He wrote a children’s novel in transition year.
“It wasn’t any good, but I had learned I could do it. In college, I concentrated on short films.”
Alan got the idea for his debut from a documentary about the tunnels that run through Dublin. He was particularly interested in the Poddle, which runs under the Liffey. Knowing a movie based on the Vikings would be prohibitively expensive, he decided to write it as prose.
Date of birth: January 20, 1983, Leitrim.
Education: Marian College in Mohill Co Leitrim. The National Film School, Dun Laoghaire.
Family: Parents and one brother.
The Day Job: A freelance designer and writer.
Hobbies: “I’m still passionate about film.”
Favourite Writers: Neil Gaiman. “I really like his style of fantasy. It’s set in the real world but he uses a lot of mythology. His work has had a strong influence on me.”
Second Novel: “This was the first of a trilogy. I’ve got the next two written, and I have a few small ideas for other children’s books.”
Top Writing Tip: “Not to write what you know; but to write something that really interests you. I didn’t know anything about the Vikings before I started the book, but the more I got into it, the more interested I became.”
Arthur Quinn and the World Serpent. Mercier Press: €8.99.
When Arthur’s father is offered a job working on the Metro Tunnel, Arthur has to move house and schools. Exploring the tunnel on a school outing, he and his friends discover a secret left by the Vikings. Can they stop the World Serpent from destroying the world?
“I wanted this to be a Dublin story. I’ve always loved Dr Who, but I’ve wondered what a monster would do if he was rampaging through Dublin.”
The Verdict: A clever blend of fantasy and the every day. It’s like Harry Potter, Dublin style.