Getting to know himself and human nature in collection of short stories

A BOOK of short stories by a local writer is being launched this month.

A BOOK of short stories by a local writer is being launched this month.

Thomas Kiernan’s book Someone I Never Knew will be launched on April 14 at 8pm in Langton’s ballroom.

A native of Longford, he has lived in Kilkenny for about 25 years and is a member of the Kilkenny Writers Group.

He has been writing for most of his adult life, from short stories and novels to poetry. He also published an autobiographical work about 10 years ago.

Of this collection, he explains: “The title story sets a theme that is common to them all: a discovery of oneself or someone close to you at a crucial moment.”

Having worked as a taxi driver, he says he has collected plenty of material from that and other aspects of his life.

“I go for amusing situations; it’s not all heart-breaking stuff,” he says.

A couple of the stories have Kilkenny as a backdrop but the majority “could be set anywhere,” he says.

Mr Kiernan also says he doesn’t follow the “good guy, bad guy” line of thinking. “I think everybody has a touch of good and bad about them. Some people show the bad predominately and others the good, but people are mostly a mixture of the two, depending on what situation you’re in.”

This sense of humanity and understanding come across in his stories, he says, and in his experience, the act of writing has brought a clearer understanding of other people and also himself.

It’s something he picked up from his father.

“He was a big fellow so he could go into awkward situations and get away with it, but he had great respect for people and he could handle it,” the writer recalls. “He was very decent to people who didn’t always deserve it. He would say, ‘God’s creatures’.”

He also feels that writing and storytelling are common to all people in various forms.

“I think we all write in different ways. You don’t necessarily put it down on the page,” he says. “Most human activity is storytelling – sitting at the counter telling yarns, that is what people have always done.”

And as for happy endings, he says he doesn’t shy away from them as some writers might.

“I think it’s what people want – most people want a happy ending in their own life,” he says. “I think putting some kind of sum total on a story or some kind of resolution ... would be what most people subscribe to.”

All are welcome to attend the launch.