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Johnny O'Brien - Author

About the Author

"Hi - my name is Johnny O'Brien.  I grew up in the Borders in Scotland.  I write mostly at the weekend - during the week I have a 'proper' job in an office where I work for a range of sinister global corporations.  These days I live in the south of England and have four sheep and a springer spaniel with floppy ears.  I am also married and have three kids - they all have normal ears!"

Johnny O’Brien was inspired to write the novel after seeing some of his grandad’s war medals in an old cupboard. “A few years ago my dad showed me some medals that his dad (my grandfather) had received during the First World War.  He explained that my grandfather had been injured in the war and had later lost part of his leg.  Apparently, my grandfather was reluctant to speak about how he got the injuries or how he won the medals. I don’t really know why.  But I know what he did was brave – because I have a citation at home signed by the ‘Minister of War’ - Winston Churchill. Anyway, unlike millions of others, my grandfather survived the war and went on to have children and live to a ripe old age – although I never knew him. It got me thinking though.  He made important choices in his life – he chose to fight in the war.  It seems he chose to do something brave.  Later he chose to have a family.  If he had made different choices, of course, I might not be here.”

Q and A with Johnny O’Brien

Where did the idea for Day of the Assassins come from? 
My wife, Sally, said that as I was always telling the kids stories I should write a book for kids.  I told her the idea was ridiculous.  Then, sometime later, I was looking through a cupboard at my Dad's house.  We came across some of his old medals and things from when he was an officer in the Irish Guards in the First World War.  There was an old trench telescope, a citation signed by Winston Churchill and even a bit of bone that he'd kept when he'd had his leg amputated after he was injured in 1918! That got me thinking...

How does it feel to have your first book published?
Great!  I hope people like it.

What sort of research did you do for the book? 
Well, I did history at university so that helped and the kids have been going through the GCSE curriculum - so I've been learning all sorts of new bits and pieces. Other than that it's mostly reading or the internet.  It's surprising the range you have to cover - everything from where the guns are
located on a Dreadnought to what time the sun sets in late June in Austria!

If you did have a time machine, which other eras of history would you like to
visit, or which historical characters would like to go back and meet?

The list is endless and there are lots of things that I'd like to have seen: in British history - the Battle of Britain, the Armada, Waterloo... probably nothing much original there... but there are also some questions it would be good to find out the answer to: who killed the Princes in the tower? (Or JFK for that matter) or further back how did Neanderthals co-exist with Homo Sapiens... in terms of people, well of course there are usual suspects – from Churchill to Cleopatra – but the person I would really like to meet is my Grand Dad – as I was too young to know him – and I would like to know about his experiences in the war and how he was injured.  I have never managed to find out.

Back to the Future or Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure?

Back to the Future – if only to see a DeLorean go at 88 MPH – although I understand in the later films they replaced the engine with a Porsche engine to give the car the requisite zip!

The Tardis or The SS Enterprise?
Tardis.  Enterprise has just too much tight nylon in a confined space – got to be a fire hazard.

What books did you read as a child? 
Oh Dear.  Ant and Bee; Richard Scarry's 'Busy Busy World'; Herge (the Tintin Books) endlessly, Goscinny and Underzo (the Asterix books) endlessly.  And that was about it.

What book would you take to a desert island and why?

Simon Schama's a History of Britain - it's very long – and it might sink in second time round.

What book character would you like to have been, or have met? 

Captain Haddock - lots of scope for misbehaviour, but a heart of gold.  Great house too, lots of strange friends and a cellar full of treasure.   What more could you want?

Where and when do you write?
I have an office at home - so usually it’s there at the weekend if I get a chance. Usually the dog comes and snoozes at my feet.  I've never understood a  dog can sleep so much during the day... and then all night as well!

How would you describe Day of the Assassins in one sentence? 

A time travel adventure set in a (reasonably!) accurate historical context.  The idea was that if you read it, you'd have fun - and you might even learn something by mistake in the process.  Sorry that's two sentences - three in fact.

What's next for Jack and Angus?
They're donning doublet and hose and heading back to the sixteenth century.  Why?  To save the world of course...  But I've ditched the idea of writing it in iambic pentameters...

Featured books by Johnny O'Brien

Other books by Johnny O'Brien

Day Of Vengeance

Day Of Vengeance

Author: Johnny O'Brien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/09/2011

Jack Christie is back with an explosive mission - can a teenage time-traveller stop the Second World War going nuclear? Travelling back to the 1940s, Jack finds the world at a crucial turning point as the Nazis threaten world domination. Risking everything, Jack must protect the past to the save the world as we know it. High octane and high speed - the third of the JACK CHRISTIE ADVENTURES takes Jack on the ride of his life.

Day Of Deliverance

Day Of Deliverance

Author: Johnny O'Brien Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/06/2010

Jack Christie is back: teenager, time-traveller, protector of the past - and now the future rests in his hands again. Jack travels back to an Elizabethan England riddled with treacherous plots. Amid sea battles, sword fights and subterfuge, Jack must defend the life of the queen, her kingdom, and the world as we know it. Dark dealings and deadly intrigue set the scene for this second thrilling journey in the JACK CHRISTIE ADVENTURES.

Day Of The Assassins

Day Of The Assassins

Author: Johnny O'Brien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/02/2010

Tanks, spies and assassinations - history just got interesting! When teenager Jack Christie stumbles upon a time machine and a secret time-travelling society his life changes forever. Jack is catapulted back to the start of the First World War, where the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand is about to throw the world into chaos. Should he intervene? Will he survive? The future of mankind is in Jack's hands. The first dangerous mission in the Jack Christie Adventures sets the pace at full throttle and the stakes as high as they go.

Day of the Assassins

Day of the Assassins

Author: Johnny O'Brien Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/06/2009

The year: 1914. The place: Sarajevo. The mission: assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Jack Christie and his friend Angus are caught up in a major event that will dramatically change the future. Should they intervene? And, more importantly, will they survive?

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