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

The Writer - A Short Story
Price: Free! Words: 2,870. Language: English. Published: January 14, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Classical Greece & Rome, Fiction » Historical » Ancient
In Ancient Rome, a young writer decides to publish a story that will change the world.
Price: Free! Words: 3,650. Language: English. Published: January 14, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Historical » General
Amid the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp, a prisoner evokes the memory of Golem.
United Hates
Price: Free! Words: 74,160. Language: English (Irish dialect). Published: December 25, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
New York City. Today. A cannibal serial killer is on the loose and art expert Jacob is on his menu. Can chef Sophie help Jacob, or will their history get in the way? Will a Nazi plot to launch the Fourth Reich, creating the United Hates of America, succeed? Or can Sophie save Jacob and the world? Try this unputdownable story by number one bestselling author Gary J Byrnes.
Price: Free! Words: 8,070. Language: American English. Published: November 8, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Tom Swan wakes up with a hangover in Manhattan on September 11, 2001, as the world is falling apart. This is his story.
Vampire Story
Price: Free! Words: 2,440. Language: English (Irish dialect). Published: October 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead
(3.00 from 1 review)
A stylish and enigmatic vampire story, about Bram Stoker (author of Dracula), vampire love, vampire blood and vampire fear. You want to live forever? Dublin. A struggling writer of vampire stories becomes disillusioned. But who is he and how will he deal with his existential crisis? The original, evocative and uplifting soundtrack to Vampire Story, the short film of this story, also available.
Thriller Box Set
Price: $1.99 $0.99 USD. (50% off until Nov. 04, 2020!) Words: 239,460. Language: English. Published: June 13, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Sex, Drugs, Gods and Gangs. Terrorism, 9/11, War and Hate. Love, Lies, Truths and Sins. Three of Gary J Byrnes’s bestselling novels, now brought together for the very first time. Your summer reading problems are now officially solved!
History Trilogy
Series: Trilogy Collection. Price: Free! Words: 8,550. Language: English. Published: October 13, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
The creation of the Jesus myth in ancient Rome. The downfall of King Louis XVI in France. The horror of the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau, history is full of lessons for us. But can we ever learn? Three thrilling stories in one great value ebook that will make you reconsider history and your place in it.
The X-Games
Price: Free! Words: 2,590. Language: English. Published: August 30, 2013. Categories: 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.
The Writer and Other Stories
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 44,190. Language: English (Irish dialect). Published: March 11, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
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
Price: $0.99 USD. (Free until Nov. 04, 2020!) Words: 80,590. Language: English. Published: July 25, 2012. Categories: 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
Series: Trilogy Collection. Price: Free! Words: 3,280. Language: English. Published: June 13, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays
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
Series: Witch Grannies, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 20,550. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy Tales & Folklore / Country & Ethnic, Fiction » Children’s books » Nature & the Natural World / Environment
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
Price: Free! Words: 2,080. Language: English. Published: September 18, 2011. Categories: 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
Series: Trilogy Collection. Price: Free! Words: 19,830. Language: English. Published: September 7, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » War & military adventure, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
Challenging, edgy short stories that happen 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 the day after. This ebook offers superb value with three exciting, evocative stories.
The God Virus (Conspiracy thriller)
Price: $1.99 USD. (Free until Nov. 04, 2020!) Words: 79,120. Language: English. Published: June 29, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
What if You Could Prove That God Does Not Need to Exist? Epic, transrealist thriller, set in the world of crime forensics. In Essex, England, forensic scientist William Bunk's life is messed around when he finds mysterious DNA samples in the mail. 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?
Pure Mad - The Author's Cut
Price: $1.99 $0.99 USD. (50% off until Nov. 04, 2020!) Words: 79,700. Language: English (Irish dialect). Published: April 12, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
From the Number One Thriller Writer. Nominated for the Crime Writers' Association Dagger Award, this story is 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
Series: Witch Grannies, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 21,340. Language: English. Published: February 10, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy Tales & Folklore / Country & Ethnic, Fiction » Children’s books » Nature & the Natural World / Environment
(4.00 from 1 review)
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...