Q&A with Author Daragh Fleming,
Author of Lonely Boy
Q: Why did you decide to write this book?
Mental health is important.
I think that’s as simple an answer I can give. This book is a reflection on my own mental health, the ups and downs, the lessons I’ve learned and the mistakes I’ve made. Men in particular have always had a tough time being vulnerable and addressing their mental health problems. This book is a book about a man addressing his own mental health, in the hope that people won’t feel alone in their struggle, and in the hope that they will be able to inspire others to talk openly about their own mental health.
Q: Is the book based on you?
Lonely Boy is a sort of memoir/narrative non-fiction hybrid where I reflect on the last ten years of my life, and try to draw out lessons from some of the more difficult moments of my life. The book begins in 2012 when my best friend died by suicide, and it takes us right up to 2021 during the pandemic. It’s a book about the obstacles and challenges I faced mentally within the last decade. The book talks about what happened, what went wrong, and what I learned about my own wellbeing from it all.
Q: What do you hope will come from others reading it?
I hope the book will help readers to understand that everyone deals with some sort of battle, and that they are not alone in theirs. The book is a raw and honest take on the mental journey I’ve taken as a man. It addresses the more flawed aspects of my character and the long process of accepting them and learning to live with them. The hope is that readers will find solace in truth that we are flawed on some level, and that it is important that we forgive ourselves for these flaws.
Q: What’s the most important lesson or message readers will get from it?
Self-acceptance. Writing this book was therapeutic for me as much as I felt it would be helpful for others. The book recants a journey 0f self-reflections. It’s the story of looking oneself in the mirror and getting to place where you can accept all parts of yourself – both the good and the bad. That’s probably the most important message conveyed in this book.
Q: What lessons have you learned so far in your writing?
Writing for yourself is key. I think a younger me got caught up in writing what I thought other people would want to read. The work becomes flat and uninspired when you do that. Writing for yourself makes the work more real, and it that sense, it makes the work more relatable anyway. The other lesson writing has taught me is persistence. We often give up just before we’re about to ‘make it’. Sticking with it, regardless of the failures, or the rejections or the time it takes, is always so incredibly worthwhile.
Q: Did writing this book change your life in any way?
Writing this book gave me the opportunity to resolve many things in my life which I had ignored and buried. It allowed me the space and compassion to accept myself for who I am. Lonely Boy is a reflection on some of the hardest parts of my life, and so it has changed my life by allowing me to work through these issues and use them to help other people.
Q: Advice to anyone sitting at home, saying I would like to publish a book?
If the fire is in your heart to write, then write regardless of the outcome. Write because you need to write rather than because you won’t some arbitrary version of success. Take it a day at a time. Write when you can, and never force it. You’ll know yourself that you want to write a book, and if that desire is within you then nothing on this planet will be able to stop you. Write and write and never take the rejections personally – because the rejection will come often in the beginning. And remember above all else, you like writing! Enjoy the process as much as will enjoy the outcome.