Beginner's pluck: SA Dunphy

A voracious reader, Shane always liked crime. He was first published aged 11, getting a story in a collection by children for children, but he was so badly teased for writing it, that he didn’t try again for many years.

At 16, Shane was in a band and his mother encouraged him to play his guitar for her class of children with special needs.

“They were so open, and I decided I wanted to work with kids.” He worked in child protection for a few years, meanwhile accumulating more qualifications, and he was encouraged to write a book based on his experiences. Wednesday’s Child spawned another eight books based on real cases.

Then, teaching full time, Shane also wrote for newspapers. “It became all-consuming, and in the last few years I have stepped back.”

The last two books included a mystery element, and Shane and his editor agreed it was time for him to try fiction. “I had a great time writing it. I loved being in that world.”

Who is SA Dunphy?

Date/place of birth: 1973 in Brighton, England. The family moved to Wexford when he was 2.

Education: St Peter’s Wexford. Waterford IT. Diploma in Childcare, Degree, Master, and PhD.

Home: Wexford.

Family: Wife Deirdre. Children, Richard 31; Marnie 18. Grandson Rhys, 4. Dogs Lulu and George.

The Day Job: Teaching childcare at the Waterford College of Education. Some consultancy work.

In Another Life: “I’d have been a musician.”

Favourite Writers: Robert B Parker; John Connolly; Anthony Bourdain; Arthur Conan Doyle.

Second Novel: “I’ve started, While She was Gone. It’s a sequel, kicking off hours after this one happens.”

Top Tip: “Just write. It doesn’t matter if the first 100 pages are complete rubbish. And you must read.”

Twitter: @Dunphyshane1

The Debut

After She Vanished; Hachette Books Ireland, €11.99/Kindle, €1.11

David Dunnigan is a mess. He’s a criminology lecturer and a consultant for a specialist investigations unit in Dublin, but he’s hanging onto both jobs by a thread. Eighteen years earlier, shopping with his niece, 4, Beth let go of his hand and disappeared. He can’t forgive himself.

The Verdict: A crime book with beautifully drawn characters.


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