AJ Healy was born and raised in
By the age of three, AJ had taken a drug overdose (accidental* ), crashed the family car through the garage (probably accidental) and been suspended twice from school (no accident).
When AJ was five, his father left the family home and emigrated, leaving his mother (Marguerite) to bring up AJ and his younger brother alone, until she remarried six years later subsequently introducing another baby boy to the family (not accidental).
Having completed school and a BComm, AJ
travelled the world, working in
AJ had put aside a number of years' worth of savings to fund his writing efforts but, due to bad luck (or complete stupidity), he lost all these savings at the start of 2002.
Fractions Of a Second
When AJ was in junior school, he wondered why maths class was taken up with problems involving 'silly fractions.' The teacher, Mrs Williams, assured him that fractions would prove useful one day. And she was right.
Almost 20 years later, AJ got held-up by a drug-crazed robber in a South African township, whose main form of greeting was: "I kill you, I kill you, I kill you."
During the ensuing moments, AJ thought: "50/50 he shoots. 50/50 I die if he shoots.. Hmm.. That's a one-in-four chance that I die. Or 25% if expressed as a fraction."
Thankfully, the other 25% possibility (he shoots, AJ doesn't die) is what happened.
Slightly peeved, humbled and surviving on berries & pond water, AJ shut all financial worries from his mind and wrote Tommy Storm.
In 2004, AJ married MF in a cut-price
ceremony (no engagement ring!) and, when last quizzed, they claimed to be
enjoying life in
* The pills in question were orange flavour baby aspirin the whole bottle was consumed heartily by the 18-month old. Having the said pills indelicately removed in hospital is actually AJs earliest memory.
A Glutton For Punishment?
If you'd like to know more about AJ and his writing journey, check out the Irish World article (Apr 08) written after AJ found success with Quercus (publishers).
Or read an earlier article from Image magazine (Dec 06) written when AJ self-published Tommy Storm, before any recognised publisher would take it on.
If your school is in Ireland, you can arrange for AJ to come to your
classroom to read from
Tommy Storm and answer questions.
The session can be part funded through the Writer's In Schools
scheme so it doesn't cost your school very much.
Simply ask your teacher to contact AJ or Poetry Ireland to
organise it (see
(c) 2008 AJ Healy