Using Personal Experience to Enhance Your Story – Guest Post by Reilly’s Bullet author Mack Owen
The idea behind Reilly’s Bullet:
The idea for Reilly’s Bullet came from the idea that it should be possible to develop a bullet that left no forensic evidence that could link the bullet used in an assassination back to the gun and its wielder.
A bullet that would simply disappear seemed ideal.
The obvious methods were a bullet of air or water. But a little research showed that although both would be possible, air would be extremely difficult and water relatively easy if the density of the water was optimized.
My background in engineering sends me worldwide—I have lived in the Middle East, Far East, North and South Americas, Australia, and Africa—so the travelling within the book allowed use of personal experience in these areas.
Irish musicians travel worldwide and so this provides good cover. It also allows for use of my experience in these areas. A good troupe of musicians allow for various personalities and the craic, debauchery and trouble that goes on tour…along with the music.
Given that the purpose of the assassinations in this book are to publicize a useful killing technology, maximum publicity is essential, and victims needed to be identified accordingly. The idea was not to carry out killings for political, social or religious reasons solely for the purpose of selling the technology at a premium price.
Various contacts/agencies were identified that would be interested and contacted. As Reilly tours the world, these agencies attempt to identify the source leading to various interactions between Reilly and themselves.
You read a lot in the locations I have lived. I lived for a while, 1 year, in a desert camp in a place called Marmul in an oilfield on the Omani/Yemeni border with SAS protection and fighter aircraft overhead. At night we would drink beer, read, and listen to short-wave radio. Locations like this are good for the imagination. No internet, no TV, no ladies…just a desert bar and a short-wave radio.
Other ideas came from bars in Australia, the jungles of the Congo, then called Zaire, and Venezuela and the locals, the ladies of the night and time.
Co-workers of many nationalities Brits, Yanks, French, Dutch, Ozzies….and Paddys everywhere, gave a different outlook on life.
What prompted me to write it actually write it?
Desperation and challenge.
I’m joking, but some might agree. It was something different for me to try. Many Irish authors are perceived to be half crazy and given that my current wife told me that I was going crazy, I thought the time was right.
I started to write to see how I would go and as time and the writing went on, I simply continued.
What challenges did you come across in trying to make your book differ from the norm?
I hope my book is different from the norm. Much of Reilly’s Bullet is based on my experience of life, people, and places. People and places can give a different sense or feeling to a book. On jobs abroad places change from good to bad and vice versa with the change of just a few people. I also think I have a different attitude.
But as far as challenges to be different go, there were none. I wrote it as I saw it could be. My life and outlook on life has been different for many years. Meeting people, leaving people, missing people. A disrespect for much, a respect for the disrespected. The weird, the wonderful.
Along these lines, I didn’t try to base my book to be similar or dissimilar from any other book or movie. Because of that, I believe everything is truly unique!
What do you believe are the best ways for crime/thriller writers to make their book stand out?
Try and be different in characters, locations. Similar themes, schemes, atmospheres and plots can be written in a different form given a change in people and places. Even if not written in a different form they can be interpreted differently by a reader.
What advice do you have for beginning/unpublished writers?
Start writing if you haven’t started. You may have to change it, rewrite it, edit it; but start it and the flow might start. Research as you go. You could spend a lifetime researching and write nothing. Researching as you go and you’ll save time as you are not researching irrelevancies.
Where you can buy Reilly’s Bullet, by Mack Owen:
Austin Macauley Publishers: https://www.austinmacauley.com/us/book/reillys-bullet