Dublin Author Solves Publishing Puzzle

Dublin author solves publishing puzzle

For many, writing, let alone having your work published, can be a daunting task.
Thanks to the internet however, it’s now easier than ever to get your work out there. Dublin author Laurence O’Bryan is example of a writer who embraced the power of the web, his second novel, ‘The Jerusalem Puzzle’, hit bookshops last month.

Finding himself caught up in London’s rat race, often working twelve hours a day in IT, O’Bryan had always dreamed of writing but couldn’t set aside enough time for it. After marrying and moving back to Dublin, he found himself with more time on his hands. In London he had been in the habit of rising at 4am and so decided to continue with this, giving him the opportunity to spend a few hours writing each morning before departing for work.

He began attending writing conferences and, in 2007, at one such event in Southern California, he won the prize for best novel. The award-winning work would become his first published novel, ‘The Istanbul Puzzle’, released last year by Harper Collins and now translated into nine languages.

The website ‘authonomy.com’ would prove pivotal in becoming a published writer. “I joined it because it was a Harper Collins initiative and received an email from them saying they were running a workshop in London,” he tells me. It was there that he met one of the commissioning editors who requested he send them some of his writing. “Two months later they sent me an email offering me a three book deal”.

Over the years, O’Bryan had grown to realise the importance of networking, leading him to embrace social media. “I thought blogging was a complete waste of time,” he says, “but then I realised if you want to get published you need to have a blog and get on twitter”. In 2010 he started his own blog, lpobryan.com. “The first day I got three visitors,” he recalls, “but now I’m getting a thousand a day”. This web presence was instrumental in securing the deal with Harper Collins.

The author describes his ‘Puzzles’ series as “a mix of history and adventure with a touch of Indiana Jones and Dan Brown”. The setting for ‘The Istanbul Puzzle’ came courtesy of his wife who originally hailed from the city. “I was amazed when I went there first, to see how different it was from my idea of the city,” he tells me. A history buff, O’Bryan became fascinated by the historical relevance of the Turkish capital and decided it would make the ideal setting for an adventure story. Last year, researching his second book, he spent a week in Jerusalem, visiting sites of historical and religious importance, many of which, he informs me, are woven into the second novel.

A third instalment, ‘The Manhattan Puzzle’, is due later this year and O’Bryan has plans to extend the series, hoping to use his native country as the location of its eventual climax. “There are interesting historical sites of mystery here in Ireland”, he continues. Hearing O’Bryan’s obvious passion for the material, I suspect this series may run for quite a while.

‘The Istanbul Puzzle’ and ‘The Jerusalem Puzzle’ are available in most Dublin bookshops and online at www.easons.com

By: Eric Hillis