Michael Bolan

I grew up in the wilds of Ireland, surrounded by remnants of a forgotten age - Donegore rath, Slemish mountain, Ossian's grave - mystical places which lend reality to the stories behind them. But Ireland, for all of its beauty, is a small country, and as Longfellow said, "A boy's will is the wind's will", so I left to see the world. I have been gone more than two decades and I'm still admiring the view. Over that time, I have talked, argued, laughed and sung in myriad languages, hearing stories as rich and varied as those of my home. I grew up in a reading household, so it was natural for me to lift a book at an early age. That continued for several years, and then I promptly stopped. It was the most literary (or softest) teenage rebellion in history, but it took a deal with my mother (any book I wanted was bought for me, no quibbling) to get me back into a book. I started with fantasy, expanded into sci-fi, then into adventure. A sojourn in Prague in the mid-90s, when English books were hard to come by, saw me read most of the Penguin Popular Classics series. Going back to random fiction after that, left me somewhat cold, as I realised that many authors were simply not that good at telling a story. It has only taken me two decades to try and do better myself, a time which saw me learn a couple of new languages, live in several different countries, build a corporate career and a successful private business and see (and do) some of the craziest things. Oh, and I became a father. Twice. I devote my non-work time to playing with my two sons, rugby, reading and enjoying gin. I also still run my own business, but that is, quite literally, another story...