Anthony Whelan 

Portal to The Thrillosophy Experience

Launch Report - Tuesday evening in Bord Gais Theatre

Well, what a night we had on Tuesday evening, at the Launch of Amy’s Amazon in the iconic Bord Gais Theatre. This Blog post describes the evening, and has excerpts from my speech.

The days leading up to the Launch were very hectic, making sure everything was ready and in place, that everyone knew their roles, and trying to encourage as many people as possible to attend. Like most people, I was a little bit nervous about having to speak to a room full of people; but I reserved most of my anxiety for wondering whether or not many people would show up.

I had set a minimum target of 50 people, but I was hoping we might be able to get as many as 100. On the night, about 120 people showed up, which was a really fantastic turnout, and I am hugely grateful to everyone who was able to take the time and trouble to attend.
Thanks as well, of course, to the many people who rang, emailed, texted, or messaged on FaceBook and LinkedIn to say they couldn’t make it, but wishing me the best for the evening.

So by 6PM we were set-up and ready to go, with the event due to start at 6:30. I waited anxiously, especially after getting so many kind messages earlier in the day from people who couldn’t make it – would anyone show up??? Thankfully, guests started arriving shortly after 6:30, and by 7PM the room was already buzzing. For an Irish event of course, that was fantastic, as we are not renowned for our Swiss-style efficient timekeeping!

A lot of the evening was a bit of a blur, if I’m honest, as there were so many people to chat to, old friends to catch up on all the news with, and new friends to meet and greet. We started the speeches at 7:30 or so, with my three fantastic children doing me the honour of introducing my guest speaker and myself.

My guest speaker was my old friend Morty, who gave a truly perceptive and illuminating introduction to the evening. I then spoke to maybe 15 minutes (excerpts from my speech below). The rest of the evening passed quicker than I could have believed possible, chatting, signing books, laughing and generally having the craic. By 10PM it was time to pack up, and then the remaining die-hards retired to Jackie’s pub in Bray for a few well-earned pints. By midnight it was time for bed, and the end of an exhausting, but truly thrilling, day.

For anyone who couldn’t make it along on the night, Amy’s Amazon (and indeed Laura’s Legacy, the first book in The Thrillosophy Trilogy) is now on sale on my website – please see http://www.anthonywhelan.ie/buy-now/amys-amazon.html/

I’ll finish up this post, just before the excerpts from my speech below, by once again thanking everyone for the support over recent weeks; and by asking for your further support in helping to spread the message of Amy’s Amazon far and wide with all of your friends �

I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear that I don’t intend to talk for too long. I want to tell you a little bit around what this new book, Amy’s Amazon, is all about; to talk a little about the Trilogy that it forms the middle work of; and to talk briefly about how I came to write in the first place. I will finish by reading a couple of excerpts from the novel, to give you a flavour of the different genres encompassed within the book.

So, what is Amy’s Amazon all about? Well, like my first book, Laura’s Legacy, Amy’s Amazon combines two genres. On the one hand it an fictional thriller; and on the other hand it is a philosophical work that poses questions for us to consider in our everyday lives.
On the thriller side, it is a story about a young woman who is in the Amazon, trying to save that incredible environment from the continuing destruction that she believes is threatening the ecosystem of the planet as a whole. She has become a target for Greenergy, a global energy company, which descends from trying to frustrate her environmental activism to attempting to murder her. When the PCIA, a shadowy organisation built on power and corruption that Amy fought in the first book, joins forces with Greenergy; Amy’s position becomes ever-more precarious. There is a night-time attack, a daring rescue against the odds, awesome firepower and a global conspiracy.
As the reader is drawn through the pages during Amy’s fight for her own survival and the survival of the Amazon, questions are posed on the nature of the environment, humanity’s relationship with the environment, and the morality of how we interact with the environment.
As Amy’s campaign grows, so do the dangers that her band of environmental activists face. Amy feels the enemy closing in and also senses in her own special way that she or one of her comrades may lose his or her Earthly life during this struggle. She is so close to success in her mission. Should she push on, knowing that someone might die? These are the questions that Amy must face!

As I mentioned, Amy’s Amazon is my second book, the first one having been Laura’s Legacy. These are the first two books in a Trilogy, which I call The Thrillosophy Trilogy.

Now, Thrillosophy is not a word that you will find in any dictionary – not yet, anyway. It is a word I have coined to describe the fusion of Thriller and Philosophy that gave rise to these books. My sense is that there are important questions being posed in these books, topics that we should all be thinking about.

Questions like:
• What is my purpose in Life?
• Who am I, or what is the essence of me?
• What is my relationship with the Environment?
• Indeed, what exactly is the environment; and on a wider sense, what is reality?
• And when it comes to the third book in the Thrillosophy Trilogy, Robbie’s Revelation, the questions will focus more on our society:
o Is the social and economic system that we have built, sustainable?
o If not, what do I need to do, to make it more equitable, more just, and more sustainable?

Now, I think these are important questions. And I have no doubt that many of you here this evening have read authors who talk much more knowledgeably and wisely about these matters than I ever could. From Socrates and Plato of old, to the current teachers like Eckhart Tolle, Paolo Coelho, Deepak Chopra, to mention but a few.

But herein lies the rub. I think the people who naturally go the section of a bookshop that stocks these types of books, are already thinking about these questions. I want to reach the people who wouldn’t typically pick up a book by Tolle or Coelho. And so it is that I write fictional thrillers, where the philosophy is woven into the story, hopefully in a way that still allows the reader to enjoy the fiction; but that might prompt them to consider these questions for themselves.

So that is the purpose of The Thrillosophy Trilogy. To encourage people to think about the important questions of Life, which is in itself a pre-requisite to change. And to do so through a medium that is hopefully enjoyable and exciting in its own right.

So, that’s what we’re about. Opening the door to new ideas. Or in truth, opening the door to old ideas, but old ideas that maybe we need to do some new thinking about.

Before I go on to read some short excerpts from Amy’s Amazon, let me talk a little about the writing process itself, or at least my experience of it. Many people have asked me how I could write a book like this – a typical question is “You?! You wrote a book?! You?!�. And yes, the question, at least when asked by people who know me well, does tend to have that tone of dis-belief!
Like everyone, I’ve had highs and lows during my life, be it physical issues like a farm accident that left me temporarily wheelchair-bound, to emotional challenges. During one phase of my life that I found particularly difficult, I felt a desperate need to do something different with my life, something that would be of value and that would be my contribution, my giving back; and so I was searching for another purpose in my life. And one day, the answer came to me like a bolt out of the blue. It arrived in a single instant, fully formed “I am going to write a book�. The idea was fully formed, but if I’m honest, I was doubtful. What? Write a book? Who, me? How?

At different events, I have had so many people say to me “That’s amazing, that you wrote a book. I wish I could do that�. But I have to tell you that I firmly believe that anyone can write a book. The essence of any book is its story, and anyone can tell a story. If you want to write a book, I say to you … “Go for it�. Sit down, and start writing. See what happens. In the hope that it might be of some support and guidance to you, allow me to tell you the story of how I wrote my first novel, Laura’s Legacy.

So, I had the Eureka moment in 2004 – I’m going to write a book. In some ways, the process is still a complete mystery to me. I know after eight years of writing that to write new material (as opposed to editing something I’ve already written), I need to get away. I don’t need peace and quiet, but I do need to be away from my usual environment, preferably for at least a month each time. I think my mind needs to clear itself of all the humdrum day-to-day trivia of office job, commuting, housework, paying the household bills, etc. Once I get away, I sit down and start typing. I can’t tell you where the story comes from – once I clear my mind and relax, the story simply arises. When I start typing, depending on what is happening at that point in the story, I might or might not have a vague idea of what is about to happen. Nevertheless, I am regularly surprised by the twists and turns that the story takes, despite being the person writing the story. So, to me, it feels as though I am simply writing down a story that someone is telling me – I can’t claim the credit for either the fiction or the philosophy – my role is just to write it down, and get it out into the world. After that, it over to you guys to decide if it’s a story and a message worth spreading.

OK – I hope you won’t mind bearing with me just a little bit longer, and I will read you two short excerpts from Amy’s Amazon, so that you can get a flavour of both sides of the book – the thriller and the philosophy.

Excerpt 1 is taken from the first Chapter, where our heroine Amy is staging a sit-down protest in the middle of the Amazon.
EXCERPT 1
So, that’s the first excerpt. We leave Amy in imminent danger, but as you read through the book you will be able to follow Amy on her journey.

This second excerpt is also from relatively early in the book, Chapter 3. Amy is talking to her companions about why they are risking their lives for an environmental cause.
EXCERPT 2

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you again for your support. Please keep in touch both personally and via all of the channels you see on the website here, and keep spreading the word �

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