Ireland AM presenter Simon Delaney has told the Ray D'Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio 1 that he wrote his first novel during the first Covid-19 lockdown and is now "re-editing and rewriting" the book.

"I made use of the time," he told the host.

"I'm not the kind of person, as you well know, who will sit still until eight o'clock at night [whispers] and I get the packet of biscuits out and then that's it - I'm done for the night. But that's where this [lockdown] has changed that."

"What genre?" asked D'Arcy.

"Well [adopting posh voice], it's kind of crime fiction really, Ray," Delaney replied.  

"I decided on day three of lockdown that I needed another project, so I started writing it and I finished it six weeks later - 130,000 words."

"And was this something you always wanted to do?" said D'Arcy.

"I don't know. I presume so," Delaney answered.

"The seed of an idea was there - it was a treatment for a movie script that I wrote about 10 years ago. I was actually looking for something on an old hard drive to do something else and I found this one-page document. I said, 'Oh, I must write that'. I started writing it out as a feature script, but then I said, 'This is too big'. So I did a lot of research, and then it became a novel.

"Now, I haven't got a publishing deal - it's with my publishers who did my cookbook three years ago in Scotland. But I've sent it to a couple of trusted friends, who I know are avid readers - and avid readers of that genre, Ray - and they liked it. None of them said it was crap.

"If it doesn't come out, at least I have it. I have the manuscript at home. I've written it. It's done. And we'll see what happens."

Delaney also said he has a TV drama pilot in development with two writing partners in the US.

He was appearing on the show in his role as ambassador for Sport Ireland's Your Personal Best Month campaign. It aims to encourage men over 45 who don't exercise for 150 minutes a week to get moving.

"It's all about looking after each other," Delaney said, "and the men of the country. And listen, apart from anything else, Ray - and God knows you've covered it on your show over the last couple of months - yes, you'll see the benefits on the weighing scales; and yes, you'll sleep better. But it's for your headspace. I'm telling you now - go out and lose yourself in a podcast or just put your favourite album on and walk for 30 minutes... You'll never regret doing it. 

"Six months ago I'd have laughed at you, but I'm now up to 6 km a day and I'm down over half a stone."