Charlie Herron still sounds surprised that so many people take time and effort to go to his book launches. That’s one of the most refreshing things about the local author who has captivated Derry audiences with his cheeky character Dickie McCauley.
On Thursday evening, at Derry’s Central Library, the former Foyle View Principal was the toast of over 140 guests who turned out to celebrate the launch of his second novel, detailing the exploits of fictional rogue Dickie McCauley in the Rosemount of the 1940s.
“It was a marvellous night and a great atmosphere,” Charlie told the Sunday Journal afterwards.
“We had a big family turnout and members of the Colmcille Debating Society and many local people who just have an interest in the book and the character.”
Charlie, who wrote his entire manuscript by hand, before it was word processed by his daughter Mary, still has no desire to transfer his craft electronically but hasn’t ruled out his pen finding the words ‘Dickie McCauley’ for a much anticipated third chapter of the popular story.
“McCauley’s War was met with such good reaction and if ‘The Trouble with McCauley’ is the same who knows, Dickie could be on the rampage again and we could have a trilogy on our hands,” he laughs.
If initial reviews are anything to go by, there is definitely an appetite for more of the same, as Charlie explains.
“The morning after the launch I was already getting phonecalls from people saying they couldn’t put the book down, so that’s great.”
Charlie believes a key element to the book’s success is the familiar setting.
“I’m happy that I’ve been able to document a part of Rosemount that really doesn’t exist anymore,” says the affable local writer.
“Many people have remarked about that historical context of the novel. While the characters are entirely fictional, the places are very real.”
Charlie has paid tribute to his grandchildren Aideen, Niall, Adam and Clare who are responsible for the artwork in the book and says he has “profound gratitude” to his daughter Clare and his other children. He’s also singled out his wife Margaret for praise.
“She continues to inspire and support me when the need arises and who never complains of my frequent - self imposed but necessary seclusions.”
The Trouble with McCauley is published by Guildhall Press and available from local bookshops and at www.ghpress.com