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The battle for the waterfront

What is your latest book about?

A violent struggle within the Port of New York and New Jersey in the postwar decade; a kind of civil war pitting a dominant cohort of second-generation Irish Americans against a smaller insurgent group that enlisted prominent non-Irish allies from off the waterfront. The leader of the insurgents, John M. "Pete" Corridan, S.J., inspired the classic film "On the Waterfront."

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What is your writing routine? Are there ideal conditions?

I'm a full-time college teacher not a full-time writer. Like most writers with "day jobs," writing time must be found or made. My books are very research-intensive so there are also times when that process takes priority. I created my blog in part to develop a more disciplined writing routine.


What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

I'm much more accustomed to seeking than offering advice, but that experience is also the foundation of my advice! It took me years to learn how valuable is a truly collaborative approach to writing. I was (am) stubborn and did not respond well to criticism. So long as you have a story to tell and know it as yours, there are great benefits in seeking insights of others. Writing can be a lonely process; it pays to surmount that isolation in pursuing the wisdom of others.

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Name three books that are memorable in terms of your reading pleasure.

"Red Hugh: Prince of Donegal," by Robert T. Reilley, "Robert Kennedy: A Memoir," by Jack Newfield, "Dubliners," by James Joyce.


What book are you currently reading?

"Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original," by Robin D.G. Kelley.


Is there a book you wish you had written?

Too many to name


Name a book that you were pleasantly surprised by.

"Girls of Tender Age," by Mary Ann Tirone-Smith.


If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be?

William James.


What book changed your life?

A two-book process; Jack Kerouac, "On the Road," then his "Visions of Cody," which Kerouac considered the authentic version of "Road."


What is your favorite spot in Ireland?

Cork City.


You're Irish if . . .

You need food, clothing, shelter and proximity to a seacoast.