Interview with Gary J Byrnes

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Limerick, a town in the west of Ireland. Limerick influenced my writing directly in giving me the location for my Dagger Award-nominated crime thriller, Pure Mad. It also indirectly influenced my writing as it's an extremely Catholic place. Maybe this excess of religion helped to turn me against it all.
When did you first start writing?
I'd written creative fiction as a young child, only because I wanted to. Then the Catholic school system (in Ireland, the majority of public schools are still run by the Catholic Church. Crazy but true!) knocked the interest out of me. I later went to art school and wound up in journalism. Only after 9/11, in late 2001, did I start writing fiction, probably as a way to interpret a fracturing world.

With hindsight, I could say that I wish I'd done literature or creative writing at college, gotten onto this path sooner. But my experiences made me the writer that I am, so I wouldn't change a thing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Back in 2001, when I started writing fiction, I put down some ideas for an epic sci-fi novel. When that didn't click, I moved on to something else. I was drawn to the war theme, so The Death of Osama bin Laden was my first completed novel. But I've always typed up short story ideas once they were fully-formed and a collection had built up. I went through my old folders and pulled all my shorts and novel fragments together. I decided to put them in chronological order by setting and found that they started to make sense like that. With a little work to help tie everything together, I wound up with The Writer and Other Stories, my first short story collection.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
After my crime thriller, Pure Mad, was nominated for the Crime Writers' Association Dagger Award, I was represented by one of the top literary agents in London. I expected great things to come from this, but nothing happened. I felt let down and grabbed the opportunity to go with Smashwords, as the most important thing for a writer is to be read.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is wonderful because it works for authors. Being able to get my books into the Apple and Barnes and Noble stores has been key to their sales success.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love the fact that I can write about characters, situations and emotional experiences that connect with people all over the world.
What do your fans mean to you?
Without readers, there's no point writing. So my readers mean everything to me.
What are you working on next?
A thriller set in New York, about food, art and Nazis who want to take over the global financial system. It's called To Eat the World and I plan to release it by the end of 2013.
Who are your favorite authors?
George Orwell is my number one and I will someday write a dystopian thriller to rival Nineteen Eighty-Four. I also enjoy reading Norman Mailer, David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas), George RR Martin and Philip K Dick.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The belief that we get one shot at life and it's for a limited time only.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love being at the beach or in the forest - Dublin is surrounded by both. I also enjoy meeting friends for dinner, reading, watching Breaking Bad, art galleries and travel.
Published 2013-08-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Thriller Box Set
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 239,620. Language: English. Published: June 13, 2014. Category: Fiction » Literature » War
Summer vacation reading problems are solved with three of Gary J Byrnes’s bestselling novels, now brought together for the very first time.
History Trilogy
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,430. Language: English. Published: October 13, 2013. Category: Fiction » Literature » Literary
From the creation of the Jesus myth in ancient Rome to the downfall of King Louis XVI in France to the horror of the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau, history is full of lessons for us. But will we ever learn?
The X-Games
By
Price: Free! Words: 2,590. Language: English. Published: August 30, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
London, 2022. An ageing TV star is offered her final chance for glory on the world's favourite talent show. The X Factor meets the Hunger Games in this chilling, thrilling short story.
Mylie's Alphabet Adventure - At the Zoo
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Price: Free! Words: 390. Language: English. Published: August 25, 2013. Category: Fiction » Children’s books » Concepts / Alphabet
Join Mylie on a fun-filled day at the zoo, where she learns about animals, letters, numbers and colours. An essential book for every 2 to 4 year-old, with an engaging story that helps kids to recognise, master and love letters, words and numbers.
The Writer and Other Stories
By
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 44,190. Language: English (Irish dialect). Published: March 11, 2013. Category: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
This thrilling collection of stunning short fiction will force you to challenge every assumption, to question everything, to reach new conclusions. Human society has always been controlled and manipulated by the few, but can the many fight back? Read this epic fiction and help chart humanity's future.
The Death of Osama bin Laden - An Alternative History
By
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 80,600. Language: English. Published: July 25, 2012. Category: Fiction » Mashups
What if? What if things hadn't worked out as they did? What if Osama bin Laden had managed to get his hands on a nuclear bomb?
Ireland Trilogy
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,280. Language: English. Published: June 13, 2012. Category: Fiction » Literature » Drama
Three short stories set in Ireland. The first story, Perhaps A Few, happens just before Ireland's devastating potato famine of 1845-49. Troika is a story that happens in the dark 1930s, while Blitzkrieg Ireland 2016 considers what might happen during the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, the event that led to Ireland's independence.
Witch Grannies - The Case of the Lonely Banshee
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Series: Witch Grannies, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 20,550. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2011. Category: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy Tales & Folklore / Country & Ethnic
Emily’s witch grannies have whisked her away in the night, to the village of Castleconnell in the west of Ireland. The River Shannon is home to a banshee and she’s collecting souls, including Emily’s witch sister, Edna. The witches must race against time to find the banshee’s lair and free the trapped souls. But there is an even bigger threat to the river and all her inhabitants.
Blitzkrieg Ireland 2016
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Price: Free! Words: 1,890. Language: English. Published: September 18, 2011. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
A very short story about what might happen when Ireland can no longer afford to pay her debts to the European Central Bank. This story also features in Ireland Trilogy by Gary J Byrnes.
9/11 Trilogy
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Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 14,360. Language: English. Published: September 7, 2011. Category: Fiction » Literature » War
Challenging, edgy short stories set before, during and after 9/11. 'The Garden at the Inn' is set in Afghanistan and Pakistan and looks at the formation of Al-Qaeda. 'Tuesday' is Manhattan on September 11, 2001. The trilogy concludes with 'Nine Twelve', a vision of life in the aftermath of that fateful day.
The God Virus
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Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 79,140. Language: English. Published: June 29, 2011. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Epic, surreal sci-thriller, set in the world of crime forensics. Living and working in Essex, England, forensic scientist William Bunk's life is messed around when he finds mysterious DNA samples in the post. His wife is murdered and he becomes the prime suspect. Could there be a bizarre connection between the Homo erectus DNA and that space dust from NASA? Obviously.
Pure Mad - The Author's Cut
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Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 79,700. Language: English (Irish dialect). Published: April 12, 2011. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
From the Number One Thriller Writer. Pure Mad was nominated for the Crime Writers' Association Dagger Award. A blizzard of cocaine, sex, guns and African black magic. Russian and Irish mobsters, the IRA and missing kids. Imagine everything converging in Limerick, on the wild west coast of Ireland, where amateur private detective Charlie Doyle is hired to get proof of adultery.
Witch Grannies - The Case of the Evil Schoolmaster
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Series: Witch Grannies, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 21,340. Language: English. Published: February 10, 2011. Category: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy Tales & Folklore / Country & Ethnic
A thrilling children's novel, set in Ireland and perfect for anyone aged 8 to 12. Meet Emily and Malcolm who've been sent to stay with their Grannies. Oh, and their grannies are witches...