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The outstanding reviews for my next Guest Star tell it all…

“Touted by many as Ireland’s answer to JK Rowling, Healy writes with imagination and wit” ~Andrea Byrne, The Independant, February 28, 2010

Tommy Storm is a knockout achievement that succeeds on so many levels…”~Tony Hickey, Village Magazine

“AJ Healy takes (you) on a rollicking yet philosophical ride across the galaxy~Inis

“Blockbuster…” ~The Irish Times (Nov. 14, 2009)

HDYGT:  Welcome AJ Healy! Please tell our readers how you became a ROCK STAR!! Woo Hoo!! Yeah!

AJ Healy:        Uh… I’m a writer.

HDYGT:              Of course you are! All the best Rockers write their own music, except for Elvis.

AJ Healy:        I mean– I’m not a musician.  I write books. TommyStorm & the Galactic Knightsis my second cross-over novel, for adults and kids aged 11+.

HDYGT:  Yeah!Tommy Storm & the Galactic Knights!! Didn’t you write Knights in White Satin?

AJ Healy:        No. That was the Moody Blues, and—

HDYGT:  (singing) Knights in white satin, never reaching the end–

AJ Healy: —and I wasn’t even born when that came out.

HDYGT:  That’s so profound! I was re-born, too, when I read Tommy Storm & the Galactic Knight’s politically in-tune lyrics. My favourite’s  “I’m A-Sad-Bin-Liner” about all the trash bags that are feeling empty and lonely because everyone’s recycling these days.

AJ Healy:        That’s actually a reference to Osama bi—

HDYGT:  And—

AJ Healy:        (forced to raise his voice just a tad)       Sorry for interrupting, but Tommy Storm & the Galactic Knights is a book that’s just been published by Quercus, it’s the sequel to Tommy Storm, which—

HDYGT:  —toured in 2006, man! I know all about it. It hit the Top of the Charts, and I read that Tommy Storm & the Galactic Knights has already been called a “BLOCKBUSTER” by the Irish Times!! I do my research, especially with Rock Stars.

AJ Healy:        (wonders if he’s being interviewed in a parallel universe)

HDYGT:  So is Quercus the name of your new Rock Opera?

AJ Healy:        No. (takes deep breath) Here on Earth in 2009, Quercusis my publisher. Tommy Storm & the Galactic Knights is my BOOK… B-O-O-K.

HDYGT:              Right.

AJ Healy:        Are we good?

HDYGT:              We’re good.

AJ Healy:        Good.

HDYGT:              So you’re BOOKED on tour where? I know our readers are dying to hear Tommy Storm perform.  Hey, that rhymes!

AJ Healy:        (smiling on the outside) In bookshops across the UK and Ireland,

also worldwide on the internet, and many on-line stores.

HDYGT:  Cool tour– Bookshops Rock! So what do you like most about being a—

AJ Healy:        —a WRITER? I like the commute, bed to desk can take 60 seconds. I also love the state of losing myself completely in the writing.  My imagination roams free and I am just in the moment – without any thought for the past or future.

HDYGT:              Spoken like a true Rocker.

AJ Healy:        Writer.

HDYGT:              Whatever. What qualities make you particularly suited to —?

AJ Healy:        —being a writer?

HDYGT:  (thinks ‘Cool the way this Rocker and I can finish each other’s sentences, like we’re riding the same wave.’)

AJ Healy:        Well, I’m lazy, have an overdeveloped imagination, and an underdeveloped appreciation for the monthly salary.  Plus I’m lucky to be able to express my thoughts in the written word.

HDYGT:  So…what you’re saying is…you’ve started writing, too!? That’s impressive, you’re multi talented!

AJ Healy:        (decides HDYGTs tripped over a worm hole and fell on her head)

HDYGT:  Are these writing ‘qualities’ something you Rockers work on or are they innate?

AJ Healy:        The laziness, overdeveloped imagination and underdeveloped salary appreciation are innate.  The ability to express my thoughts on paper is probably partly innate, but it’s also a skill that develops over time.  In some of my previous jobs, I’ve had to write reports, letters, or plans, which definitely works the writing muscle, toning it for use as a novelist.

HDYGT: What were some of your previous jobs?

AJ Healy:        I worked for myself, helping start-up companies get going and advising established companies on strategy and on big negotiations.

HDYGT:  Did that lead into your being a Roc—?

AJ Healy:        —Writer? No. Turning to writing was a leap away from corporate life, to a more fulfilling yet more uncertain path.

HDYGT:  How did you get from the corporate world to where you are today?

AJ Healy:        A lot of my work dried up after the attacks of 9/11, and it was a time for me to take stock of my life.  I’d always wanted to be a writer, so I stopped looking for work, lived like a student and wrote for six months.  For the next four years I tried to find a publisher – to no avail – so, against all advice, I self-published Tommy Storm.  It sold a few thousand copies in Ireland and then Quercus bought the rights to it, relaunched it in 2008 and paid me an advance to write Tommy Storm & the Galactic Knights.

HDYGT:  So this writing thing has been as successful as your music career?

AJ Healy:        (resigned) I’d say it’s been even more successful.

HDYGT:  What else have you done in your past?

AJ Healy:        I started out working for Goldman Sachs in London.  If you stay there, working in high finance, you’re likely to earn millions.  Which is why people thought I was crazy to jump ship before the big bucks started flowing.

HDYGT:  But you followed your passion?

AJ Healy:        I left to start a brick factory in a township in South Africa just after Nelson Mandela got into power. This was my idealistic period, though I got it beaten out of me somewhat.

HDYGT: A brick fell on your head?

AJ Healy:        I got held up at gun point by a drug-crazed robber in a South African township, whose main form of greeting was: “I kill you, I kill you, I kill you.”

HDYGT:  I think I’d rather have a brick fall on my head.

AJ Healy: (imagines ways he might oblige HDYGT)

HDYGT:  (imagines Galactic Knights in White Satin running through Strawberry Fields Forever)

AJ Healy:        When it was happening I thought: “50/50 he shoots.  50/50 I die if he shoots… hmm… That’s a one-in-four chance that I die. Or 25% if expressed as a percentage.” Thankfully, the other 25% possibility (he shoots, I don’t die) is what happened.

HDYGT:  That’s an amazing story. Any life lessons you’d like to share?

AJ Healy:        Yes, I think I’ve gained valuable life experiences from everything I’ve done.  Among other things at Goldman, I learned what type of person I could be and didn’t like what I saw.  I realised very early on that money was not a motivating force in my life, so I’m still happy that I didn’t become a financial high-flyer.

In South Africa I learned what it is to think you’ve got five seconds to live – I become a maths nerd, expressing probabilities as fractions…  Plus I saw how a different culture lives.

Both Goldman and South Africa were extremes that probably helped broaden my mind and gave me new perspectives.

HDYGT:  Thank you AJ Healy, for taking us out of this world through your exciting adventures, both on and off the page– and as always, Thank you for Playing!!

Readers young and young(er): Fly out and get Tommy Storm & the Galactic Knights before Christmas– it’s a Blockbuster!!