Author Interview: RICHARD T. RYAN
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author interview today.
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A lifelong Sherlockian, Richard T. Ryan is the author of four Sherlock Holmes adventures: "The Vatican Cameos,” “The Stone of Destiny,” “The Druid of Death” and “The Merchant of Menace.” His fifth Holmes novel, “Through a Glass Starkly,” will be released later this year.
Among his other credits are “The Official Sherlock Holmes Trivia Book," a book on Agatha Christie trivia and the well-received murder mystery “Deadly Relations,” which has been produced twice off-Broadway.
He pursued his graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in medieval literature.
An avid reader, he grew up devouring the mysteries of John Dickson Carr and others of that ilk.
He has been involved with newspapers and magazines for nearly 40 years and has spent the better part of the last three decades working for the Staten Island Advance in a variety of editorial capacities. He retired as the paper’s publications manager
Sherlock Holmes agrees to help Inspector Lestrade recover a priceless jewel-encrusted dagger that has gone missing. However, what Holmes initially believes to be a simple theft turns out instead to be his first encounter with a master criminal, whom Watson dubs "The Merchant of Menace."
Soon Holmes finds himself matching wits with a man who will steal anything – if the price is right. Moreover, this thief will go to any lengths, including blackmail and murder, to achieve his desired goal. As Holmes comes to understand his adversary, he begins to realize he can only react to the Merchant because he has no idea where this criminal mastermind will strike next. All Holmes knows for certain is the Merchant seems to specialize in rare, one-of-a-kind articles. From the British Museum to the Louvre to Blenheim Palace, Holmes finds himself in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse.
Set against the backdrop of early Edwardian England, the Great Detective and his Boswell encounter an array of luminaries from the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough to a young Winston Churchill. For fans of Conan Doyle's immortal detective, the game is always afoot. However, this time around Holmes must try to bring to justice a villain who might well be the next Napoleon of Crime.
Who are you and what do you write?
I am a retired newspaper editor, and I now write Sherlock Holmes mysteries. When I’m not working as a “consulting editor” for MX Publishing in London, I do some freelance editing.
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
I first began to take writing seriously when I was a graduate student at the University of Notre Dame. After finishing school, I taught writing and English on both the high school and college levels for more than a decade before I became a journalist. During my years as a newspaperman, I found myself writing articles every week, but the books came much later.
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
After any number of false starts, I finally finished my first novel four years ago when I was 63. As I said, I have written all my life, but I had never finished a novel until then. Since that time, I’ve managed about a book a year. For me, the writing is the best of all worlds. I’m naturally curious, so I really enjoy the research. However, it can be frustrating at times; as a result, there are moments when the writing actually sometimes seems easier by comparison.
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far? And the most enjoyable?
I don’t plot ahead of time, preferring to write organically. As a result, I often paint myself into corners and have a devil of a time getting out. I think I get the most joy just from knowing people have enjoyed my work.
Would you go back and change anything?
Absolutely! As I said, I started several books over the course of my life but I never finished any. I wish I had been more dedicated to the craft when I was younger and I wish I had more confidence in myself. However, I think maturity has made me a better writer, so there is a bit of a trade-off.
Where would you like to be in 5 years’ time? And 10? Or, what are your plans for the future?
I’m retired, so I’m just taking each day as it comes. Within the next few weeks, I’m hoping to begin work on a novel set in the medieval period and bring that to fruition.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
Believe in yourself. If you have a story to tell, get it down. The rough spots can always be smoothed over in subsequent drafts. The important thing is to get that first draft completed.
And most importantly...
Ketchup or Mayo? - Depends on the dish.
Night or Day? - Play during the day; write at night.
Inside or Outside? - Inside
Dogs or Cats? - Dogs, but I have nothing against cats.
Twitter or Facebook? - Twitter
ebook or Paperback? - ebook
Sun or Rain? - Sun
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook? - Keyboard
Comedy or Drama? - Drama
Chips or Chocolate? - Chips
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