It’s quiet in the reading room as I sit down with author, music lover and shoe enthusiast Regan O’Leary. Ms. O’Leary is the author of two books; Closer to Home and What One Leaves Behind, and someone who is very kind and supportive of other writers.
We’re both in the comfy leather chairs and we have a small table between us, with two glasses and a bottle to keep us company. I pour and hand her a glass.
Drew: I got the whisky in, as you requested.
Drew: So would you to take a moment and savor? Or shall we go straight to the interrogation?
Regan: Straight to the interrogation
Drew: Ok then. So you have two novels currently available, both featuring your rough and ready protagonist “Bane” Shaw. What brought him to life for you?
Regan: Bane Shaw grew out of my imagination. He’s the perfect-imperfect man who captures a woman’s heart with his Scottish charm and bad boy attitude. He was brought to life to keep a promise to my brother.
Drew: Your brother?
Regan: Yes. Long story, but my oldest brother, Mark, inspired me to create and write Bane Shaw.
Drew: Were the two of you close?
Regan: Very close.
Drew: So, in part, your books are a way of honoring him?
Regan: Not so much. He simply encouraged me and inspired me to pursue writing; something I’d wanted to do for a very long time.
Drew: Now you mentioned Shaw is Scottish and the second book, What One Leaves Behind, is set in Scotland. Since you grew up in Louisiana, what is it that attracts you to Scotland so much?
Regan: I’m Scots-Irish by heritage. We are a very proud people. I’ve visited my homeland (Scotland and Ireland) several times and completely fallen in love with the countries that grew my people and molded my life.
Drew: You’ll be making me homesick in a minute. Do you have any extra special places to visit when you’re there?
Regan: I love Edinburgh and Glasgow; two totally different cities that epitomize Scotland. But, my favorite places are the small towns along the beautiful lochs where Scotland is the most picturesque and magical. Places many tourists miss seeing.
Drew: And you obviously appreciate one of the main exports.
I take a moment to refill our glasses.
Regan: Yes, I do appreciate the Scots whisky, not to be confused with whiskey
Drew: Indeed. Some people get surprised when you try to tell them there’s a difference. You also have a great love of your home in the states. Last year, you devoted proceeds from the sale of Closer to Home to help with flood relief in Louisiana, isn’t that right?
Regan: Yes. Most of my friends and family lost everything in the epic flood last August.
Drew: I remember reading the very touching piece you wrote about the events. It must have been quite a traumatic time for you all.
Regan: It truly was. But, Louisianans are a resilient people…nothing keeps us down.
Drew: You mentioned earlier that you had wanted to write for a long time. Was there something particular that put you on that path?
Regan: Writing has always been a part of my life. There came a day when I could devote the time to pursue it and I’m enjoying it immensely.
Drew: And speaking as someone who read Closer to Home, your readers are enjoying it as well. So, is there more “Bane” still to come or are you thinking of something different next?
Regan: Well, What One Leaves Behind is Bane Shaw’s continuing story that takes place in Glasgow, as you mentioned. I’m writing the third installment of his story that I plan to publish this year, and will shock my readers! I also have a short story mystery “Atchafalaya” that I plan to publish as well. After that, I plan to collaborate with another author on a thriller novel that is also set in Baton Rouge.
Drew: Sounds like you have plenty to keep you busy then.
Drew: A big part of the Shaw books is his and Bronagh’s love of music. Something you share, I believe?
Regan: I do. Music speaks to the soul. It’s touching, heartbreaking, depressing, loving…it’s all about the frame of mind. Music speaks to everyone. I’m a music junkie and music is always a part of my writing, whether I’m jamming while writing or finding a tune that fits the plot.
Drew: Are there any favorite songs you’ve wanted to put in the books but just haven’t found a place for them yet?
Regan: No, not at all. Music finds its way. It always does. I can’t imagine a written scene that I can’t equate to a favorite song.
Drew: Earlier I called you a shoe enthusiast, is that fair?
Regan: Well…let’s just say I lease an apartment that houses all of my shoes and boots (plus the hats!)
Drew: Oh yes, can’t forget the importance of a good hat. Shall we do some random questions next?
Drew: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Regan: Dick and Jane (a Reader)
Drew: What are you currently reading?
Regan: A new James Lee Burke book
Drew: Are you a big fan?
Regan: Of Burke? Absolutely!
Drew: Have you ever met him or any other authors you admire?
Regan: Yes. I met Jim at a book signing in New Iberia, LA…great guy!
Drew: If you could have dinner or drinks with any author (alive or dead) who would you choose?
Drew: Who’s your favorite Muppet?
Regan: Oscar the grouch.
Drew: Tell us two truths and a lie about you. And don’t say which is which.
Regan: I’m fiercely loyal, I now live on a private island, and I’m in love with my real life Bane Shaw.
Drew: Regan, thank you very much for taking the time for this. I’m looking forward to reading What One Leaves Behind.