Alan Cooke has been an actor writer and film maker since the 90′s. He was born in Ireland and moved to New York in 2001 for 5 years. He left Ireland with just a suitcase and a small amount of money to arrive in a city four weeks after it had been devastated by 9-11. This was to have a profound impact on his life and work. During his time in New York he walked over ten thousand miles along every avenue, street and borough. He was reshaped over and over again by his extraordinary encounters with the millions of souls in the world’s greatest city.
What is the name of your book and if you had to sum up a description in 40 words or less, what would you say? Naked In New York is a memoir about my journey as an Irish Immigrant in a post 9-11 New York landscape. It is my reflections both personal and observational on all of the experiences I had during my time in the city. It is a literary deeply transformational journey along the avenues and dense streets of the greatest city on earth.
Where did you get your idea for your book? The idea came from having so many intense experiences from the moment I stepped off the A train that took me from JFK to Penn Station with a suitcase and a myriad of emotions and sensations swirling inside me. All was unveiled soon enough. The city was devastated. The people were in shock. And here I was bound by so many others. Millions of new faces and the dreamers losers and ordinary lives that thronged the streets. A long way from Ireland. I kept a diary and as time went by the experiences built. It was like a tapestry. I was following the threads of my imagination and my footsteps. It was impossible to hold it in. So it exploded into words. Like a nuclear bomb of feelings and poetic insights. Naked in New York though was not finished until I left New York and went back to Ireland. I could gather the threads of my experience and form the book.
Is your book part of a series? Actually I did a follow up. I believe in archetypal mythology. I came back to Ireland and took another odyssey so to speak. This one around my own country. I felt detached and alienated. I had brought so much back with me. I was changed and yet the same. But I had to unveil the layers of my experiences and find my way home again. So the follow up book: The Spirit of Ireland an odyssey is a follow up.
When did you publish this book? I created a full audio version of the book which I released through my own publishing company Wild Irish Poet Publications. As well as being a writer I am an Emmy winning Film Maker and Actor. I create all my own book trailers and films. And I also narrate works for others. So making the audio of my own book was an obvious choice. I pushed the book out to a lot of people in New York. I had two big literary agents in New York but nothing happened. So I decided to get the book out there now as an Ebook. There is a massive electronic revolution happening in publishing. I have met many highly successful people in the Indy publishing world who are striking it alone. Amazon and others give you a huge platform, more control and more ability to create your own brand. This is unheard of 10 years ago. So I am moving in that direction now.
What is the most important thing about your book you would like to share with potential readers? I believe my book is a return to more literary works. A lot of modern books do not seem to care about style or language. I cannot write ‘commercially’ I would love to. I have written a thriller I believe is commercial but we will see. As I said my book is poetic prose and I think literary and it flows like a giant poem of New York. I hope the readers will share in the moment to moment life of my existence in the city during that time. I feel writing should not just entertain but inform the soul. It should be like food. It should open a door in a person. I hope my book achieves that.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? Discipline. To actually get to the end. To believe that you have something to say and you are worthy of saying it. I have little ego when it comes to thinking I am special. After a lot of rejections and hard struggles I would be happy to have gotten the book out to the world. Finishing is the art in a way. The rest is down to the Gods!
What is your next writing project? Well as I said. I have finished two other books. I hope they can be successful. I also want to write a book about an odyssey across America and one around Paris.
What formats is your book available in: eBooks, Paperbacks? Naked in New York is available on audio download on my own website and hopefully by the time people read this on Amazon E book kindle as well and sometime this month on Print on Demand.
Where can readers find you?
What is your name and where are you located? Alan Cooke , based in Ireland
Do you write under a pen name? On Facebook I go under Wild Irish Poet
What books have influenced your writing? Henry Miller, Kerouac, Joyce , and Yeats ( the heavyweights).
What inspired you to first write? As an Actor I adore words. So writing them was always a close second. I believe expression is innate in mankind. The will to turn ideas and art into reality. That is how dreams were built into cities like New York and how the world was created. It all comes from imagination and art is the bridge. I was born to create and I cannot change my nature. I love switching genres from acting to films to writing. Writing is beautiful because so little is needed, but yet so much of the soul and emotion.
What have you learned the most about being a writer/author? That words change the world. Words have power. Worlds change lives and can cause revolutions. It’s a beautiful thing to write and does not matter if you are a ‘professional writer’ or a man writing to his lover from behind a prison cell. Words can give you freedom. Make a fortune. Heal old wounds and help transform millions of lives. So that is what I have learned. Do not underestimate the power of words and the responsibility that goes with creating them.
Do you see writing as a career? Yes. Actor. Writer. Film Maker. All are difficult but I have traversed all three art forms. It is a tough business. But what isn’t in these dark times?
Is there an Author that you would really like to meet? All are dead sadly. But I can meet them in their books and their influence. That is the beauty of words. They never die. So I travel through the works of all the greats to keep my hopes and dreams alive.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Yes. Finish. The rest is fate.
What is the one most important thing others should know about you? That I believe in artists changing the world. These are such hard times but I still think the artists dream up our hopes, our futures, our salvation. I do not take it lightly. And I think fundamentally we can create massive change with our work. And will. We are needed more than ever. To console. To inspire. To elevate.