I read this Irish Times article a few days ago about how Irish writers are not setting their books in…Ireland. Odd. I’m a big fan of the Irish setting. Books set in or around the Troubles is even better (Adrian McKinty). I mean, any book that is set in Dublin or Galway, I automatically buy it. It saddens me to discover that *some* Irish writers don’t care to set their books in Ireland. John Connolly is quoted as saying:
“As a young writer,” Connolly wrote in his essay contribution to 2011’s Down These Green Streets: Irish Crime Writing in the 21st Century, “I could think of few subjects with which I wanted to engage less than the nature of Irishness, or the Irish situation . . . Had I set my first novel, Every Dead Thing (1999), in Dublin, it would have become, by default, an Irish novel, not a crime novel.
And what is wrong with that? Apparently everything:
There are Irish authors who are happy to set their stories at home, of course. But the word filtering down from the higher echelons of the big publishing houses in the US and the UK is that Ireland isn’t a “sexy” enough setting to sustain a commercially successful series. “I used to think like that until Artemis Fowl took off,” says Colfer. “The first Artemis book was set in a single house in Co Dublin, so that kind of blew the ‘non-sexy Ireland’ theory out of the water for me.”
Isn’t sexy enough? I recently read Adrian Mckinty’s post about why his books are so hard to obtain in the US. His novel, Falling Glass was rejected by every major US publisher.
Rejected by every publishing house in America for reasons such as “not commercial enough,” or “too Irish” or “not universal” or “too difficult for an American audience” Falling Glass still has not been published in the USA.
Disappointing and this is what I have to fight against. Publishers speaking for readers like me and you know what? They are wrong especially when it comes to Adrian Mckinty’s books. It is so frustrating when you have people in positions deciding what books are commercial enough or good enough for the US market. I guess I should be happy that Jo Nesbo is here at least *sarcasm*. Yes, I do realize that publishing is a business. I just think about how many books I’ll never read because they are not “commercial enough.” Often I’ve had to exploit loopholes to obtain books that my fellow readers in the mystery community enjoy reading because in the US over half are not even available here in any great abundance. So it depresses me that some Irish writers are reluctant and are discouraged from setting their stories in Ireland. Sad. What do you think?