Interview with Novelist Mark Ryan (Keep it Together)

Mark Ryan was born in Oxford, growing up in the shadow of the dreaming spires. His first novel; ‘Pendulum Days: Afraid’, is the first in a series of contemporary fairy tales and supernatural fiction. Followed by ‘Book II: Purgatory’. He has also published a collection of poems and stories in ‘Ghosts by proxy’, with themes covering love, pain, sadness and hope.’Keep it together’ is the family saga of the rich and infamous Van-Blacks, set against the backdrop of 1977 Boston. His blog ‘Havoc and consequence’ is a platform for his current poetry and short stories:

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keepittogetherInterview with Mark Ryan

Matthew Toffolo: What is the general theme and tone of your novels?

Mark Ryan: There is a mysterious edge to the novel. I would say the driving force is intrigue. The tone is slightly dark and occult based, but there is peppering of humour and light heartedness that does not allow the darkness to overwhelm. The theme would be mystery and family saga orientated in general terms.

MT: Why should people buy your novels?

MR: (With much liberal use of the word should) ‘Keep it Together’ is a fun mystery novel with an insight to the 1970’s America. It’s escapism into other people’s drama with a supernatural backdrop. I think it’s good to view other people’s problems once in a while, to either escape or question what you yourself would do when presented in the same circumstance. It’s a good story and a fun read, but where there’s room for self-analysis or questioning, I would say that’s always good for something.

MT: How would you describe your novels in just two words?

MR:  Supernatural Saga

MT: What movie have you seen the most in your life?

 MR: Sunset Boulevard

MT: Was being a novel writer something you’ve always dreamed of doing?

MR: Not really. Like many people I sort of fell into it. I find writing quite cathartic, usually leaning towards poetry in which to express and exorcize some demons. I found the leap toward fiction/story telling a fun way to expel some of the inventions in my head and hopefully entertain the people who read what I write. I like to get stories out there, regardless of the reception to them.

MT: Do you have an all-time favorite novel? Have you read a novel more than once?

MR: ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho. I usually try to read this once a year. Gives me the spiritual nourishment to get back to basics.

MT: What motivates you to write?

MR: I would say my drive comes from having a lot of ideas swirling around in my head. The spinning plates of stories and concepts. It’s nice to get them out, and down, and read so they give room for others to take their place. It’s all a process.

MT: What artist would you love to have dinner with?

MR: Frida Kahlo (time machine permitting)

MT: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

MR: Movies. I studied Film at university and the passion has never really died. Fortunately the two doctrines of writing and film work very well with one another.

MT: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

MR: Dispel any fears of ability. Have confidence in yourself regardless of what you may initially think, and just do it. Get something down and put it out there, you will find an audience. Anyone can write.


Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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