More About the Author
Recently, my wife Jane and I paid a visit to Paris and to the Louvre Museum where the iconic painting the 'Mona Lisa' by Leonardo Da Vinci is on display in a hermetically sealed exhibit behind sheets of bulletproof glass.
As a creative writer - and someone who writes thrillers - my mind naturally wandered off on a flight of fantasy around the subject on how you cold actually STEAL it? The fruits of these musings, and a lot more besides, are contained in my fifth novel - MASTERPIECE - which is now available via Amazon.
Researching this book was enormous fun - from the trip to the Louvre, to a descent into the sewers of Paris, a trip to Atocha station in Madrid (which was the scene of a terrible terrorist attack described in the book), to London, Barcelona and, of course, our native Dublin. Inventing the characters was fun too, and I particularly enjoyed the 'company' (if I can use the term in relation to imaginary people) of Gabrielle Arnault - the uptight and methodical French policewoman - and the far less orthodox approach of Dr. Damien Flynn, a former IRA member, now lecturing on the origins of terrorism at a Dublin University. It was the initial friction between these two characters - each deeply wounded by terrorism in their own way - that really brought the book alive to me and propelled the plot on its way.
Prior to 'Masterpiece', my fourth novel 'Fire & Ice' was launched at the prestigious Hughes & Hughes book shop in Dublin's Dundrum Town Centre in 2012. This novel, which was timed to appear on the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, was based on real events when four diesel-powered Russian submarines, each armed with a nuclear-tipped torpedo, were hounded by US destroyers and forced to the surface.
What the captains of the US destroyers did not know was that each Russian submarine captain has the authority to fire his atomic weapon without orders from the Kremlin. This lead to a hair-raising situation which was only revealed recently and which I adapted to the premise for 'Fire & Ice' - What is a Soviet nuclear submarine, with far greater speed and endurance that a diesel driven sub, thought it had authentic orders to sink the flagship of the US fleet with its atomic-tipped torpedo?
I first took up writing while job-hunting in 1977 as a fledgling marine scientist on the dole in Lowestoft, Suffolk. Then my luck changed and I moved to Ireland in 1978, where I met my wife Jane in Cork while leading a field course on marine science and went on to be presented with the Glaxo EU Fellowship for Science Writers by An Taoiseach Mr. Jack Lynch for a series of articles on marine biology that I wrote for the magazine "Diving Ireland".
Shortly after we were married in 1980, Jane and I embarked on a charity mission to Egypt where we were both awestruck by the mystery of the Great Pyramids outside Cairo. Drawing on my scientific writing, I created the romantic techno thrillers of The Virtual Trilogy - Virtually Maria, A Matter of Time and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. These books centre around the quest by computer billionaire Theo Gilkrensky to save his beloved wife Maria from death by manipulating the fabric of time using mysterious forces focused by the Great Pyramid and other ancient sites around the world.
Virtually Maria was selected as "Book of the Month" by the Easons book shop chain in August 1998 when it was published by Poolbeg Press, along with A Matter of Time. However, the third book Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow was however never published by Poolbeg. Since then, in response to the many emails I've had asking me "when is the third book coming out", I have published "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow", along with the other two books in the trilogy, through my own imprint - Spindrift Press, Dublin.
This now makes all three of The Virtual Trilogy books available to readers worldwide for the first time via the Amazon websites.
One unique character in The Virtual Trilogy is Minerva - an artificially intelligent laptop computer that Gilkrensky has programmed to appear and act like his late wife Maria. As the quest to save Maria unfolds, Minerva begins to develop a personality of her own, acting like a rebellious electronic Tinkerbell who finally becomes a rival for Theo's love.
I've also written the Captain Cockle series of books for children, which were published by Poolbeg Press and will be re-released by Spindrift Press in the near future. I'm a regular contributor to trade magazines on marine science and was the founder and editor of the magazine Aquaculture Ireland. I have also won an award for my cartoon illustrations, and contribute environmental cartoons on marine science to the publications "Sherkin Comment" and "Inshore Ireland".
As a development of these cartoon pages I've developed the "Black John the Bogus Pirate Cartoon Workbook of Marine Beasts" - a 20-page workbook that teaches children (of all ages) about marine biology through the medium of cartoons. This little book has been used to great effect at such prestigious events as the Volvo Ocean Race, Sea2Sky, Science Week and Science Festival events in Galway and was featured at the Dublin Book Festival in November 2012. You can read more about it, and enjoy some of the 'FunFacts' about the sea that it contains, on the Spindrift Press website in the children's section on http://www.spindriftpress.com