TEENAGE days spent in West Cork were a big influence on a new mystery thriller written by Anne Callanan, who spent her formative years living in Clonakilty.
Dominic’s Park is the debut novel from the former West Cork resident, who now splits her time between home in Wicklow and the Caribbean island St Kitts, where her husband works.
It follows the story of a man whose son disappears and who is then forced to come to terms with the unfairness of life, and how decisions always have consequences.
Despite leaving years ago, Anne regularly visits her sister in Ring and has fond memories of her time in West Cork.
‘I think everything in your life influences your writing,’ said Anne. ‘I think in Clonakilty that whole artistic vibe you get down there rubbed off on me when I was younger.’
That influence continues to play a part.
‘When you’re imagining scenes and you’re thinking of describing things, and you’ve got all that beautiful scenery and the towns and people – you do go back to those things when you’re trying to pull from your imagination.’
Writing wasn’t always close to Anne’s heart, but wanting a more flexible career, along with the challenges brought during various lockdowns led to her looking towards her creative side.
‘I did an online writing course for 25 quid and got some good feedback from that,’ she said of her first foray into writing. ‘Then I thought I’d challenge myself and see if I can actually complete a book.’
She did, and the novel draws heavily from Anne’s background in social work, when she grew frustrated with the thinking behind the old adage, ‘you can be anything you want to be if you just try hard enough.’
Anne said she met many people over the years who used the phrase to justify putting others down by saying that people in difficult situations have chosen to be there.
‘It’s always really bugged me,’ she said. ‘I would be talking to people and trying to get them to see the social barriers that exist in society – that’s where the idea came from really.
‘I wanted to write a book where there’s a number of people who can’t succeed in life because circumstances get in the way and it might be because they make bad decisions along the way, or because of those circumstances.’
• Dominic’s Park is available to purchase from Kerr’s Bookshop in Clonakilty, and also from all major online retailers.