Episode 32: Conor Bredin | Renaissance Nerd (Part 1)


On this week’s dose of book recommendations, library love, and literary enthusiasm, our guest is Conor Bredin. He’s an American-Irish author, podcaster, primary school teacher, and all around renaissance nerd. We talked so much that I’m actually going to bring you the second half of our conversation next week! This week you get to know Conor and his reading and writing, and next week you get to hear us swap book recommendations. It’s a great time.

Conor's Website | The Longest Night book | Story of a Storyteller Podcast | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook 

@ Library.Laura come find and follow me on Instagram! 

Here's the Book List  all the books from today's episode on Bookshop.org 

2020 Gift Guide - This is the blog post I did just for you, with a bunch of gift ideas that I've personally loved or have friends who do. Be sure to check out the Advent reading books,  because Advent (can you believe it) starts on November 29th!!  

Conor Bredin, Author and Guest on the Library Laura Podcast 

Scrivener: Get your words out.


(In this blog I do use affiliate links, which means I get compensated if you make a purchase through my links. thanks for your support!) 

Conor introduced himself as a renaissance nerd, which I think perfectly sums up his enthusiasm for many different passions, such as teaching, acting, gaming, reading and writing. 

Check out Conor Bredin's book debut novel The Longest Night and his free novella, The Stolen Dagger, which takes place in the same universe, but can be read separately

The Longest Night is set in Ireland and includes some landmarks along journey. Our three characters are trying to understand the strange things that are happening thanks to The Occultist, and learn to trust each other. One of the landmarks that Conor specifically mentioned is New Grange, which has a special chamber that is only illuminated by the sun on the longest night of the year -- the winter solstice. 

New Grange, one of the historic sites in Ireland that play an important part in The Longest Night

Conor is working on a children's fantasy novel, which is in its first draft currently. He is focusing on what it's like when kids have to grow up and it's not something to be afraid of, which he describes as an "anti-Peter Pan" tale. He also plans sequels to The Longest Night in the future. 

Conor was named after a character in Trinity by Leon Uris. He explained that his parents were convinced that he was a girl before birth (who would be named Anna), so they hadn't bothered come up with a boy's name. When he was born, Trinity was the book his father had just read, and they decided to name him Conor! We suppose he was "cursed to be a reader immediately." 

We talked about his childhood love of reading, which developed early. He was already reading by the time he was about 4 years old, and remembers helping other children at school to sound out words alongside the teacher. We reminisced about books on tape with the beep to tell you turn the page, books with buttons to push for sound effects, and Disney movies. 

Conor will read just about anything he can get his hands on, as long as it is good. (More about that on next week's episode!) His main requirement is that someone else has read it and enjoyed it, so recommendations are super important to him. He enjoys physical books, as well as audiobooks. He also is loving his new wireless bluetooth headphones, which allow him to get in even more listening time on podcasts and audiobooks when he's on the go. 

He especially like science fiction and fantasy because by showing something fantastical we can learn something mundane. One of his favorite books is Flowers for Algernon, which involves a science experiment to make a man more intelligent. It has a unique character and a deep sense of loss, with both a fantastical element and good heart. That's part of what Conor looks for in a good book. 

We talked a bit about how Conor's own podcast, A Story of A Storyteller, got started. Three major things contributed to its creation. He credits his exceptional curiosity (or nosiness?) as being part of why he makes a good interviewer. He just wants to know everything about everybody! He also learned, partially from an interaction with author Mario Dell'olio (author of Coming About)  that he is able to ask thought provoking and interesting questions.  then there was his friend Chris Agett who tweeted, "How am I always the podcast host and never the guest?" which was one of the last pushes Conor needed to actually get his podcast started. 

On each episode he talks with people who write stories with beginning, middle, end, and they HAVE stories with a beginning, middle, and to be continued. He interviews authors about their lives. He just finished season 1, and season 2 is going up in January. 

Writing has always been a part of his life. He remembers writing a first book on printer or A4 pages as a small child, and then being upset when he folded and stapled it and it came out wrong. He also loved putting on "plays" for his mother. Later in school, he would sometimes end up writing a story or something creative in lieu of doing homework. 

But what really started his writing journey a few years ago was when his partner had a stroke at age 33. That really caused them both to reexamine their priorities and was a big scare. While they were doing this, Conor kept saying "when I'm a writer," and his partner said, "You keep saying 'when I'm a writer' but you never write!" He felt like he didn't have time to write, but he's made it a priority and has carved out time for it. 

When it comes to writing, Conor is certainly a planner (not fly-by-the-pants) when it comes to plot. He has an 11-page plan/outline (over 6,000 words) for his children's book! He listens to particular sound tracks on his headphones, which are mostly from video games, while he is writing different scenes. "And then I write like the blazes." 

What are you currently reading? 

Guardian Angels and Other Monsters by Daniel H Wilson: It's a collection of short stories, of which he really appreciated the one about the physicist trying to get home to be with his daughter before the world ends. 

Deep: The Climb of Truth  which is by a friend of his named Christopher Agett. 

"Generally the further I am into a book, the faster I read it."

Other Books and Authors Mentioned on the Episode 

Coming About by Mario Dell'orio was Conor's first recommendation to me. 

Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb - the book Conor quoted when talking about "not having enough time" for something versus "that isn't a priority." Conor started writing again because he made it a priority and then found the time. Usually he writes for between 15 minutes and an hour before he leaves for his full-time job as a primary school teacher. In the summer, he uses his time that's not otherwise spent on chores or social obligations to write a lot as well. 

Halo Scot's books and website - one of Conor's recent guests on the Story of a Storyteller podcast, who refers to herself as a Renaissance Soul. This is part of the inspiration for Conor dubbing himself a Renaissance Nerd. 

Conor quoted Joanna Penn, saying to "trust emergence"  when we were talking about books to read. He was explaining that according to Joanna, if it came up once, it will come up again. 

Don't forget to find and follow Conor on social media and to grab a copy of his book for yourself or a friend! Come back next week for all the book recommendations we swapped! 

Conor's Website | The Longest Night book | Story of a Storyteller Podcast | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook  

Until next time, with lots of literary love from my library to yours! 

~Laura 


Comments

  1. Thanks so much for having me on your show Laura, it was an absolute blast! Listening now and I forgot how much we laughed, a great sign!

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Laura is an avid reader who is happiest when surrounded by books, tea, blankets and/or friends. Host of the Library Laura Podcast.

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