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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author Ryan McGinnis shares the inspiration behind his new book, The Firefly Collective, and his creative writing process.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Ryan McGinnis about his new thriller novel, The Firefly Collective, what inspired his story, and his creative writing process.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
My name is Ryan McGinnis and I’m a self published Author. I released my first novel, “Tears of the Dragon,” in 2021. Since then, I’ve gone on to release two sequels, as well as several free short stories, which are available on my website. My latest book, “The Firefly Collective,” is on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
I spent my childhood haunting the local library, reading science fiction, horror, and action thrillers. So it comes as no surprise that I now write those same genres. After having been a songwriter for the past fifteen years, I decided to shift my focus to writing stories. I tend to have an oversized imagination so it seemed like a logical move. So far, I’ve found it very fulfilling. It’s wonderful to create these worlds in your head and take people along on these journeys.
When did you take a step to start writing?
When I first started toying with the idea of writing, it was a hobby. I would write occasionally. Over the years, I got more and more serious, and started taking steps to improve my writing skills. In 2020 I released a short story titled, “Sketch,” which was picked up by Mandatory Midnight. The rest, as they say, is history.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
My first book, ’Tears of the Dragon’ took six to seven years. That is because most of that time, I treated it like a hobby. It was finished in 2020, but I sat on it for a year due to the pandemic. I used that time to learn more about the business and marketing end of being an author, in preparation for the eventual release. Finally, it was released in September of 2021.
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
Following the release of “The Delicate Art of Death” in March of 2023, I almost immediately began formulating an idea that would eventually become my upcoming release “The Firefly Collective.” There were some interruptions to the process that caused the release to be delayed from the start of August to it’s current release date of August 28th. But overall, it’s been a pretty smooth process.
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write The Firefly Collective?
“The Firefly Collective” is the latest in my “Xavier Greene Thriller” Series that started with “Tears of the Dragon.” With this book I wanted to continue the larger overall story, after taking time away from it to tell the more personal tale “The Delicate Art of Death” which was released March of 2023. My focus was to take the reader deeper into the world I began exploring with “Tears of the Dragon,” “The Osiris Initiative,” as well as “The Delicate Art of Death.”
What were your biggest challenges with writing The Firefly Collective?
I think the biggest challenge was finding the time to write during what has been an incredibly chaotic year. When I’m not writing, I run my own website design / marketing company and it’s been a very busy year. Dealing with my hectic schedule and all of the things life throws at you, sometimes it’s hard to find the mental bandwidth to create. Fortunately I was able to get it together and I’m very happy with the story I created.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
Xavier Greene, the main protagonist of the series, is a mysterious assassin who works for a multinational shadow organization called The Citadel. Originally, when creating the concept of what would become the first book, I thought about creating a secret agent type character, but I wanted him to be unique. So, I incorporated some very eccentric interests, such as his katana, as well as his habit of meditating and the effects it has on him. I also wanted to create a character that felt real and not stereotypical. I wanted to try to avoid most of the usual tropes associated with action thriller lead characters.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
As with most of these books, there are a variety of antagonist in this book. Some of them are truly evil, while others are victims of their circumstance. As usual, I like to play with the gray area that exists in the real world. Xavier also encounters unexpected resistance in the form of Thomas Williams, an MI6 agent whom he comes into contact with. All of the dynamics come together to form a vary engaging narrative that will hopefully draw readers in to see what happens next.
What is the inciting incident of The Firefly Collective?
The book opens with the latest in a series of bombings that are plaguing tech companies across Europe. Meanwhile, Xavier, encounters an ambush while continuing his pursuit of renegade tech mogul, James Devos. It’s a very high octane opening and good way to set the reader up for the story that unfolds afterwards.
What is the main conflict of The Firefly Collective?
I believe there are multiple conflicts within this story. I continued to explore how surviving traumatic events effects people in difference ways. There are also characters who are at conflict with themselves because they find themselves in situations where they feel trapped into doing what they do because they have no choice. As usual, I can’t give too much away, but suffice to say there is plenty of moral struggle in between the fights scenes and explosions.
Did you plot The Firefly Collective in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
I’m 100% a planner. I write extensive outlines before I begin the writing process. By the time I sit down to write, I know exactly what is going to happen in every chapter of the book. That way it’s just a matter of filling in the blanks and making things interesting.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did The Firefly Collective need?
As I’ve continued to write, I’ve been lucky enough to have top notch help with editing. The process has gotten much faster and smoother as I’ve went on as well. As usual I don’t know how to gauge how much editing a book needs. I feel like every book needs to be gone over with a fine tooth comb, so I would say every book needs a lot of editing but I feel like that’s subjective and I don’t have anything to compare it to, except my own books. That being said, I don’t believe it’s possible to get anything perfect, whether you’re talking about a song or a book. At some point you have to let it go and allow it to be released out into the world.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
As always, my first word of advice is to write. Write wherever you can. Write blog posts, newspaper articles, short stories. Write for whomever will let you. Write often. But also take critical looks at what you write. Learn from your mistakes. Continue to learn. Other than that, learn marketing and the business end of writing. No matter what you think, if you’re serious about being a writer, you’ll need it.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
August 28th will see the release of “The Firefly Collective,” the latest chapter in my Xavier Greene Thriller series. After that, the next chapter should be out in the Spring of 2024. There is a slight chance I’ll have a surprise release before then, but it depends on a lot of factors. Stay tuned…
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
I am. Being an author has given me such an incredible creative outlet. I absolutely love it. And the feedback I get from readers is amazing. I highly encourage anyone who has read any of my books to reach out to me through my website or on social media. I respond to every email or message that I get!
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
Tears of the Dragon
The Osiris Initiative
The Delicate Art of Death
The Firefly Collective
A Good Night’s Sleep – https://ryan-mcginnis.com/good-nights-sleep-free-ebook-2/
The Musician’s Daughter ( A Xavier Greene Thriller ) – https://ryan-mcginnis.com/free-thriller-ebook/
Tik Tok – https://www.tiktok.com/@ryanmcg217
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