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Q&A | Gerry Boyle

Gerry Boyle leaning on a fence

Gerry Boyle began his writing career in newspapers. After graduating from Colby College, Boyle worked as a roofer, a postman, and a manuscript reader in New York City. However, his time in the city was cut short when Boyle realized that he preferred Maine to the bustle of Manhattan. His first reporting job was in the paper mill town of Rumford, Maine. His experiences as a reporter inspired his first novel, Deadline (1993), featuring his signature character Jack McMorrow. Boyle has now written fourteen gritty, authentic mysteries featuring McMorrow, who is now one of the most famous and popular recurring literary characters in Maine.

We've asked him some questions about wrapping up his iconic series.


After writing your first Jack McMorrow mystery, Deadline, did you foresee writing 13 more?

I didn't foresee writing a second McMorrow novel at that time. My goal was to finish the first one. McMorrow turned out to be hard to let go of. Fortunately, readers felt the same way. There was no guarantee of that when I first sat down to begin his story.

What is your writing routine like?

My writing routine is fairly disciplined. A few hours at the desk, preferably beginning early in the morning. The rest of the day and night is spent doing other things, but mulling over what I've written and what I'll be writing the next morning. When I'm in mid-novel, it's mostly on my mind. 

Looking back, what is your fondest memory of writing this series? 

I love finding out-of-the-way places in Maine and capturing them in my novels. The landscapes of these stories are snapshots in time, and I think they deserve to be preserved. It's a wonderful bonus that I get to populate these towns, woods, and country roads with people of my own invention. There is nothing more transporting for a writer than that moment when a character materializes and becomes real.

The world has changed since the debut. Do you think Jack McMorrow has changed? Have you changed?

We've evolved together, like longtime friends do. I knew him when he was reckless and wise-cracking, and watched as he matured over 14 novels. We've come to realizations about what's important, what's worth taking risks for. He has stayed true to his principles, though, and is a reminder to me to do the same.


What do you hope readers take away from Hard Line?

I hope the story reminds them of the value of people who are different from them, and that we need to leave the world a better place in some way. For McMorrow, that can be listening to the tatted-up clerk at the corner store, or making sure bullies don't win. For the rest of us, our contribution may be different, but we need to try to make one. Life is short. 

What is one question you’d like to be asked, and what’s the answer?

Are you glad you created Jack McMorrow and his mysterious world? Yes, my life would not have been the same without him. And I hope he's brought some pleasure, and maybe a few insights, to my readers.


Hard Line book cover

After thirty years, fourteen books, and countless thrills, award-winning author Gerry Boyle writes the exciting and bittersweet final chapter for his signature character Jack McMorrow in the gritty novel, Hard Line. In the dynamic, whipsaw finale, Boyle takes readers on a wild ride with everyone’s favorite investigative reporter—a ride that leaves no one unscathed. Filled with action ripped from current events and nods to old characters and past stories, Hard Line builds with breathtaking pace to a dramatic stand-off between the forces of violent chaos and law and order—all set amidst the quiet pines, rough towns, and gray skies of rural Maine. In his conclusion to the McMorrow series and the two-book story arc he started in Robbed Blind, Boyle delivers his most gripping book yet.

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