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Terp Writer’s Corner: Bob Irelan ‘60

Terp Writer’s Corner: Bob Irelan ‘60


By Ellie Geraghty

Following 10 years of newspaper and magazine reporting and editing, including stints at The Wall Street Journal and Nation's Business magazine in Washington, DC, Irelan ‘60 spent 32 years in public relations for a Fortune 500 family of companies. In his retirement, he taught a public relations class at University of the Pacific for two years and at University of California, Davis, Extension for five. The Sacramento Public Relations Association honored him with its “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2005. He is the author of two published novels and of numerous short stories.

Describe your book.

In Justifiable, Murder in the Mountain State, a small West Virginia town's heart is ripped open when the third-generation owner of a venerated business suddenly sells out, locks the doors, and throws more than 200 locals out of work. Russell Kincaid chooses to sacrifice his hometown for personal gain, leaving shock, a sense of betrayal, and hatred in his wake. Soon after, his body is found floating in the river, a bullet hole in his head.

What, or who was your inspiration?

Small town West Virginians and my enjoyment in writing mysteries with a message.

What is the #1 item you want people to take away from your story?

The resilience of the locals and their refusal to have their town defined by the murder.

What advice would you give to a new writer?

Do not delay writing just because you may not know how your story will end. Get started, and the characters you develop will help lead you to the ending.

What book is on your nightstand right now?

"A Promised Land" by Barack Obama

What is your favorite book?

"A Time to Kill" by John Grisham and "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens

What do you do in your non-writing free time?

Volunteer in the community; travel; read lots of books

What is your favorite alumni event or experience?

Living in California, I do not get back to College Park for alumni activities. I do, however, stay in touch with my old College Park fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha.

As a student, what was your favorite spot on campus?

Byrd Stadium for football games and Cole Field House for basketball

What's your Fearless Idea? 

Creation of a Maryland alumni group in the Sacramento, CA area



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