Lord of the RamsLord of the Rams

Interview with the Author

In this candid interview Ronan Smith, author of Lord of the Rams, speaks exclusively to the Official Lord of the Rams Website (i.e. himself) about the book's development process, the reasons for writing it and why there may never be a sequel.

When did you decide that you were going to write Lord of the Rams and where did the idea stem from?
I can’t honestly recall the moment when I decided that I was going to write this book. I’ve had an interest in writing since a young age. My parents always encouraged me to read and, as a child, I used to devour several books a week; Enid Blyton was a particular favourite. As a result, I enjoyed writing my own short stories at school, and I can recall writing the bulk of an entire book when I was about 12 or 13. Unfortunately, I ended up binning it but I reckon the idea of someday writing a book has been festering ever since.

But why an autobiography? You’re not famous. What makes you think anyone would be interested in reading about your life?
Well they say you should always write about things you know about. And if there’s one thing I know about it’s my own life. I think the book industry has, in some respects, been taken over with ‘chick-lit’ novels and biographies about people who have enjoyed five minutes of fame and done little else. Whilst I’m not claiming Lord of the Rams is going to save the industry or change the world, I think it will appeal to a market that is currently neglected to some extent – i.e. young adult males. Sure it’s an autobiography about an ordinary man but it doesn’t take itself too seriously; Lord of the Rams is primarily a tongue-in-cheek look at growing up in Ireland, and I believe that it will appeal not just to males but also to some females who want to read something that will genuinely entertain them.

When did you start writing the book? Can you describe the development process?
I wrote the first few pages all the way back in January 2003 and then I dropped the project completely for exactly 12 months. I began 2004 with renewed interest, my intention being to complete the book within two years, but that turned into three. I eased the foot off the pedal somewhat in 2007, concentrating in bursts on rewriting a few sections and editing the entire book several times from start to finish. I didn’t manage to sign-off on the final draft until February 2008 but, even as the book was going to print in May, I found myself still making minor tweaks. I guess that's the perfectionist in me, but no book is ever perfect and eventually you just have to draw a line through it and say 'This is it, I'm done'.

Overall though, I really enjoyed the experience. God only knows how much time and effort has been spent not just in writing but also in researching certain sections and ensuring that my level of English was at least somewhat respectable. But now, with the launch date looming on the horizon, I’m looking forward to seeing the culmination of over four years’ hard work come together as a finished book.

How did you come up with the name Lord of the Rams?
When I started the book, I didn’t have a title. I had a few ideas in mind but nothing concrete. Then in the summer of 2004 a friend of mine gave me a t-shirt as a present from a trip he had made to New Zealand. There was a big picture of a Ram’s head on the front with text beneath it saying ‘Lord of the Rams’. Of course I loved it and, given that the main character in the book (i.e. yours truly) is called Rams, I decided that Lord of the Rams would be the perfect title.

And what about the book cover? Where was the thinking behind that?
For the cover I wanted something that epitomised the title of the book – i.e. something ‘Lord-like’. The cover, designed by my friend, Glen McArdle, is based on a photo that was taken of me in China in 2004. Again, like the book itself, the cover is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I think it works really well, but then again I’m perhaps not best placed to judge it.

Finally, what’s next on the horizon? Can we expect a sequel?
Lord of the Rams is set over a 25-year period so, if a sequel were to follow that sort of timeline, I expect I might have something ready by 2033. In all seriousness, I don’t know if there’ll ever be a sequel. Lord of the Rams is the book I’ve always wanted to write. It might not appeal to everyone, but it’s me sharing what I perceive to be some of the funnier—and repeatable—stories from my early life, and I do believe there is an audience for this type of book. However, I don’t know at this point if I could stretch the formula to two books. Having said that, with a bit more travelling under my belt, a humourous round-the-world 'Lord of the Rams' book could be a goer.

Also, I’d like to write something else—not necessarily a book—over the next few years, so watch this space.

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