J. F. KIRWAN

Name: J.F. Kirwan

Born: January 4

Nationality: British

Lives: Just outside Paris, France

Profession: Thriller writer for HarperCollins

Interests: Scuba-diving and martial arts (ex-instructor in both)

Travels: 52 countries and counting…

After school J.F. Kirwan studied psychology, then worked in heavy industries, including offshore oil rigs in the North Sea, and nuclear power plants in the UK, US and Japan. Lately he’s been working with airplane safety, which enables him to travel to some far-flung places.

His job is about trying to prevent large-scale accidents. Having studied them for years gives him a sense of how catastrophic events start off slow, simmer awhile, then gather speed and accelerate towards the final event. He uses this experience when writing, and calls it tourniquet plotting. He also spent years as a martial artist, training in Hong Kong, and knows a thing or two about writing fight scenes. But his main passion is diving. He used to be an instructor, and has dived all over the world, and so all three books have an underwater element. Readers – whether divers or not – often say that the books are most vivid in the underwater scenes.

After a scuba-diving injury, and surgery on his back, he couldn’t dive for eighteen months. He missed it so much he started a novel about a young woman, Nadia, who was coerced into working for the Mafia. A fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, as well as other thriller writers such as David Baldacci, Stieg Larsson and Andy McNab, he wanted to create a female protagonist who could mete out justice when required. What started out as a bit of fun gathered momentum as a couple of agents got interested, and then HarperCollins snapped it up with a three-book deal.