About Gary McAvoy
Gary McAvoy has turned his mind and expertise to many pursuits in life, and has been a working writer through all of it. Skills honed in his twenties—writing columns for a small-town weekly newspaper and articles for a regional Southern California magazine—laid a foundation for corporate communications work supporting his own and clients’ businesses, and later to authoring nonfiction books and novels. Fascination with cryptology and intelligence during his U.S. Army tour in Germany triggered Gary’s lifelong entrepreneurial interests blending communications with information technology—and his lifelong passion for European travel.
Following his years of military service, Gary built a number of successful ventures in Southern California before being drawn to the Pacific Northwest in the 1990s by the promise of its burgeoning software industry. His immersion with startups in that field led to leadership positions with the Washington Software Alliance and his first book, Cracking the New E-conomy: Business Tools for the Entrepreneur, with his passion for literary works and historical collectibles forming engaging side interests.
As it often is with entrepreneurs, each of Gary’s endeavors spilled over into the next to create intriguing opportunities. Among these was meeting and working with world-renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall, which fostered a close and lasting bond that led to their collaborative work on Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating and years of volunteer work on behalf of the Jane Goodall Institute, and later, the Seattle Humane Society.
A collector of handwritten documents spanning fields of history, literature, and entertainment, in 1998 Gary launched Vintage Memorabilia, where he gained a following as a reputable dealer of first edition books and vintage letters and manuscripts. It was here where the many strands of interest and accomplishment that marked his various ventures over the years blended in a complex and thoroughly unexpected weave, when in 2012 a client approached Gary with an intriguing historical consignment that would form the basis for his 2019 book, And Every Word Is True, a fresh look at the investigation of the 1959 Clutter murder case made famous in Truman Capote’s book In Cold Blood.
1962 letter from Truman Capote to KBI Special Agent Harold Nye
Growing up in a large Catholic family, Gary has always had a fascination with the Vatican and its global influence, and the people who devote their lives to its work. He attended a Jesuit seminary for a short time himself, but later decided his life would be better informed as an agnostic writer—though his interest in the power of faith never left him, resulting in his foray into fiction with The Magdalene Chronicles and Vatican Secret Archive Thrillers series of historical suspense novels.
About Ronald L. Moore
A note from Gary: While I was working on The Opus Dictum, writer and fellow polymath Ron Moore had contributed such great ideas that we have since periodically collaborated on a few books, starting with The Petrus Prophecy.
Ron Moore brings a lifetime of diverse interests to his writing. Ron completed an undergraduate degree in Biology from University of California Riverside, and subsequently obtained a Juris Doctor from Western State University College of Law (Valedictorian, Law Review), a master’s degree in Forensic Toxicology from the University of Florida, and an AA in culinary arts from Saddleback College.
In his retirement, and apart from writing, he is pursuing AA degrees in Astronomy, Philosophy, Photography, Health Sciences, and perhaps others just for fun. Ron spent over 18 years working in forensics and CSI, then practiced law for 8 years before returning to forensics as a private toxicology consultant. He was a reserve deputy sheriff for over 14 years, assigned to the Search and Rescue unit. He was also a Sergeant of the Bloodhound Team and handled a cadaver detection canine, as well as participating in bicycle patrol, rope rescue, and command post operations.
Ron holds a black belt in Judo, a brown belt in Aikido, and a General class amateur radio license. For four years he was an Emergency Medical Technician. He also obtained a Catholic Lay Ecclesial Minister certificate.
Ron lives in Southern California with his wife, a cat, and the latest foster German Shepherd (currently foster #26). Their daughter is away at college (after being homeschooled from K-12). In his spare time, Ron enjoys cycling, kayaking, hiking, camping, golf and ukulele. He watches a lot of movies and reads a lot of thrillers, and is, like Gary, an Apple fan boy. You can visit his website at www.ronaldlmoore.com.
Frequently Asked Questions about Gary McAvoy
Authors are often asked many questions about their books and work habits, both from readers and other writers, and here I’ve chosen ten of the most commonly asked such questions with candid answers. Hope you find them helpful!
What is the nature of your work? What’s behind your stories?
My writing primarily focuses on unveiling hidden histories and challenging established narratives. I favor combining real historical facts with elements of fiction, crafting intricate mysteries that push readers to question widely accepted truths.
My stories often feature strong characters who grapple with large, institutional structures and historical secrets. I enjoy exploring the theme of individuals against powerful entities and navigating complex labyrinths of deceit and betrayal. I also like to tackle societal issues, such as gender and power dynamics within institutions.
In terms of the thematic and stylistic focus, my writing combines elements of suspense, history, and intrigue. This provides a unique blend of fast-paced plot progression with moments of contemplative reflection on history and society.
The nature of my work implies a belief in the power of resilience, courage, and conviction, and a pursuit for truth, no matter how deeply it’s buried. These themes are reflected not only in the broader arc of the narrative but also in the personal growth and journeys of my characters.
In summary, my stories are deeply invested in the interplay between history and the present, unearthing secrets, and questioning established narratives with a strong emphasis on individual courage and societal critique.
What other writing have you done?
Apart from my fiction, which I started publishing in 2020, I’ve written nonfiction in And Every Word Is True, which many have lauded as a sequel to Truman Capote’s masterwork In Cold Blood; and I co-authored Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating with the eminent primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall and Gail Hudson. In much earlier years I’d written on a variety of topics for magazines and newspapers.
What made you choose the Historical Fiction genre?
I’ve been a suspense thriller and mystery fan since I was a young boy, starting with The Hardy Boys, then Ian Fleming’s masterful James Bond stories and on to Robert Ludlum’s gripping thrillers, the Bourne series among them. My work isn’t truly Historical Fiction—in which the stories usually take place entirely in a past era—but all my books draw from actual early historical mysteries, persons, and events and are incorporated into each story set in modern times.
Where do you get your ideas?
Well, first, I’ve always been fascinated with the mysteries contained in the murky depths of the Vatican Secret Archives, not to mention the treasures of the Vatican Library. Some of the world’s finest art and sculpture grace the walls and halls of the Vatican, a place I’ve visited often in my travels.
As it also happens, I’ve been a professional collector and dealer of rare and historical manuscripts for some 35 years. I have a significant collection of medieval parchments, too, many signed by popes and cardinals of earlier centuries, written on vellum and other archaic materials. Those interested can check out my collection at Vintage Memorabilia.
Every ancient document has a story to tell, and holding one in your hands is an incomparable experience, literally being in touch with some long-ago personage who penned some relevant letter or document. It’s always given me a thrill, and I pass some of these experiences on to readers of my books, by way of Father Dominic and his own feelings about the treasures he’s responsible for.
I also subscribe to numerous biblical archeological publications and monitor news and trends in that field, which has proven fertile for fresh ideas.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing is the one thing I most look forward to every single day. I thrive on artistic creation, developing plots that engage, characters that readers can identify with and either love or loathe, and just have fun blending creative fiction with historical facts.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
When I began The Magdalene Chronicles series, I knew there was a finite limit to what I could write about, so I decided three books would suffice for that series. But, readers came to love the characters so much I decided to create a new series, Vatican Secret Archive Thrillers, which feature the same characters, places (old and new), and fresh, compelling adventures. So while each book can stand on its own, I always encourage readers to start with The Magdalene Deception, in which the characters are more fully fleshed out and readers get to know them much better for all following books.
What are your favorite authors to read?
Apart from Robert Ludlum and Ian Fleming’s older work, I’ve thrived on Michael Crichton’s amazing books, as well as Erik Larson, Daniel Silva, Ken Follett, Dan Brown, Brad Parks and Rob Samborn, among others . . . writers who tend to have taut, gripping, unpredictable, suspense-filled plots.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Research is the most fun I have while writing. I’m a curious person by nature, and am always absorbing news across a wide range of topics to glean subjects I can fold into my work. All of my books are based on some fascinating historical event or person(s), and once I’ve settled on which actual events to write about, my characters simply take their places in each story and become as interested as I am in the history they’re dealing with.
How many hours a day do you write?
From around 9:00 am to noonish you’ll find me doing administrative and marketing work: checking on the previous day’s sales and reviews, monitoring advertising effectiveness, managing email and social networks, and reading news. Then from noon until around 6:00 pm I write or research nonstop, with frequent breaks to stretch and clear my mind. This is my routine seven days a week.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I consider character naming one of the most important steps in building a book. I pore over databases of given and surnames for all nationalities, find a suitable given name for a particular character based on their role in a book, then give them a surname that, when blended, has just the right tone to it. Lastly, I google the name to make sure it doesn’t conflict with someone famous. Though there’s nothing stopping any writer from using most any name, I’m sensitive to such things myself—especially if the character is a noxious villain.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I’m happy to say I have very little ego tied to my work. I read every review, good or not so good, because I can learn from every one of them. Fortunately, the vast majority of all reviews for my books are 4-5 stars (and authors know when they’re being trolled by low ranking reviewers). My goal is to keep my readers happy and engaged, and if I’m not doing that, I’ll see it in the reviews.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Usually from four to six months on my own, but when working with Ron Moore, together we’re writing much more swiftly while retaining the quality we both expect. Then it goes to my editors, who take another month or so to verify logic and flow, plot development, character consistencies and such, proofing and copyediting, and generally polishing it for final publication. Another couple weeks of final setup tasks and it goes out for publication.