Laurence O’Bryan’s debut novel The Istanbul Puzzle, was published to much acclaim in 2012, and it seems the heart stopping pace continues in his second novel, The Jerusalem Puzzle. Described as an action packed thriller set in the Middle East, it once again conveys O’Bryan’s meticulous research of an ancient city.
I first met Laurence last year, when the idea of setting up monthly meetings for crime writers in Dublin came to be. The group which meets in Hughes & Hughes bookstore at Dundrum Shopping Centre, has gone from strength to strength – more thanks to Laurence, I might add, than yours truly!!
But Laurence’s story is a somewhat remarkable one, as he knows all about receiving years of rejection letters, before finally getting the break he needed.
Laurence attended an authonomy workshop in the UK, and a publishing contract for three books soon followed. He had started writing The Istanbul Puzzle in 2005, finishing the first version in 2007, and winning first prize at a writer’s conference. The Istanbul Puzzle, published last year, was shortlisted for Crime Novel of the Year 2012, in the Irish Book Awards.
So now, a snapshot of what The Jerusalem Puzzle is all about!
Behind Lady Tunshuq’s Palace in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem, archaeologist Max Keiser has been found dead. In the same city, Dr Susan Hunter, who was translating an ancient script discovered in Istanbul, is missing. With his girlfriend Isabel Sharp, Sean Ryan is about to piece together the mystery of his colleague Max’s death and Susan’s disappearance. But as they explore the ancient and troubled city, they soon find themselves drawn into a dangerous and deadly game of fire.
Top 10 Author Questions for Laurence
Tell us about the Jerusalem Puzzle?
Hi. The Jerusalem Puzzle is a continuation of the story from The Istanbul Puzzle, Sean and Isabel travel to Jerusalem to look for Susan Hunter, who has gone missing. Max Kaiser has recently died there. He was burnt to death. Sean thinks he can help find Susan. What they find is a city on the edge of war. Soon after, they head to Cairo, while protests and demonstrations continue around them. The Jerusalem Puzzle is about what any of us would do for someone we love. It’s also about a mythical city too. The city of Jerusalem we all learned about in religion class.
Which of the characters that you have created is your favourite and why?
Hmm, that’s a good one. I like Sean. He gets into a lot of scrapes and he gets to have lots of adventures!
Where do you get your ideas from?
From the world around us. From newspapers, online and off, mainly, and from somewhere in my brain that I can’t shut up!
Who, in the writing world has inspired you most?
Wilbur Smith is a wonderful adventure writer. He’s still negotiating deals for new books at the age of 80! Edna O’Brien, here in Ireland, is an inspiration too.
When and where do you write best?
I have a small room in my house in Rathfarnham where I face a wall and write every day.
What book are you currently reading?
I am reading Chris Ewan’s Safe House.
Could you ever see yourself writing in another genre?
I am hoping to make a slight move to more psychological thrillers in the future, but I suppose that’s not far from conspiracy thrillers. I may also write historical thrillers. I have one of those in the attic somewhere!
How important is it for writers to connect with their readers on-line?
I think it’s very important, but that’s also because I like hearing from readers. Many give me a great boost when they tell me how much the enjoy reading one of my novels.
I know you’re currently working on your 3rd novel; can you share a little about it?
I have just submitted my 3rd novel, The Manhattan Puzzle, to Harper Collins, It’s about a global bank collapsing and the things some people will do for money – including money! It continues the story you can follow in The Istanbul Puzzle and The Jerusalem Puzzle.
And finally, what do you predict will be happening when I check back with you in a year from now?
I will still be writing, God willing, and coming up with stories for more books!
Well it’s the readers who will decide that actually! If they buy my books I will still be writing.
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