Author Paddy Hirsch Introduces His Critically Acclaimed Debut Novel ‘The Devil’s Half Mile’
We’re delighted to welcome author Paddy Hirsch to the Eason blog to introduce us to his debut novel, ‘The Devil’s Half Mile’, a gripping tale of historical fiction set against the backdrop of New York in 1779, as the city is overrun with crime and is also caught in the grip of its first financial crisis.
The Devil’s Half Mile was originally a non-fiction project. I wanted to write a racy history of the New York Stock Exchange. After a few months, though, I found I was doing a lot of research and very little writing, and none of it was racy in the least.
I wanted to keep my hand in on the creative side, so while I was ploughing my way through letters and history books, I began writing a kind of sidebar to the book, a small murder mystery based around the Irish immigrant experience in post-Revolutionary War New York. It wasn’t long before the sidebar took over.
I was interested in writing about the first wave of immigrants, those who escaped oppression at home, only to find themselves discriminated against, socially and professionally in New York. They had the wrong religion, which blocked them from government appointments and entry to University. They were regarded as comparable to the freed slaves with whom they had to fight for work.
Like every city, New York had always had a seamier side, but the Irish began to dominate and organize it. Fortunately for them, America had dispensed with most of its laws when they got rid of the King. As wealthy New Yorkers were finding creative ways to squeeze money out of people up on Wall Street, so the Irish were doing the same thing, a half mile down the hill on the waterfront.
The Devil’s Half Mile tells that story.
You can buy “The Devil’s Half Mile” at Easons.com