JH: Is this your first time being in the head of an adolescent boy? What’d ya think?
ER: This is not my first time in the head of an adolescent boy. In fact, I’m quite drawn to writing out of the head of adolescent boys, and middle-aged men, and old men. I’m especially drawn to writing out of the POV of older characters of both sexes. I don’t know why this is.
The first adolescent male character I remember writing about is Aidan Ivers, back in 1992 when I was doing my MFA at Mills College. My first novel manuscript was about Aidan Ivers and his best friend, Charlie Owens, both tough, north Dublin boys. It’s taken me a long time, but my latest stories have returned to north Dublin (where I was born and raised) and to its characters.
My stories usually start with a character and of late I’m writing stories about north Dublin characters and I’m loving the work. I’m going to continue to follow these characters and the wonderful energy and momentum they bring to my stories and see where they and the process take me.
I’ve revised, reworked, and rewritten “Lodgers” many times in the near twelve years since this character, Rory Deavitt, first came to me. Your edits and feedback on this story made it so much better and stronger, Jarrett, thank you. It was hard to spend all that time inside Rory Deavitt’s head because he’s so stuck and frustrated and starved and angry and savage. Then again, I’m also drawn to unlikeable characters. Perhaps I write out of the heads of characters so different from me to better understand our commonalities and our collective struggles.