Interview – Marcella O Connor for Black Laces

5# Black Laces  Marcella O Connor 


Look at that topless man on the cover. It’s almost racy.


You should have seen the cover we almost used, which featured that same man, swooning across a reek of turf like some sort of bog Harlequin Novel.


So why did you as a straight, married mother write from the perspective of a gay man?


I think everyone who has ever lived in a small town has experienced small town politics and the way the realities of small town gossip can combine with internal paranoia and one hand washes the other. I think everyone experiences social isolation, either real or imagined or both, at some point. So I wanted to amplify that and explore it and making my protagonist gay was the most obvious way to do it.


What gave you the idea about writing a book about a gay footballer when, at the time of the writing, there were no out-of-the-closet GAA stars?


I had a phase where I fell in with this group of young men, many of them athletes, and had a chance to observe them. I listened to the kinds of things they would say behind each other’s backs and realised that the stereotypes were off and men are actually bitchier than women. I was also struck by their casual homophobia. They would get up to all kinds of things that could be considered homoerotic, and then they would swing around a few homophobic remarks to make it OK. I would find myself thinking, “What if one of these lads actually is gay and can’t come out of the closet because of this homophobic culture?”

Do you think Kerry people are too conservative for a footballer to come out of the closet?


No. I think Kerry people are ready to accept any athlete who would come out of the closet.  The fact that a Cork hurler (Donal Og Cusack) was able to come out as gay before any English soccer player just goes to show that Ireland has its own rules and doesn’t have to wait for change to happen elsewhere first.


Really? Wasn’t [former English footballer] Justin Fashanu gay?


Shut up. Though in that case, he wasn’t exactly well-received, was he? His own brother publicly disowned him, and other players spoke out against him. And since then no one else has come out.


Ok, what about Year Zero? Why did you join?

Year Zero is a cult. I joined as a way of getting past the bouncers outside of exclusive night clubs. When they stop me, I say, “I’m in Year Zero.”   They ask, “Are those the people who built that compound in Texas and won’t pay their taxes and call the outside world Babylon?” “Yes,” I reply and they are overcome with an awed look before they let me in.

 Are you friends with any other collectives?

I know a lot of collectives. I often get invited to the hottest collective parties, which are so underground and hip, that I can’t name them.

Should I buy this book?


No. Download it for free on And leave a nice comment while you’re at it!


And what if I’m a homophobic, bitchy Gaelic footy player?


Then leave a homophobic, bitchy comment.

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