Ferguson’s 7 Questions With… Brendan O’Connell
Not long ago we had the artist behind Death’s New Lease on Life answering. Well we like writers too here at 7 questions so here’s Brendan O’Connell.
What was the first comic work you did that was published?
I used to write single-panel cartoons that ran in a number of publications such as The Shiznit and, very briefly, The Village. Death’s New Lease On Life, though, is my first proper comic.
What is the biggest thing you have learned since that book?
Not specific to this, and everyone’s heard it before, but the one piece of advice every writer should listen to – if you think of something, write it down. Write it in a notebook, on the back of a beermat, in a text message. Scrawl it on the bathroom wall in toothpaste, if you have to. You will forget it if you don’t. We all hear it all the time and we all still forget it to do it. So we have to keep saying it to each other. Because apparently even writing it down doesn’t seem to work on this one.
What’s your process for writing a comic book?
I get a first line, or first panel, or first whatever, and I run with it until I hit a wall. Then I go back and try again, jealously protecting all the bits I like the most, until I hit a wall again. And then I go back and try again, being a little less protective, until I hit a wall again. And I keep on at it like that until the walls become less frequent and less insurmountable. It’s not a process I’d recommend to anyone. Seriously.
What is the biggest influence on your work?
Television, if I’m honest. I could reel off a list of worthy cultural reference points but, in truth, it’s infinitely more likely that I’m taking my cue from an episode of Garda Patrol, that I watched as a cross-legged and wide-eyed child, than anything of artistic merit.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a novel/novella, that I should have given up on a very long time ago, and a follow-up/spin-off to Death’s New Lease On Life that Fiona Boniwell will be illustrating.
What do you out now or coming out next?
Death’s New Lease On Life. About the Grim Reaper. And penguins. It’s in some good bookshops now. And available at the website.
What is your favourite Irish comic?
Mister Amperduke. Assuming we still count Bob Byrne as Irish.