When Ronan was 19, a close friend of his died – and a year later he started writing about her.
“The words came out like a torrent. I accidentally wrote a 200 page memoir. Writing electrified me. I thought why not write a novel? So I wrote one, then another. I got an agent for both, but they were never published.”
Moving around – he’s lived in nine different countries – school didn’t suit Ronan, but the MA and PhD in writing helped him enormously.
He started his debut a decade ago, but abandoned it for something else.
“In May 2015, I hit a wall with another novel, went back to the debut, rewrote it, and submitted it. Four agents showed interest within days, and I sighed with my dream agent, Karolina Sutton. She represents Margaret Atwood, and Murakami.”
Who is Ronan Ryan?
Date of birth: July 14th, 1980 in Clonmel, Tipperary.
Education: Clonmel; International School in Nagoya, Japan; School in Pennsylvania. (Dropped out at 16, and moved to Dublin with his sister.) Institute of Education; dropped out. Taught self to Leaving certificate. University College Dublin; psychology, including a year at college in Melbourne; Goldsmiths University; dropped out to write debut. Edinburgh University; Masters in Creative Writing. Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand; PhD in creative writing.
Family: Sister, parents, niece and nephew, all living in America.
The Day Job: Fulltime writer.
Favourite Writers: EL Doctorow; Margaret Atwood; Marilynne Robinson
Second Novel: “It’s historical, and is based on two paleontolologists.”
Top Tip: “The four factors are talent, luck, work ethic and your original take on the world. It’s the 4th that will make you stand out from everyone else.”
The Debut: The Fractured Life of Jimmy Dice. Tinder Press: €17.99 Kindle: €8.58.
Jimmy Dice is a risk-taker. This leads to constant trouble, including the loss of body parts. Never successful, Jimmy is all heart. The narrator is his twin, lost at birth.
“I was influenced by John Irving. I’m interested in an experience that is pure mind, removed from reality as opposed to Jimmy’s physical visceral experience. It’s like the two parts of myself – the one living and the one observing.”
The Verdict: Expertly experimental. Ryan has talent to burn.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 21st February, 2017
© Sue Leonard. 2017