Why do so many readers tell writer Neil Hegarty that he captured their own family dynamic in his debut novel Inch Levels? Perhaps the burial of past traumas was so common an enterprise in Ireland among a certain generation, it meant many of the next generation grew up absorbing the bleak effects of this silence – the theme of Hegarty’s book. In this month’s Irish Times Book Club podcast, recorded live at the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin, he tells us about the genesis of Inch Levels, a story of family secrecies, difficult dependencies and mutually enforced repressions. The novel has been praised for vividly evoking the wild beauty of the Lough Swilly shoreline – Hegarty, who is from Derry, talks about the importance of using location and landscape to map the mental processes of his characters. He also explains why a forgotten wartime tragedy was the starting point for this book, set between the 1930s and 1980s, tells us about the surprise Brexit interpretation that followed its publication in 2016 and explores the impact that writing fiction has had on his brain.