Author of Irish Adventure/Thriller, Jon Michael Riley,
appearing in person for wine reception, book signing, and discussion at
Malaprops in downtown Asheville, NC April 6, 2015 at 6:30 pm
Visit Malaprops event page for directions
Well-known novelist, Vicki Lane, author of The Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mysteries, says this: “Jon Michael Riley dreams the dawn with the eye of a photographer, the passion of the environmentalist, and the soul of a lover. His delicious descriptions of Ireland are the setting for an intricate Robin Hood caper and a heartfelt love story.”
Jon Michael Riley is the author of Dream the Dawn, an environmental adventure/thriller, loosely based on a particularly interesting event in Ireland—a major, long-term environmental protest (well-known in Europe, unknown in the USA) which became known as the Shell-to-Sea Campaign. The initial focus was on the Rossport Five—five subsistence farmers jailed for ten months because they refused to go along with Shell-Statoil-Irish government’s wishes. Mr. Riley became aware of this contentious environmental drama early on and found detailed online and Irish newspaper articles about corporate and governmental chicanery.
The true story behind this fictional rendition began when Royal Dutch Shell, Swedish Statoil, and other Big Energy concerns, along with the Irish and British governments, planned a major on-shore high-pressure gas pipeline near Rossport, County Mayo. The Corrib Gas Pipeline would emerge from the sea at Glengad and cross nine kilometers of bogland to a gas processing plant that was under construction when he began writing Dream the Dawn in 2008. The disregard for safety issues, citizen rights, and using the state police to enforce corporate wishes seemed worthy of a story that might involve a New York photographer.
There are comparisons to be made between the fictional story and the true story of the author’s life. Jon Michael Riley is of Irish heritage and, before focusing his creative talents on writing, he was a studio and location photographer of considerable reputation in New York City with clients like Audi, IBM, AT&T, and Coca-Cola.
As a long-time subscriber of The Irish Echo, Jon followed the Shell-to-Sea environmental protest and after the Gulf Oil disaster, he recognized that both events had much in common. When the BP-Deep Water Horizon disaster occurred in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, he couldn’t help but see direct connections to the Corrib Gas pipeline issue. What if someone had intervened in BP’s safety infractions?
“I wanted to write an action story where the environmentalists actually win. The Shell-to-Sea is a true David and Goliath drama and with a big dose of fiction and drama. I created an environmental protest action thriller and kept the local color, flavor, and historical accuracy without using any of the real place names, hence the village of Glenboy, a stand-in for Rossport.”
Jon and his wife Catherine spent a lot of time in Ireland and Jon’s first book was of Irish photography, The Irish File-Images from a Land of Grace, in 2002. Since then, Jon has worked on a photo-image book on Ireland’s myriad sacred sites, including Holy Wells, pre-Christian as well as Christian sites and, more recently, places sacred to the founding of the Irish Republic.
Jon is a member of NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House and has supplied them with portraits of Tory Island artists. He’s also a graduate of the Atlanta College of Art, lived and studied in Paris on a French Government Scholarship, and attended New York University’s Graduate Institute of Film and Television.
About the Book
In Ireland to cover America’s most daring rock climber, successful New York photographer, Channey Moran, witnesses a rogue wave sweep the climber off a sea cliff. Joining in the search and rescue mission, Channey meets a cast of Irish characters, including award-winning photojournalist, Glennie MacDonald.
Discovering an impending international petro-crime, Channey seeks to understand the issues. But eco-mercenaries, led by an eccentric and brilliant leader, kidnap him from a remote monastic island and take him aboard the now hijacked Solon Maru, the world’s largest pipe-laying ship.
Two things might save Channey’s life: his uncanny knowledge of Irish history, learned as a child from his father, and the love of a remarkable woman he cannot have, Glennie MacDonald, the beautiful but married photographer from Killarney, who refuses to let Channey die.