'That's That': Colin Broderick Discusses Being a Kid Amid 'The Troubles'

The following is a transcript taken from the LIVE members' chat hosted here at TheWildGeese.com on Monday, June 17th with County Tyrone native (and fellow Wild Geese member), Colin Broderick, right.  Among Colin's work are his memoirs, "Orangutan," and "That's That," his latest release.  Some editing has been applied for clarity.

The Wild Geese We're pleased to see so many members in the live chat room for today's chat ... you're all very welcome.  We're excited to have with us today Colin Broderick -- author,  County Tyrone native, and fellow member of The Wild Geese.  Welcome, Colin!

Colin F Broderick:  Hi everyone, nice to be here. Thanks for having me along.

Kelly O'Rourke Hi!

Colin F Broderick:  Hi Kelly.

Dennis Driscoll:  hello Colin

Gerry Regan:  Colin, I've been looking forward to this opportunity for weeks now. Failte!

Colin F Broderick:  Failte.

Ryan O'Rourke Hi, Colin! Thanks for being here!

Rob Hi, Colin... loved your book.

Colin F Broderick:  Thank you very much Rob.

The Wild Geese:  First question?

Dennis Driscoll:  What year did you move to NYC?

Colin F Broderick:  I moved to NYC in 1988 after two years in London. I was 20 when I arrived.

Dennis Driscoll:  Wow, a youngster :)

Colin F Broderick:  Just a cub, Dennis.

Gerry Regan:  Wondering, Colin, how your ma and da and siblings feel about "That's That."  Do they like the way they are portrayed?  It's always a ticklish question when writing a memoir, I'd think.

Colin F Broderick:  My parents are adjusting to the new book. It's difficult for an Irish family to have anything written about what goes on inside the house.   But they are very supportive and we have a great relationship, so I think they trust that I have the family's best interest at heart.

Gerry Regan:  LOL, I can imagine.  Will they be showing up at any signings with you in Belfast or Dublin?

Colin F Broderick:  I don't have any readings planned on that side of the pond as yet.

Kelly O'Rourke:  Colin, From the excerpt of "That’s That," I notice that you give a good bit of background and explanation to your story. As you were writing did you see those of us outside Ireland as your primary audience?

Colin F Broderick:  Good question Kelly. Yes, I was very aware of the American audience. I knew I had an opportunity to explain Northern Ireland and I wanted to make sure it was clear for everybody.  My editors at Random House were American obviously so that really helped me formulate a clear picture for the American reader, it took me a few years to get it right.

Eamon Loingsigh:  Hello Colin, congrats on your new book. Can ye get me a job in NY on a site? lol

Colin F Broderick:  Yes, Eamon. I have a shovel with your name on it.

Eamon Loingsigh:  Looking forward to a good read there. Are you doing any readings in the city soon?

Colin F Broderick:  I just did one at Barnes and Noble in Tribeca and I will be doing another in The Bronx on the 28th. You can follow me on Facebook, of course, at Colin F. Broderick for details. I will try to post them here, too, obviously.

Dennis Driscoll:  At An Beal Bocht?

Colin F Broderick:  Yes Dennis, at An Beal Bocht, one of my favorite places.

Rob:  Colin, I've read both your books; I'm curious if I should recommend that my friends read "That's That" first -- and then Orangutan? Silly question, I suppose.

Colin F Broderick:  That's a question I get asked a lot, Rob. It's a good question. If it were me, I would begin at the beginning with "That's That" but I have heard from people who enjoyed the experience of going backwards, too.

Rob:  I always enjoy going backwards.

Ryan O'Rourke:  Colin, tell us just a small bit about your hometown, Altamuskin, in Tyrone.

Colin F Broderick:  I grew up in the countryside about 3 miles from Sixmilecross, about 10 miles from Omagh in County Tyrone. If you put your finger right in the middle of a map of northern Ireland you would squash our house.

Kelly O'Rourke:  ha!

Kelly O'Rourke:  How has the atmosphere changed in the North since you were a kid? When you go back, do you still feel tension?

Colin F Broderick:  Another good question, Kelly. I have been back and I find that the tension has not been fully resolved. So much communication needs to take place and I don't think there is enough of that happening yet.

Gerry Regan:  Sheila Mullins seems to me one of the great characters of your life's story. How is she doing?
Understand I've only read 13 pages. Hope she fares well. :-)

Kelly O'Rourke:  No spoilers!

Colin F Broderick:  Sheila is gone from us at this point. She was a great character. A memorable woman.

Gerry Regan:  And very vividly drawn, I must say. Who will portray her in the film version? Not a glamorous role -- hey, how about Kate Winslet? Cate Blanchett, I mean, with some seriousness.

Colin F Broderick:  Sheila as an actress. I'll have to think about that one. It's an interesting thought.

Eamon Loingsigh:  I had a professor at the University I went to in the States say that the main problem in Northern Ireland was religion. Your take, Colin?

Colin F Broderick:  I think religion is only one symptom of the problem. The real problem I think is communication, and when I talk about communication I mean emotional communication. People still are not delving into the emotional self enough as yet. That's where the real answers are I believe.

Eamon Loingsigh:  Well, I was hoping ye sent Ian Paisley on to the wolves.

Colin F Broderick:  The wolves wouldn't have him.

Dennis Driscoll:  Ha

Dennis Driscoll:  Have you been approached about film versions of your work?

Colin F Broderick:  I have been offered a deal or two but so far I am holding the rights to both books. I want to make sure it's done properly. I may write the screenplay myself.

Kelly O'Rourke:  Are your books absolutely factual, or did you find the need to embellish or change anything to get a good narrative?

Colin F Broderick:  The books are factual. I actually found myself toning down the stories in "Orangutan," because some of them were too crazy to believe. Truth is much stranger than fiction I find.

Dennis Driscoll:  I know that feeling, about toning things down.

Colin F Broderick:  And writing about Northern Ireland, I really had to make sure it was spot on with the truth because I knew I would have a lot of people out to hang me if I tried to fudge the facts. It had to be true. All the events talked about in the news bulletins are factual also and set in an exact timeline.

Rob:  What do you make of America's obsession with our Irish heritage?

Colin F Broderick:  I love that so many are interested in their heritage. It makes total sense to me especially as I get a little older. The narrative of who we are and where we come from is a very real part of who we are now. It's natural to want to know as much as possible.

Dennis Driscoll:  Have you done many readings in Ireland, Colin?

Colin F Broderick:  I have not done any readings in Ireland yet. I look forward to that nervously.

Dennis Driscoll:  They will love you!

Gerry Regan:  Colin, what is the Unionist tradition like in the vicinity of your hometown? Is there an Orange Order lodge anywhere near Altamuskin? Did you ever have a decent discussion with a Loyalist partisan in your first 20 years?

Colin F Broderick:  Yes there is an Orange lodge outside Beragh and, no, I never had a conversation with anyone from the Order before I was 20, or since, to my knowledge.

Belinda Evangelista Any thoughts on the Obama visit this week, Colin?

Colin F Broderick:  Hi Belinda. I don't know what to think about that whole G8 thing. Something about it makes me uneasy. I didn't like the way they were trying to clean up the towns to look less poor. Brushing the truth under the rug.

Belinda Evangelista:  Good point.

Dennis Driscoll:  Sort of reminds me of what was done in the '80s in NYC when they tried to make abandoned buildings look inhabited.

Jim Curley Someone told me that the Irish of the 1980 came to America angry -- a factor of a good education versus no job prospects at home along with tight immigration laws here. How angry were you about those conditions?

Colin F Broderick:  I was a very angry young man. And all those factors played into it, Jim. I have since educated myself and delved into a little self help to tame some of the demons and am feeling a little less heavy these days.

Rob:  Most of the news we get here is about the Republic and the way people are struggling -- are things in the North hard as well these days?

Colin F Broderick:  I was in the North four and a half years ago when the axe fell on the economy and I can tell you first hand it is way worse than people realize.

Gerry Regan:  Colin, what did you think of Jimmy Smallhorne's film "Two By Four" and its depiction of the hazards of working construction in the city in that period?

Colin F Broderick:  Interesting question, Gerry. Jimmy is a friend of mine. There are parts of the movie that were amazing, but I don't think he captured the whole construction scene in an accurate way. He did capture a version of it, and my hat is off to him for it. He's a huge talent. Gifted.

Jim Curley:  Congratulations, I know that wasn't easy.  Colin, are those two boys still tossing the ball over the wall to each other? What a great physical reminder of the way things were.

Colin F Broderick:  The boys are grown. I was one of them. Nothing much seems strange to a kid. Much of what happens seems normal at the time.

Colin F Broderick:  Sissy Spacek as Sheila.

Gerry Regan:  Interesting casting, indeed. Who'd portray you?

Colin F Broderick:  I get asked that quite a bit. Michael Fassbender would do it justice I'm sure. My buddy Josh Brolin does a mean Northern Irish accent, also.

Ryan O'Rourke:  Justin Bieber? :-)

Colin F Broderick:  Ha. Yes Justin. Perfect.

Gerry Regan:  For adult Colin, I like that Irish actor, with dark, chiseled looks that seems to be working all the time, whether in film or on Broadway. Can't recall his name though.

Colin F Broderick:  Cillian Murphy

Dennis Driscoll:  See you on the 28th, Colin.

Colin F Broderick:  You got it, Dennis. Thanks for the chat.

Dennis Driscoll:  Thank you.

Jim Curley:  As long as we're mentioning it, any movie prospects?

Colin F Broderick:  The movie will happen when all the ducks align., or should I say when the "geese" align.

Gerry Regan:  Colin, thank you for the opportunity to get to know you and your work a bit better. Look forward to continuing the process within The Wild Geese community.

Ryan O'Rourke:  Thanks so much, Colin!

The Wild Geese:  This has been great. We want to thank our special guest, Colin Broderick, for his time today. And thanks to all who submitted questions. We'll announce the lucky winners of "That's That" soon. Keep an eye out for that and our next LIVE members' chat.

Colin F Broderick:  I am honored to have been a part of this chat. Thank you all so much, and, if you want to, friend me on Facebook. Farewell and all the best everyone.

Gerry Regan:  Go raibh mile maith agat!

The Wild Geese:  Oíche mhaith, gach duine! (Goodnight, everyone!)

 

For further reading / viewing:

Talking 'Galway Stories' with Readers Across the Globe

Colin Broderick at Lincoln Center (2012)

'That's That' by Colin Broderick -- Official Book Trailer

Discussion on The Boston College Tapes

 

 

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Tags: Catholics, Colin Broderick, Diaspora History, Faith, Family, History, Irish Freedom Struggle, Literature, Northern Ireland, Tyrone, More…United States

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