An Irishman has gone from writing an entire novel on his cell phone to having it published by crime fiction Web site.
Armagh native Stuart Neville began his novel, “The Twelve,” by punching in letters on his mobile.
“The book started life on my mobile phone,” the Web designer and writer told the Guardian. “I literally got up out of bed with this idea in my head for a novel and the first thing I put my hand on was my PDA phone. I started writing it digitally there and then on the mobile screen because it was handy, and then later copied it onto my computer.”
“The Twelve” is set in post-Irish Peace Process Northern Ireland, and tells the tale of an ex-IRA member named Fegan who’s haunted by ghosts that are urging him to kill his former comrades as redemption for his past sins.
James Ellroy, who’s penned popular fiction such as “LA Confidential” and “American Tabloid,” has been talking up the Irishman’s “cell phone” novel, calling it “the best first novel I have read in years.”
Neville was first recognized by New York literary agent Matt Sobel, who spotted a short story based on the main character in “The Twelve” on thuglit.com. Sobel went on to sign up Neville, and now “The Twelve” will be published under the title “The Ghosts of Belfast” in Britain next month and in the U.S. this fall.
The Irishman’s novel is entirely a work of fiction, and does not include any real-life political characters, and Fegan’s targets are all invented IRA men.
“One of those Fegan targets is after a seat in the Northern Ireland power-sharing executive but is being held back by his criminal past. I see this book primarily as a thriller with a paranormal element to it and one that explores the themes of Northern Ireland's recent past,” Neville said.
“There are a lot of very sad people out there who have done terrible things in the past. Any kind of novel will have these kind of themes, coming out of this place, but there was nothing conscious in the telling of it.”
Neville is already working on a sequel to his anticipated debut Irish novel.