Unexpected Success for New Creative Writer

gerryosullivan book coverFirst-time creative writer and friend of our school, Gerry O’Sullivan, has self-published an ebook thriller, Gangsters of Shanghai, to unexpected international success.

He finds it’s been placed on the Amazon.com Kindle top 10 list in the historical thriller genre.

So far the book has sold over 19,000 copies. The sales on Amazon.com, Amazon.UK and the Goodreads website, have generated over a hundred reviews in the 5-star or 4-star category.

To research the novel, Gerry travelled to Brandeis University, Boston, where the top secret files of the Shanghai Municipal Police Special Branch have been kept on microfilm ever since they were smuggled out of Shanghai by the CIA in 1949. This treasure trove of information was the icing on the cake of Gerry’s previous research in having read background material for more than 10 years.

‘Pre-WWII Shanghai was a wild and crazy city, considered to be the most dangerous police beat in the world,’ is Gerry’s description of the place. As a boy growing up in Limerick, he marvelled at the fact that he had had two great-uncles who served as inspectors in the Shanghai police force in the 1920s.

‘Hopefully my novel, Gangsters of Shanghai, goes some small way towards putting the Shanghai municipal police back on the map,’ he says.

Gerry and his family spent about four months living in Singapore during 2009 while he wrote a first draft.

‘It might seem strange to have lived in Singapore while writing about Shanghai, but in fact Singapore is in many ways what Shanghai was in the 1920’s and 1930’s – an English-speaking, multicultural crossroads, a hub of business, technology and the arts,’ Gerry O’Sullivan explains.
‘But much safer for most people,’ he admits.
‘Another benefit in having lived in Singapore is that the city inspired me to write a sequel set there in the late 1930’s and 1940’s.’
‘Of course, I went on three research trips to Shanghai itself. I needed to walk the streets to get a feel for the place. Even though the city is now very built up, it has retained the same layout and much of the old architecture has been preserved.’

The working title of Gerry’s sequel, still in part-finished manuscript form, is ‘Spies of Singapore’.

Gerry recently took the opportunity to use an office at Sydney School of Arts & Humanities to begin the sequel, which he says was ‘an invaluable resource’.

Gerry describes how after his first novel was completed, he found a literary agent who approached several major publishers.
‘The feedback was positive but no company wanted to actually sign a contract.’

Meanwhile, Gerry completed two e-publishing courses at the Australian Society of Authors and then decided to take the plunge. He didn’t renew his agency contract, instead self-publishing on Amazon in Kindle eBook format.

Perhaps it’s an example of what seems like bad luck turning out to be the best thing that could have happened.

The book also generated a favourable review in an English-language Shanghai magazine, ‘City Weekend’ at http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/blog/book-review-gangsters-shanghai/Gerry O'Sullivan


Creative writer Gerry O’Sullivan can be contacted via this website www.ssoa.com.au/

or 0432 289 311 or email cvwilliams@ozemail.com.au

or directly on 0403 342 778 or email gerryosullivansydney@gmail.com

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