Tony O’Reilly.

Posted by Sue Leonard on Wednesday 26th October 2022

As a child, Tony loved his local library, enjoying science fiction, and novels by Alastair MacLean at an early age.

Leaving school at 16, he went into the printing industry as a pre-press technician rising to publication production manager, and then he started a business, inherited from the publisher he worked for.

            “I was churning out magazines for him, as a graphic designer, and that went really well until recession hit.”

Meanwhile, in 2006, Tony had started writing.

            “It happened by mistake,” he says. “I went to my local night school to enrol for French lessons, but the class was full. The writing class – for short stories looked interesting. The following year I took the advanced class, in novels, and I found that easier than the short story.”

His first attempted novel won first place in an international competition, but the company packed up before giving him his prize of 1,000 euro and publication.

With four or five novels completed, he entered a competition to gain a mentor, and was taken on by the Kate Nash Literary Agency.

“I sent in the synopsis of my debut, and Kate took it on. (Her husband was a history teacher and was interested in the period.) I based the character on my grandfather, Christopher Flinter, who joined the British Army to escape poverty.”

Who is Tony O’Reilly?

Date of birth:  1963 in Drimnagh, Dublin.

Education: Clogher Road Comprehensive School.  

Home: Dalkey, County Dublin. “But I spend a lot of time in France.”

Family: Wife, Bernie, and Tilly, a springer spaniel.

The Day Job: “I still have the company, printing mainly magazines.”

In Another Life: “I’d be a farmer or a horticulturist.”

Favourite Writers: Alice Munro; Anne Tyler; Stephen King; Saul Bellow; James Joyce; Neil Jordan.

Second Novel: “I’m following the character through the War of Independence.”

Top Tip: “Read Stephen King’s book, ‘On Writing.’”

The Debut: Murder in the Monto. Poolbeg Crimson: €18.15. Kindle: €4.71.

When in 1916, young Christopher Flinton is imprisoned after deserting from the British Army, he’s given an undercover mission; to locate an agent, who is also a depraved serial killer in the Monto. But could he be a target of the assassin he seeks?

The Verdict: A page turner that’s full of bloody intrigue.

Published in the Irish Examiner on 30th July.

© Sue J Leonard. 2022.


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