Interview with Martin J. Ryan

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
My wife and I are both professional visual artists, so that occupies us; though she does it full time and I don't. We live in the country. In winter I shovel snow and split cordwood. In the summer I'm digging and hauling and gardening. My wife and I both read at breakfast and lunch--fiction, non fiction, history. At dinner we're together and watching the political news and discussing it while we eat. Luckily we're both Progressive. We're movie buffs, so we go fairly often. And we are lucky to have children, grandchildren and friends, with whom we speak on the telephone when we're not seeing them.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, and it was very bad. I've improved a little.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I grew up in NYC during the Great Depression and WWll years. We had few books in the tiny apartments we lived in. I think it was Huck Finn at the public library. I didn't really discover books until I returned from the military around my 19th birthday. The first were The Story Of Philosophy, the Greek Myths, then Homer. I recall Mailer's The Naked And The Dead--a big war novel--before Balzac and Stendhal and Chekhov, then Hemmingway. Then a thousand books up the chain--James, Faulkner, Nabokov, Vonnegut, Bellows, Updike and Roth and so on. And I believe Le Care is a great novelist. I've left out a ton of greats. You can see I've been all over the place, hungry for all the words.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I have none. There are too many wonderful writers. I could never choose between their books.
Okay, okay: Bellows--"Mr. Sammler's Planet." Faulkner--"Intruder In The Dust." James--"Wings Of The Dove." Doctorow--"Billy Bathgate." Vonnegut--"Slaughterhouse Five." Nabokov--"The Luzhin Defense." Oops! that was six. Trouble is, I can name five more, and five more; and then some. And then more from the same artists. I could name all of Elmore Leonard's stuff. Right now I'm reading one of Jo Nezbo's Detective Hole novels, and the great and learned James Carroll's "Jerusalem, Jerusalem."
Describe your desk
It's a six foot wide heavy oak piece of furniture. It was originally a draftsman's table. It's about one-hundred years old. I bought six of these tables in 1963 (still have them) when I opened a design studio in midtown Manhattan. I had to have the high legs cut down for normal sitting. On the table is an old humongous monitor that looks like an old TV, plus two towers, an external backup, a router and modem and a scanner. Plus boxes of disks, folders and notes and dust. Above on the wall is a shelf with stacks of folders, manuals, speakers and disks. It's cozy clutter and I like it.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
While I am computer literate since 1998, and have studied web development and designed and built two sites, my earlier, more lengthy, pre-digital life produced in me a somewhat ingrained connection with print on paper; the tactile nature of turning of the actual page with index and thumb; the mere heft of the book. Yet, while not having left the nest, I've stretched my little wings and purchased a Kindle, which does somewhat delight me; perhaps in the same way my first electric trains produced in me a little boy's Wow! Ain't this something!
Published 2014-04-09.
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Books by This Author

Three At The Center Of Rage
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 279,090. Language: English. Published: March 24, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Detective Sergeant Frank Driscoll, investigates a botched execution by a shooter with unexpected connections, for which Driscoll travels a risk-laden path up the food chain to the business and political elites, rudely penetrating their polished space to uncover a world of laundered money and sex for government contracts, while posing a threat to those who know how to push back—hard.