I am an Irish-American author raised in small to mid-sized towns and cities in the Northeast United States. As a child I had neither passions for history, writing, reading, nor learning in general. I pretty much just wanted to watch cartoons and play outside. It was in high school, however, that I finally discovered the joy of both reading and writing. Reading came first; but writing followed not less than a year afterword. The first book to inspire me to expand my reading habits from none to nonstop was Tolkien’s The Hobbit. I recall being stricken by its entertaining and story-telling yet rich, poetic language; and of course by the story itself. Days later, I had finished The Lord of the Rings, which brought the art of language, story-telling, allegory and archetype, and mythology to a whole new level.
In the ensuing years I read voraciously, beyond what my teachers demanded, with a particular love for classics such as Beowulf, Brave New World, 1984, and Macbeth. At the same time, I also enjoyed “light” reading such as Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising, David Edding’s Belgariad series, and even the Dragonlance novels. Interspersed among these were military history and military science books such as William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, AJP Taylor’s The First World War, and books about modern military tactics and equipment. Time would tell if I would be an armchair general before being an armchair author.
During this time I was also playing in regional orchestras, including such great pieces as Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (First Movement only) and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. I would later continue my small, out-of-tune part with local orchestras in Washington, DC, as part of the string section playing such classics as Ludwig von Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, George Handel’s Messiah, and Antonin Dvorak’s New World Symphony. It was also during this period that I developed an intense interest in the operas of Richard Wagner.
After completing my undergraduate and graduate studies in foreign and security policy in Washington, DC, I worked for the US Department of Defense as a policy, planning, and intelligence analyst. During these years I learned a lot of things about defense planning, military operations, strategic security policy, and bizarre and contradictory federal regulations and rules for government employees.
At the same time that I worked for the Defense Department, I was actively engaged in politics, joining political groups and volunteering for local campaigns. Eventually, despite my active and productive life moving among US federal agencies and the never-tiring and ever-free cocktail circuit, I decided to return to my European roots.
My enormous passion for European history and traveling led to over a decade of backpacking and researching throughout the Old World visiting its museums, palaces, monuments, and grand squares. During this period I probably visited over 400 towns, villages, fortresses, museums, archeological sites, cities, etc. I have visited some 30 European capitals and countries, and almost every single place has been worthwhile for one reason or another. I could fill web pages just with lists of “top tens”. If I had to pick one favorite place, it would be Mont Saint Michel, France. Beyond that, I do not have a favorite country or city. They all have their good and bad points; and life is about learning how to find and appreciate the good, and get around or live with the bad.
It was thanks to a number of trips to Sweden that I was finally inspired to write my first novel, The Holy Diamond. Settling down in the Alpine region of France with fine Bourgogne pinot noir wines at hand, I spent a few years of research, thought, and procrastination until at last I completed and published the novel.
My novels and short stories are inspired by my travels around the world, by the many people I meet – from financially-challenged hostel dorm-mates to senior government officials – and above all grand issues of history or emerging trends that have or will alter the nature of life, culture, and civilization. More than a story, I hope to capture human movements and conflict.