Owen Kerrigan – the cantankerous lighthouse keeper of a remote Irish island has been estranged from his only brother Patrick for most of his adult life. His only solace has come from immersing himself in the legend of a long lost treasure belonging to the wreck of a Spanish Armada galleon that is rumored to be hidden beneath his light.
But after tunneling in vain for years, Owen is issued with a sudden eviction notice. In desperation, with only days left to find the gold, Owen begrudgingly asks his brother for help. Hoping it may help to rebuild their relationship after more than thirty years of silence, Patrick reluctantly agrees.
As they attempt to unearth the fortune, Owen becomes increasingly drawn to Ellen, an enchanting descendant of the Pirate Queen – Grace O’Malley, who ruled the island at the time of the Armada.
As Owen’s imminent eviction looms, they race to solve the riddles ingrained in the ancient folklore of the island and realize that Ellen may unwittingly hold a vital clue to finding the treasure. But the rift which kept the brothers apart for so long threatens to thwart both Patrick’s hopes of reconciliation and Owen’s dream of finding the fabled hoard.
Information about the Book
Author: Kirk Weddell
Release Date: 26th November 2019
Genre: Literary Fiction
Page Count: 332
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Favourite Things About My Protagonist
Burying his emotional scar
I wanted to explore the lengths that we go to in a bid to avoid dealing with our emotional scars. Many of us seek help in some form or other whether it be professional counsel or catharsis through conversation with friends and we generally finally find a way through the traumatic event and heal. Unfortunately for Owen the feelings of betrayal and humiliation resulting from his brother Patrick running away with Owen’s fiancé was just too much to bare. He chose a different path; complete distraction to avoid ever having to face up to his devastating emotional rift by opting for a life of solitude as a lighthouse keeper where no one would ask him any uncomfortable questions and where he would be able immerse himself in his work. But even then thoughts of his past continued to gnaw away at his psyche. Desperate for escape he found it in the legend of the long lost treasure of the Spanish Armada galleon – El Gran Grin that was rumoured to be buried on Clare Island and managed to convince himself that it was actually deep under his lighthouse which was built on the site of an ancient watchtower. For the first time in years he found solace as he escaped to another world – one of gold doubloons and adventure.
His obsessive drive was fascinating to explore. An asset in his work as a lighthouse keeper which requires meticulous record keeping and caring for his life saving machinery but when does that obsessive drive start to become unhealthy… all consuming to the point where we become dissociated from our lives. What can possibly trigger us to wake up and drag us back into reality? Owen has cared for the lighthouse as if it was his spouse or child. An almost unhealthy bond. The one reliable constant that has protected and nurtured him for the past 30 years. It is his loving care and attention that has kept the 200 year old lighthouse ticking over every day and night. It’s never faltered once in his hands and never will and what thanks does he get? Eviction by the council when they build a new automatic lighthouse on the north of the island. His two obsessions collide after his tunnel beneath the lighthouse collapses with just days left to finish the dig and uncover the treasure. His only chance of success is to rip the very heart out of his light, the lantern drive mechanism, and fashion it into a huge drill. An impossible choice. Can he sacrifice his light to fulfil his dream?
Owen didn’t just lose his brother but his fiancé as well. The only woman he had ever loved or at least thought he did at the time. After more than 30 years of self-imposed emotional exile what chance could a man in his 60s have of ever being brave enough to find love again? To risk being betrayed and humiliated all over. Yet that desire for love and companionship that burns within us all, that flame that was almost extinguished in Owen, that he had desperately tried to snuff out becomes rekindled forcing him to face up to suppressed feelings and emotions he had long since buried. How does someone that scarred summon the courage to trust someone enough to allow themselves to fall in love again? Try as he might to extinguish the twinkle in his eye, to quell the flutter in his heart, he becomes drawn to Ellen, a descendant of Grace O’Malley who ruled the island at the time of the Spanish Armada. A moth with chard and battered wings who has been so badly burnt by the flame before but can’t resist its allure. Tentatively edging towards it, knowing he may well suffer the same consequence but finding the courage to do it anyway and risk having his heart crushed all over again.
I so enjoyed writing his cantankerous character. Someone who has lived, loved and been hurt enough not to bother with some of the social etiquette that some people find unsettling. He doesn’t want to offend anyone, he’s just done with small talk and so immersed in his own thoughts that he has become impervious to the noise of life. People might judge him and see him as cantankerous, even rude at times but he can’t bare to waist a moment in idle chit chat, after all – he has a treasure chest to unearth and god forbid he was actually drawn into a conversation and someone asked him about his past, his family, why he wasn’t married. Best to keep his head down and plough on through life as he drops the occasional social hand grenade.
Child at heart
Social pressure to conform, to act our age, forces us to suppress the inner child that is buried deep within us all. We all know someone who refuses to conform, who allows their inner child to brighten their day and everyone else’s around them. Owen has that playful, adventurous side, the young boy in him that wants to dig for buried treasure, and play out his childhood fantasies. As he starts to redeem with his brother and they work together to unravel the riddles and clues and get closer to finding the treasure, Owen and Patrick rekindle their childhood personas. Owen remembers what it is like to laugh from the heart, something that he has long since forgotten how to do. To swim naked, dance, sing and feel truly alive. It’s like he had been in a self-induced slumber for a big portion of his life.
It is the seemingly impossible choices in life that really interest me. The ones that change our lives. No clear right or wrong just a fork in the road and we have to decide which way to turn, forcing us to dig deep and try to understand who we are. Every choice we make bringing us a little closer to understanding ourselves.
Kirk Weddell is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker; Brothers is his first novel and is based on his earlier Writers Store Grand Prize winning screenplay. After graduating with a degree in neuroscience, Weddell moved into writing; his science fiction screenplay Alone was shortlisted for the prestigious Oscar Academy Nicholl Fellowship in 2016 and is entering production next year, and his short film Dutch Bird won numerous awards at International Film Festivals. Weddell lives in Wimbledon, South London.