We’re like peas in a pod. Well, not quite I suppose. For a start, both he and I were certain that people who practised extramarital sex were bound for hell and those who practised it with bisexuals had an especially hot corner reserved for them. For Jeremiah, these rigidly held beliefs were severely tested when he fell in love with a charismatic bisexual girl called Aisling and began to sleep with her. So from then on every moment of his life quickly turned into a crumbling precipice that he could fall from anytime and end up, or rather down, among the damned.
However, what happened during the wake (of the title) and what came after caused him to look again at his absolute principles. It took Colm Herron a lot more time than Jeremiah to begin to question the sexual morality that we Catholics were taught in the Sixties and Seventies. Most Catholics then, men especially, thought of sex as both very desirable and very shameful. And it took Jeremiah quite a while to understand that, in genuine relationships, sex should not be a thing apart but rather a part of the thing called love. For Colm Herron it took much longer.
Added to this was the fact that Aisling was a fiery political activist and Jeremiah was anything but. In fact he was deeply cynical about the motivations of those with strongly held political convictions that he felt could bring bloody revolution and great misery. But Aisling was an idealist whose commitment to personal freedom and civil rights in Ireland and abroad brought her into conflict with the state and Church authorities. I, the author, wavered between the two. And I still haven’t come to a conclusion about, for example, when violence is justified.
(-from an interview with Howlarium's Jason Howell.)
Colm Herron is the author of four novels and numerous essays and articles. He hails from Derry, Northern Ireland, and his newest novel The Wake was released November of 2015.