Interview with Jim Corbett, Author of Not While I Have Ammo.
This novel is based on the Irish Civil War between the 15th and the 20th July 1922, when the Republican-held Strand Barracks in Limerick (on what is now Clancy’s Strand in Ireland) came under constant ferocious attacks from Free State troops. The barracks was attacked repeatedly with armoured cars, and a nonstop bombardment of sniper, machine gun and mortar fire. All attempts to capture the barracks were resisted fiercely by the brave men inside, until the Free State turned an 18-pounder Artillery Gun on the barracks which signalled the beginning of the end of the military assault. The Commanding Officer in charge of the Strand Barracks was called Captain Cornelius McNamara of 'A' Company, 2nd Battalion, Mid-Limerick Brigade, but was known to his men as Connie Mackey. Connie was one of a golden generation of unselfish Irishmen with high ideals who were prepared to risk and endure everything for the sake of their country and countrymen.
Jim Corbett is the grandson of Captain Cornelius McNamara.
Enjoy the interview
AU: Can I start by saying thank you very much for honouring our invitation to this interview Jim?
Jim Corbett: It’s my pleasure
AU: For the benefit of our readers, who is Jim Corbett?
Jim Corbett: I was born and raised in Limerick City, Ireland and came to London in 1988. As a young child I developed a spinal condition called Transverse Mylitis, which left me walking with a cane. This condition slowly deteriorated and left me in a wheelchair several years ago. Despite this I have never let my health problems hinder or stop me achieving I really wanted to do. I love sport especially football and rugby, I am fan of Arsenal in football and in rugby I support London Irish based in Reading and my home town rugby team Munster, which is based in Limerick City.
AU: How was life in Ireland while growing up?
Jim Corbett: Life was very pleasant for me, Limerick City is a small City of about 60,000 people, located in the South West of Ireland. Although it is a small City it is steeped in history with a wide range of historical buildings dating back to the 13th Century.
AU: Tell us about your debut novel which talks about the heroic act of Cornelius McNamara aka Connie Mackey
Jim Corbett: It is a historical biography of my Grandfather, Captain Connie Mackey, set in the turbulent times of the Irish War of Independence and Irish Civil War
AU: When was this novel released?
Jim Corbett: The book was launched in the Strand Hotel in Limerick on March 14 2008, the hotel overlooks the Strand Barracks, where the main story of the book is based.
AU: What inspired you to write this novel?
Jim Corbett: I did not know anything about my grandfather, and so I embarked on a quest to find out more about him. The more information I found out about him, the more I wanted to share his exploits with people. I intended to only share this with my family, but then found I had so much information I should write a book. The history books of that period had overlooked him, and I felt that his story needed to be told. That was my main inspiration to write.
AU: What are some of the more memorable parts of this book to you?
Jim Corbett: While the barracks was under siege, Captain Mackey was telephoning his superiors to advise he was going to surrender the besieged barracks. Unknown to him, he was already in the crosshairs of a sniper who shot at him but missed his head by a hair`s breath, but smashing the telephone handset out of his hand. Captain Mackey turned the bullet from the sniper`s gun into a broach with his fiancées name and the date he was shot. (picture inset).
When my grandfather was leaving Ireland he promised his fiancée he would stay faithful, but when he arrived in New York he met the love of his life. Because he was a man of principle he kept his work and did not persue the other lady, but married his fiancée when he returned to Ireland. When she died shortly a few years after giving birth to my mother, he then married the other lady.
AU: What has the response to this historic eye-opener been like over the past few years in Ireland and the world in general?
Jim Corbett: The response has been fantastic, several historical books published since then have mentioned him and a student in University Limerick has done a thesis on the book. The most remarkable story for me was when the eminent Greek Lawyer Failos Krainidots, a keen student of Irish history, was so impressed with the book which he picked up in a Dublin bookshop that he travelled with his family 123 miles to Limerick to the places mentioned in it.
AU: What is your relationship to Connie Mackey?
Jim Corbett: Unfortunately he died 12 years before I was born, so I never got a chance to see him. The book was an opportunity for me to see what he was like as a man and the high principles he stood up for. After finding all about him, I was with a great sense of pride I was able to share this book with people, so they could see what he was like.
AU: How can people get a hold of your novel i.e. websites, stores, and the like?
Jim Corbett: You can order it direct through my website http://www.conniemackey.com
AU: Do you have a personal website through which people can read a bit more about Connie`s story?
Jim Corbett: http://www.conniemackey.com
AU: Do you have any twitter accounts, facebook or any social media links where fans can connect with you and possibly ask some questions that we might not have touched on here?
Jim Corbett: You can contact me direct on http://www.conniemackey.com
AU: Will there be a follow up to “Not while I have ammo” or is this the work completed?
Jim Corbett: That work is complete, but I am currently working on some comedy scripts at the moment.
AU: Jim, it has been a pleasure having you on our sofa. We look forward to having you on when your next work is complete.
Jim Corbett: Many thanks.
Check out some other pictures below.
Posted on December 26, 2012, in Interviews and tagged Captain Connie Mackey, Captain Cornelius McNamara, free state troops, irish history, jim corbett, limerick, limerick city battalion, not while i have ammo, republican irish army, Strand Barracks limerick. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.