Lisburn lawyer Steve Cavanagh is putting his courtroom experience to good use in his new project, his debut novel ‘The Defence’.
Publishers and film companies have fighting for the rights to the thriller, which tells the story of con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.
Steve, who works as a civil rights lawyer with John Ross and Sons in Newtownards, put pen to paper following the death of his mother in 2011.
“Writing is quite a newly discovered thing for me,” he explained. “I wrote some screen plays in my late teens but they never came to anything and I had largely given up on writing.
“My mum was the only person that ever encouraged me to write and when she passed away in 2011 I decided to give it another go.
“She loved crime and thrillers so I wrote a book that I thought she would like.
“I did a creative writing class with Colin Bateman, which really helped me with my writing as well.”
Steve sent out his manuscript but it was rejected by agent after agent. One agent even told him his book would never be published.
But Steve was undeterred and thirty rejections later, Euan Thorneycroft at AM Heath in London took Steve on as his client and began sending out copies of ‘The Defence’, And it wasn’t long until the offers came flooding in.
“I was over the moon,” continued Steve. “Euan has been really great to work with and has helped me tidy the book up before it was submitted.
“The book was sent out to publishers in 2013 and Euan warned me it could be some time before I heard anything back.
“One week later I was standing in my hall when I got an email from Euan telling me that four of the biggest publishers were bidding for the book. It was surreal. I still haven’t really grasped it, even now that I’ve seen the book in print.”
‘The Defence’ has been published by Orion Books, home to many of Steve’s literary heroes, including Ian Rankin and Michael Connelly. But the literary dream doesn’t end there.
The book is being published internationally, with a six figure auction in Germany ending with Penguin random House winning the rights to publish the book in Germany.
Now Steve has Hollywood in his sights. “My agent has contacts in the film world and he sent the book out,” continued Steve,
“I have a movie agent in Los Angeles now who is looking after the film rights and it is being published in the States by Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan Publishers.
“News of that deal has just been released this week and it is attracting a lot of interest from television companies as well. It is totally amazing.”
Steve says his family are delighted with the success he has achieved, and he has paid special tribute to his very patient wife. “My wife is very supportive,” he said. “I don’t start writing until about 10.30pm
“My dad is over the moon and the book has been dedicated to my mum and dad.”
The Lisburn author was delighted to sign copies of his book for local fans and signed copies are on sale locally at Easons in Bow Street. The book will also be stocked in Waterstones.
“It is great to see the book in my hometown,” added Steve.