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Bijal Patel interview with Garry Ryan

CSL Blog

I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of interviewing Garry Ryan, a Canadian award winning writer based out of Calgary, Alberta. Garry has written the Detective Lane Series which consists of 10 books. He focuses on writing adult fiction, historical fiction and mystery novels.

I was interested in Garry’s because I was overall curious about his writing journey. I was interested in: his life changing events, his passion to write, and what affects his writing.


Questions and Answers

1-   From the information I have read about your many books it seems like a portion of inspiration derives from historical aspects of world wide history, why is that? Does it have meaning to you as a writer to connect your writing to history?

History is a foundation. We are shaped by our own histories and those of our ancestors. It is important to understand the significance of history, especially an accurate/honest history, to understand yourself and your characters. It bears repeating, the history must be accurate and honest.

2-   From the “Creativemornings”- Calgary video,  you say you chose Calgary as the hometown for the Detective Lane series to represent the culture of Calgary. Throughout your time there have you seen significant change of culture and if there has been do you bring that aspect into your book?

Calgary today is a kinder place than the one I grew up in. My early years were influenced by people who lived through the Depression and WWII. Those influences were compounded by the Cold War, the 60’s, and the systemic violence of Catholic school. Singapore came along at a crucial time and changed perspective on almost every aspect of how I process the environment.

3-   The transition from all boys Catholic school to a school in a Singapore seems very drastic. How do you think this transition affected you and your writing? Would you consider this biggest eye opening event in your life?

Being able to spend nearly two years in Southeast Asia while the Vietnam War was going on was formative. I attended an American school during the second year. Up until then I had been taught all the things I was incapable of. The philosophy of the American school was “Let’s see what you can do.” Thiapusam, Bugis Street, monsoons, culture shock, being a member of a minority, comprehending the basic humanity uniting us; it was mind blowing. It allowed me to see the world through the eyes of an insider and, more importantly, as an outsider. I became fascinated by the world beneath the veneer. That fascination has remained.    

4-   What do you get out of the Writers Guide Alberta?

That is a good question. The Writers’ Guild gave me the address of NeWest, my first publisher. I am forever in the Guild’s debt for this. It also provides opportunities like this to meet people like you.


“If you do get fresh eyes– if you start to see things as they are– you see some beautiful things and you see some ugly things. So you have to be…ready for that because not all knowledge is beauty”. -Garry Ryan


This quote by Garry Ryan spoke to me because I feel like it speaks the truth. That you can not only see the beautiful but also the ugly, and you have to be acceptive of that because it is part of life. It opens your eyes to your surroundings around you. I feel that this quote is gained through Garry’s experiences, background, and almost reflets Garry’s writing journey. It gives a  background context to his responses.

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