Today I am delighted to welcome Bronagh Curran who has kindly written a piece about the inspiration behind her upcoming novel, The Good Activist, which will be published April 22nd with Merdog Books. Bronagh Curran is a former national journalist and author of YA books. The Good Activist is her first novel for adults and she describes it as ‘part psychological thriller, part coming of age, part suspense and maybe even a little bit of satire.’
I hope you enjoy Bronagh’s words below, where you will also find further information on The Good Activist (including details on its May launch) and, of course, about Bronagh herself.
[About the Book ]
Maeve Daly is a product of her time, opinionated, impressionable and determined.
But she is also a product of her upbringing, for half of her life she called her teenage mother her sister and never knew her place in the family, let alone the world.
So when she finds like minded social and eco activists The Clan, and a mother figure in their enigmatic leader Ferdia Cusack, her fate is set on a path of destruction.
Maeve’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and extreme – especially when a burgeoning relationship with fellow member Aide awakens her sexual desire.
Intoxicated by everything her new family can give her, Maeve puts their needs above all else.
She is willing to shed blood for the cause. But as the final reckoning beckons, will she truly turn her back on her old family in favour of her new one?
‘I’d write the kind of book I love to read ‘
– Bronagh Curran
I first got the idea for my novel The Good Activist while working as an assistant to a senator in 2019 where I’d had a birds eye view of the Extinction Rebellion protestors. From my fifth storey window in Leinster House, I’d watch them as they gathered around the statue of William Conyngham in the courtyard away from the main gates. They would sit and regroup, prepare their chants and placards while encouraging and celebrating each other. It was tribalistic and inspiring. Their passion was the virus that spread amongst them just months before the real one came and I remember thinking, thank God for them. Thank God for the socially minded, eco conscious, selfless and courageous youth of today. They are so much better than my millennial capitalist generation, the future is in safe hands. But then I thought what might happen if all that unbridled enthusiasm for revolution, that nascent naivety was harnessed in the wrong direction, by the wrong hands. Could something with such obvious well meaning be corrupted by a prevailing, captivating wind.
I’d recently moved into a three story Georgian house in Donnybrook as part of a housing scheme, where I’d provide company to the elderly homeowner for a significantly reduced rent. Her house was an atmospheric time capsule with original 1970s horse hair furniture and a warren of rooms. It was the perfect setting for a story, I knew that the moment I’d moved in. And it would be dark, foreboding, sexy even. I’d write the kind of book I love to read, ones with unsettling characters and complicated human connections, ones where you see the lesser promoted reflections of yourself. I knew that feelings of intense infatuation and allowing something or someone envelop your entire person were the building blocks of my protagonist Maeve Daly, an idealistic, over confident 18 year old from a tiny country town intent on changing the world. On the outside she would be fierce and fearless but inside, incredibly vulnerable to anyone prepared to show her love. And that’s where Ferdia Cusack came in. As the charismatic leader of a group of social and environmental activists, The Clan, Ferdia gives Maeve everything she is looking for, a purpose, a place, even a mother. I placed them both in that Georgian house, assigned them rooms and welcomed the rest of the family, fellow activists Eimear, Seb, Zamara, Posey and the captivating Aide. They all lived with me as I plotted their protests, their illicit liaisons in the moonlit kitchen, their ultimate unravelling.
When their story was half told, the world came to a standstill. I had to leave our house and move home to my small country town, just like the one Maeve came from. I didn’t visit The Clan again for two months, until I was back in Dublin, this time in a bedsit, starting a whole new career in the uncertain pandemic fog. The only thing I really knew was that I needed to finish Maeve’s story, her ultimate mission. I vacillated between a happy or foreboding ending, both versions existed independently until I decided on something between the two. A fitting conclusion for Maeve, who is both light and shade, like us all.
I always knew The Good Activist was a different kind of story, part psychological thriller, part coming of age, part suspense and maybe even a little bit of satire. While writing it I never thought of what genre it might be pitched in, that only came after. I was so incredibly lucky that independent publishers Merdog Books recognised the story I was trying to tell and never questioned its category, they accepted Maeve for the messed up, complicated creation she is, and as such, finally gave her the home she was searching for.
Purchase (Pre-order Link) ~ The Good Activist
The Good Activist will be launched in Hodges Figgis Book Shop in Dawson Street, Dublin 2 May 3rd at 6pm with Bronagh Curran and special guest, number one bestselling author, Sam Blake.
You can register your attendance HERE
[ Bio ]
Bronagh Curran is a former national journalist and author of YA books. The Good Activist is her first novel for adults.
In 2016 her first published novel, In Het Spoor Van de Eclips, was released in The Netherlands following the acquisition of the Dutch rights of the original version The Path of Totality at the Bologna Book Fair by Gottmer Kinderboeken.
A native of Oldcastle, Co Meath, she currently lives in South County Dublin where she works as a dental surgery assistant.
In previous lives she ran a dog kennels, taught jewellery making and assisted a Government Senator. But throughout all these lives she has been writing.
Twitter ~ @bcurranBooks