Close to release of new audiobook of the wildly popular “This Is Your Brain on Shamrocks,” which is being piloted for a TV series
Mike Farragher has just released his fifth book, 9 Rooms in Ballyglunin, a collection of short works of fiction set in a B&B in the rural west of Ireland.
Fiona Burke walks away from a lucrative career in law to pursue her dream of opening a bed and breakfast on her estate in Ballyglunin. Each guest inhabiting the 9 Rooms in Ballyglunin checks in at a crossroads in their life and they lean on this mighty Irish woman during their times of intense loss, uncertainty, and rebirth. Fiona carries a dark secret of her own along the way and none of the guests are prepared for what happens next. Buy Book Here!
“My dad’s side of the family is from Ballyglunin, outside of Tuam, and I was visiting my uncle in a B&B because he had sustained fire damage to his home,” Farragher recalls. “I was having tea with the innkeeper, asking her about the place and she said, ‘so many characters come in and out of these rooms from Airbnb, I could write a book someday.’ I replied, ‘you better hurry up before I do!’ I didn’t expect to get an idea for a novel as I was making my way up the driveway but that’s the way inspiration works.”
An Irish American story in the truest sense of the word, Farragher set these characters from scenarios not only from his own life, but also from headlines of both The Tuam Herald and The New York Times. “There was a lot going on at either side of the Atlantic as I was writing this,” Farragher explains. “In and around this part of Ireland, they were reviving their glorious past with the restoration of the Ballyglunin Train Station, one of the sites where The Quiet Man was filmed. At the same time, they were confronting the darkness of their past as Tuam uncovered hundreds of children buried carelessly on the site of an old Catholic run orphanage in a gruesome story that made headlines worldwide. In America, we grappled with things like rising healthcare costs and a caustic political conversation in a relentless news cycle and on a personal level, I watched friends around me dealing with crumbling marriages and the loss of parents this year as well. It all went into this scenery in which I placed these characters, which created stories that are a departure from the more lighthearted things I’ve written recently.”
Farragher is simultaneously releasing the long-awaited audiobook of his wildly popular This Is Your Brain on Shamrocks series, which is comprised of humorous personal essays about growing up Irish, Catholic, and guilty in the swamps of his native New Jersey. “People enjoyed coming to the book signings, where I’d drop the Irish accent of my parents into these stories,” Farragher says. “Many readers were asking for an audiobook version and the process of recording it was a totally new avenue of self-expression. I found my voice all over again in the process!”
The essays of This Is Your Brain on Shamrocks have been the basis of two off-Broadway short plays and are optioned for video treatment; a pilot for a comedy series based on the books will be filmed in Kansas City this spring. “As a novelist, watching characters come to life on stage and now screen has been a surreal thrill,” Farragher enthuses. “My wife and girls had to drag me to Broadway at knifepoint in the past but after an actor friend of mine helped me stage my first play, the theater bug has bitten something fierce! Despite so many choices in movies and on streaming services nowadays, I have yet to see an Irish American family portrayed without some reference to alcoholism or any other manner of ‘plastic Paddy shamrockery.’ I hope to break those stereotypes with an authentic, irreverent take on life that is consistent with the ethos of the ‘Shamrocks’ essays.”
Farragher will launch a book tour in America and Ireland in the spring, including a stop at Booktowne at 171 Main Street in Manasquan, NJ which takes place at noon on March 17. For more information, log onto www.thisisyourbrainonshamrocks.com