writing it, I've finally finished it. Random House has slated the book for release on May 6, 2013. They're calling it the first book of it's kind written about Northern Ireland, which is flattering and terrifying in equal measure.
“It's a memoir of my life growing up in the heart of The Troubles, so it's been incredibly important for me to try and get it right. People are still pretty sensitive about this stuff. Plus it's just been hard for me as an Irishman to say anything about my childhood at all.
“We're sort of hardwired to believe that it's much more noble to be these stoic pain-vessels -- hard men, crack a joke, have another beer, you know the routine...but I believe that in order to evolve, to heal, we must first say, ‘Hey, this really happened to us,’ acknowledge the wounds, and then move on.”
What is your advice to aspiring writers thinking about moving to New York?
“I'm not sure I would advise an aspiring writer to move to New York, at least not to write. Sure, come here and live, go mad, but it's too expensive to be an aspiring anything here anymore.”
You spent a short period in Ireland back in 2008. Could you ever see yourself returning there for good?
“It took that 10 months living in Ireland with my former partner Renata to realize that I belong living in America for now, specifically in New York. But my daughter Erica was born while we were there and that was the most amazing experience of my life. I'm glad she was born in Northern Ireland. She will always be a wee bit of a Northern Irish girl now no matter where she is.”
What is the biggest change you have noticed in New York since you arrived here?
“The beauty of New York is that she is always changing, renewing and reinventing herself. It's that constant sense of regeneration and the diverse sea of humanity that keeps me enthralled after 24 years. Even now when I walk down the street there are days when she takes my breath away. “