The Damian Daily is hosting today’s blog tour stop for Paul Kilduff, author of the nonfiction bestselling travel book Ruinair. Designed to be an interactive interview, Mr. Kilduff has graciously agreed to check back throughout the day to answer questions from readers. Please feel free to pose questions in the comment section of this post. Participation is encouraged!
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Kilduff has lived and worked in both London and Dublin. He spent much of his time juggling two careers – accounting and writing. The author of four financial thrillers and one nonfiction travel book, he has more than ten years of experience as a writer. His novels include Square Mile, The Dealer, The Frontrunner, and The Headhunter.
Damian: You’ve written several novels and now Ruinair, a nonfiction but humorous travel book. Do you prefer writing fiction or nonfiction? Which flows most naturally for you?
Kilduff: It is easier to write about what you feel most enthused about. Some years ago I worked in the City of London, and I read thrillers and saw lots of scams and double dealing, so it was easy for me to write financial thrillers. More recently I moved back to Dublin and began to travel more in Europe and read more travel books. Then when I was abandoned in a Spanish airport for 10 hours by Ryanair, I had the idea for a nonfiction book. Looking at the two genres, I think in hindsight that writing fiction is like draining a well of imagination which I fear could run dry, but writing nonfiction is now contemporary and easier.
Damian: You worked as an accountant before becoming a writer, and I understand that you still work for a bank even after finding success as a writer. How does balancing a ‘number crunching’ career in accounting enhance or hinder your creative process?
Kilduff: It’s true that I have juggled two careers for a number of years with a full time day job and writing financial thrillers for HodderHeadline in London. I always saw the writing as an extra and as a creative outlet, but the day job paid the mortgage. With the success of Ruinair, this year for the first time I have taken a break from work in order to complete two books under contract with my publisher Gill & Macmillan. I am sure I will miss my day job … sometime soon.
Damian: What advice do you have for other aspiring writers?
Kilduff: I would say: write as often as you can, attend as many writing workshops and classes as you can, read all the books you can in your chosen literary genre and be convinced that your book will be better or at least as good, re-read your work and be critical of it, edit your writing and know that you have made it better and more importantly how you made it better, write because you enjoy writing and not because you wish to make a fortune, stick with writing one book only and don’t move on to a second book until the first book is sold to a publisher, and persevere when it comes to selling your book. And enjoy!
Damian: Having grown up in California, I was exposed to a social and legal system where people tended to drag each other to court and sue over the simplest of offenses. You take bold license with the title of your book, referring to Ryanair as ‘Ruinair’ consistently throughout. Have you received any backlash from the airline as a result?
Kilduff: We have not received any backlash as yet. Ruinair is an accepted slang term in Ireland for Ryanair and it’s almost a term of endearment. We also refer to our national airline Aer Lingussometimes as Aer Fungus. Regarding legal matters, the first draft of the book was read by a leading libel lawyer in Ireland who advised me to removeabout 10 lines in the book, which I did. Also he told us to remove the corporate harp logo in the first draft of the cover. I think that if there was some public legal backlash from Ryanair, it would be counter-productive for the airline itself and great for our book sales, so they won’t do it!
Damian: Do you know if airline CEO Michael O’Leary has read the book?
Kilduff: I do not know, but I expect that he has read some or part of it. He is a busy man! It is well known that he reads everything about his airline in the media. A journalist from the UK Mirror newspaper asked the airline for their view of the book and a spokesman said that ‘they view all books about the airline with total indifference.’ This week I received a letter from Ryanair’s customer service dept (and that’s not a big dept!) which said ‘we hope that you will continue with your wonderful writing which helps to keep us entertained and spreads the gospel of Ryanair’s lowest fares right across Europe.’ Secretly they love the book and I am sure some of my readers buy a flight ticket once they reach the last page …..
Damian: What are your favorite places that you’ve visited? What travel destinations would you most highly recommend?
Kilduff: My favourite places were largely the places where one expects to have a great time — e.g. Barcelona, Venice, Berlin, Athens (that’s the one in Greece not Georgia). The best surprises were places where I expected little but found much — e.g. Seville, San Marino, Carcassonne. The rest of the destinations such as Belgian mining towns and Norwegian herring fishing ports were truly dreadful!
Damian: Have you considered spending time in the U.S. to write a similar book about Southwest Airlines?
Kilduff: That’s a great idea perhaps for book 3. Book 2 is the sequel and is about travelling to 12 countries in eastern Europe, called Ruinairski and due for publication in early 2009. There are some other books out there in the USA about SWA and its rise to 90 million pax pa. It might take an American to write a book about SWA? I have considered trying other low fares airlines in a future book in the US, Asia, India and Middle East. Otherwise LUV here I come!