Ten minutes with Jack Byrne

Ten minutes with Jack Byrne

Jack Byrne

Jack Byrne's Under the Bridge is the first in a four-part series The Liverpool Mysteries.

The title is inspired by an area of the same name in the city, which has historic links to Wicklow — where Jack’s grandparents were born. 

They eventually set off for the Mersey Docks in search of work.

Jack, a Liverpool Irishman, answers our questions

What are you working on at the moment?

My latest novel centres on the expulsion of Chinese Seamen from Liverpool following WW2

Which writer has most influenced you?

So many, but John Steinbeck has to be near the top. He combines the profound and the mundane. In Dubious Battle is my favourite.

What are your Irish roots?

Mum born in Liverpool but both her parents were from Wicklow. Dad emigrated from Wicklow late forties.

Which piece of music always sends a shiver down your spine?

Sinéad’s Nothing Compares to you.

Heaney or Yeats?

Can I have Patrick Kavanagh?

What is your favourite place in Ireland?

Our house in Wexford

Which book has really moved you?

Ten Men Dead by David Beresford.

Which living writer do you most admire?

Hilary Mantel. A Place of Greater Safety about the French Revolution in particular.

Opera or pantomime?

Pantomime because opera is an alien world to me.

Which (real) historical figure do you most admire?

Malcolm X

What would be your motto?

All for one and one for all.

Have you a favourite quote from any poem you’ve read?

Don't memorise poems but...

On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew

That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;

I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,

And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

Autumn or spring?

Spring with the promise of summer.

What’s a favourite line from your own writing?

“The bone poked out of the mud and into Michael's life.” That’s the first line of my first book Under The Bridge.

Mozart or Martin Hayes?

Martin Hayes with a pint.What books are on your bedside table at the minute?

Breathless by Dean Koontz. Death of the Black Widow by James Patterson. In A House of Lies by Ian Rankin. Doppelganger by Naomi Klein. Good Guys Lost by Tony Evans.

What’s the best thing about where you live?

Walking around the lake.

. . . and the worst?

Everything shuts down in winter.

What do you consider the greatest work of art?

Any Caravaggio, but particularly The Conversion of Saint Paul

In terms of inanimate objects, what is your most precious possession?

Laptop, entertainment, communication and work centre.

What do you believe in?

Humanity and solidarity

Who/what is the greatest love of your life?

Family, wife and kids.

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