April 10, 2024By Mark RyanHow it works


It was Chariots Of Fire producer Lord David Puttnam who alerted me to an event in Sunderland the other week – and asked me to send copies of my new book, Chariots Return.
Puttnam and the legendary actor Nigel Havers were going to share a stage with Team GB and Olympic Games medal winner Steve Cram and his eloquent partner Allison Curbishley.
They would discuss Chariots of Fire after a special screening of the iconic movie – which famously won four Oscars back in the 1980s.
I decided to take copies of Chariots Return up to Sunderland personally and meet the protagonists.
David Puttnam was incredibly warm and friendly. Nigel Havers also very kindly posed for a photo with me – and was understandably irritated when the phone camera kept failing.
‘I think this is the longest it has ever taken to get a photo of me in my entire career,’ he said wryly as I cringed with embarrassment.
At the end of the film’s screening, there was a glorious moment as the audience gave Puttnam a spontaneous standing ovation. Havers raised David’s arm aloft in acknowledgement of the beautiful, timeless creation that is Chariots of Fire.
But the biggest surprise and delight for me personally was what Puttnam subsequently chose to say on stage.
The venue in Sunderland was called The Fire Station – and there were hundreds of people present. They all stayed to listen to these distinguished experts talk about the movie and the Olympics.
Without warning, David started to talk about my book, the efforts that had been made to preserve and celebrate the true spirit of the Olympic Games down the years, and how we agreed that Chariots of Fire had played its part.
Lord Puttnam offered the audience a theory or two from my work, and when he had said his piece, he looked straight at me and said of Chariots Return: ‘Brilliant, Mark, congratulations, really.’
I blushed and couldn’t say any more than “thank you,” as people peered over to see who David was talking to.
It was deeply humbling to hear David compliment my book twice more before he had finished addressing that vast audience. And I can’t tell you what a delight and relief that was for me.
In truth, Lord Puttnam could have reacted very differently, and here’s why. He had kindly allowed himself to be interviewed for the book – and had even edited one memorable scene involving Vangelis and his bid to have his iconic, Oscar-winning music inserted into Chariots of Fire at the very last moment.
But when I came to write Chariots Return, I didn’t always agree with what Puttnam had said to me. In fact, when it came to the movie’s Jewish sprinter Harold Abrahams we openly disagreed. And don’t worry, I say so quite pointedly in the book.
Further, I dared to suggest that Chariots of Fire had slightly neglected one 1924 Paris Olympics athlete, Henry Stallard – whose heroics could potentially have made the movie even greater.
Such cheek from me could easily have been taken the wrong way – and probably would have been by many a Hollywood figure I could mention.
But Lord David Puttnam is a much better man than that. He took the criticism on the chin, acknowledged the good place it was coming from, and embraced the main themes of my book warmly. What does that say about him?
It was a long, long drive from Sunderland back down to Hampshire that night.
But I couldn’t stop smiling.


April 10, 2024By Mark RyanHow it works
When you have worked so hard on a book like Chariots Return you feel great excitement as physical copies finally arrive at your door.
We always know  Clays UK will do a great job printing the book, because they are the best in the business.
But you just want to see with your own eyes the cover you have designed, and watch it “pop” as you had imagined.
Even though I’m the author, I’m also effectively running a small publishing company – Keep It Real Publishing. And I like to work closely on covers with our design specialist Tim Underwood.
We’re perfectionists – and it’s a moment of great satisfaction to see how well a cover works and feel the pages run through your fingers.
The arrival of Chariots Return brought delight and relief – because I felt extra pressure to get this one just right.
When you’re paying tribute to an Oscar-winning film like Chariots Of Fire, you feel you have an obligation to the movie’s wonderful producer Lord David Puttnam. I’m proud and humbled to say that David helped with Chariots Return – and greatly added to its authority of the book.
Later this summer Chariots Of Fire will be re-released by owners Disney and distributors Park Circus to cinemas in the UK and Ireland to coincide with the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
I felt I was dealing with the best of the best – Hollywood royalty – and this inspired me to even greater heights.
Distinguished figures such as World Athletics President Lord Sebastian Coe gave some important insights, as did Team GB legend Sir Brendan Foster.
And you have to show proper respect to the International Olympic Committee when requesting use of the iconic Olympic Rings for the cover. We got special permission to use the rings in the context of a Paris Olympics 1924 identity card – so we were very lucky.
Once we received the books, we sent copies out to some key people and magazines for their reactions. We also alerted Waterstones.
David Puttnam very kindly called Chariots Return: “Terrific! Informative and genuinely affectionate. Brilliant!” That almost moved me to tears because the great man was the one I wanted to impress the most.
Athletics Weekly called my book: “A winner! A timely publication, well written and brilliantly researched.” That meant so much, coming as it did from the athletics community.
For the same reason, when Jeff Benjamin from The Running Network called Chariots Return “Truly phenomenal”, it felt like further confirmation that I’d handled a complex human story and one hundred years of athletics well enough to please those who know best.
Now we’re praying for the sales to reflect the narrative and design quality achieved. And we think the sales can hit the heights too, with the help of people like you!
Enjoy Chariots Return, and thank you for sharing this thrilling experience with me.


May 4, 2023By Mark Ryanprofessional biographer


Although I've had many books published over several decades, is a new venture. A shop window for my services as a ghostwriter, biographer and self-publisher. And I sincerely hope this website represents an exciting step in a journey you can be part of too. One function of  is to sell my self-published work. But primarily I'd like to use my expertise to create your book for you. Then maybe we can sell it here as well. There's nothing more thrilling than bringing a story to life and creating a book for the enjoyment of others.
Last year I wrote a book called "Smoking Shakespeare." It's about an extraordinary Irishman, who was gassed in the First World War and tortured in the Second World War. He survived, largely due to the love of his wife Kit. Michael P. O'Connor happened to be my great uncle, and he too became a storyteller.
Books will be for sale in my bespoke bookshop as time goes on.  I'm ready for commissions and your book could be my next project. Recently I've worked with a man who once owned a football club and several racehorses before he lost most of his fortune in a financial sting. Now he's fighting back - and his true story is going to read like a thriller.
But you don't need to have lived a spectacular life to interest me or indeed the reader. I love everyday stories too. And rest assured, a good writer can make the ordinary sound extraordinary. I embrace the love in people's lives and the pride they have in their achievements, however humble or remarkable. For me, the pleasure is finding the key to a story, so that I can bring it to life in the most human and affectionate way possible.
Everyone has a story. Some are more obvious than others.
Everyone has a book in them. I'm here to help make yours the best in can be.


May 1, 2023By Mark Ryanprofessional biographer


You may be tempted to write your story yourself - and that's fine. Some people are able to do this and still create a professional-looking book.
But it's more likely that the reader will notice a DIY job when they see one. Again, you may not have a problem with a slightly rough-and-ready finish to your work, and you may derive satisfaction from choosing your own words.
But a good professional ghostwriter will give you the best of both worlds. They will use as many of your own personal words to tell your story as they possibly can. If they are ghost-writing and therefore presenting your story in the first person, they want to tell your story in your voice. That's always my target. I want the narrator to sound like you. Because it's you speaking, after all.
So what does a professional add? We understand how a story should be presented and paced. We know what creates suspense. And we know what makes the reader want to devour the next chapter instead of putting the book down.
Yes, I can make your story a page-turner, however ordinary you think it is.
Sometimes there's an argument for choosing a methodical, chronological narrative order - and a safe, steady rhythm too.
But often I might put the most dramatic scene right at the start of the book, to draw the reader in. I won't give away the ending to that scene, of course. I want to create suspense.
There's going to be a lot of information to assess. I spent thirty years in journalism, so I'm trained to listen to a lot of talking and pick out the most interesting elements to a story. You develop an ear for these things. You know what will appeal to people.
Those who commission me to write their autobiographies often want to make sure they get every little thing into their story. They can't see the wood from the trees and that's understandable.
But from personal experience, I have learned that great writing is often all about what you leave out of a story - even more than what you put in. That's often the toughest call. What do we sacrifice to maintain pace?
Pace is very important when you tell a story. It's too easy to get bogged down for too long in an area of your life that won't be of huge interest to the reader.
Don't get me wrong, I want to be thorough. I listen to the needs and preferences of my subject. Ultimately you're my customer and I'm here to serve. But a professional ghostwriter will help tell your story in the most exciting way possible. And that's such fun to achieve.
I won't be satisfied I've done a great job until I'm confident anyone would enjoy reading your story - not just those close to you.
Everyone's life is funny and sad, uplifting and moving. We've all experienced inspirational moments.
Would you like me to bring out the best in your life story?


April 21, 2023By Mark RyanHow it works


Why come to me? Because in one sense at least, I have been you. Yes, I know what it’s like to be interviewed – and that helps me to be a better interviewer. it’s perfectly understandable that you may feel a bit nervous at first. I did. But at least you won’t feel any of the pressure I sometimes used to feel. I want you to relax and enjoy the process, so we bring out the best in your story and remember all the most significant moments. They might be funny, moving, or even life-changing. You can choose the pace and nature of our exchanges. And you’ll get all the time you deserve to tell your story your way.

It doesn’t pay to rush these things. I can remember one hectic morning when I was interviewed by Sky Sunrise, BBC Breakfast and CNN World Business News – all live on air and in quick succession.

Eammon Holmes put me at ease at the Sky TV studios. But there wasn’t even time to take off the first layer of TV make-up off before I reached the BBC studios, and they began slapping more on! An hour later, I was in studio number three and my ear-piece fell out live on CNN. I had to carry on as though nothing had happened.

That chaotic morning came about because I’d written a biography about the former England football manager, Fabio Capello. And I’ve written books on all kinds of people, famous or still relatively unknown. War heroes, businessmen and sportsmen have all enlisted my services. Ordinary folk too, with their own heart-warming stories to tell.

Many of the people I’ve worked with have been elderly. Often they have found events from times gone by difficult to remember in detail. That’s fine. Whatever your story or time of life, I’ll put you at ease and we’ll get there. Sometimes a bit of background research from me, or a photograph or document you’ve tucked away and then forgotten all about, can jog the memory splendidly and bring the story to life. Experience has taught me to be patient, conscientious and sensitive.

Why choose me? Because I know it’s all about you. And the best possible story will emerge from our exchanges in the end. If we work together to create something special, the final product will always be a source of pride to us both. Your story. Captured forever in a beautiful book. Will you be my next project? Like I said, I’d rather write about you than talk about me.


April 13, 2023By Mark RyanArticles, professional biographer



Everyone has a story to tell, and everyone's story is unique. Whether it's a life filled with triumphs and challenges or one filled with everyday moments that make us who we are, our stories deserve to be told. Using a professional biographer is an excellent way to share your story and leave a lasting legacy with the world. By hiring a professional ghostwriter, you can ensure that your story is told in a way that truly captures your essence and resonates with readers.

Mark Ryan is a professional ghostwriter with years of experience helping individuals share their stories through personalised biographies. With his exceptional writing skills, a keen eye for detail, and compassionate approach to storytelling, he can craft a biography that beautifully captures your life story. Working with a professional biographer like Mark Ryan is the best way to ensure your story achieves maximum impact.


An autobiography or a biography is a unique and thoughtful gift that can be treasured by family members for generations to come. It is an excellent way to celebrate your life and what shaped it. Bouncing experiences off a professional writer provides an opportunity for self-reflection and even personal growth, because we never stop learning. By reflecting on your life story and sharing it with others, you can gain a new perspective on your own experiences. You can inspire others to learn from your journey too.

You will control the narrative of your life story. When you work with a professional ghostwriter like Mark Ryan, he will ensure that your story is told exactly as you'd like. You can highlight the experiences that are most important to you, share the lessons you've learned, and showcase your achievements. You can choose to focus on specific themes or periods of your life that are particularly meaningful to you.

Your experiences can sometimes help others facing similar challenges, provide comfort and support to those going through difficult times, and encourage people to pursue their dreams and goals. In its own little way, your story can make a difference in the world. By sharing life's lessons, we are leaving something significant for the next generation.


Many people may have the desire to share their life story; but not everyone has the writing skills or experience to do so. This is where a professional ghostwriter like Mark Ryan can really help. Mark will take time to understand the unique nature of your story and bring it to life in a way that is both captivating and authentic.

Working with a professional ghostwriter ensures that your story is told in a way that is polished, well-organized, and engaging. That will help ensure that your book reaches as wide an audience as possible.


When it comes to pricing, Mark Ryan offers competitive rates as a professional biographer and ghostwriter. The cost of an autobiography or biography will depend on several factors. The length of the book, the complexity of the subject matter and the level of research required might all come into play. However, Mark Ryan can provide a detailed quote based on your specific needs and budget. You will notice that Mark doesn't give a time restriction on interviews, unlike many other ghostwriting services. This is a personal service designed o get to the heart of your story. He wants to devote the appropriate amount of time to your book.

Working with Mark Ryan is an excellent way to share your life story and leave a lasting legacy. Mark's exceptional writing skills and keen eye for detail mean you can create a book that will be treasured by family members and readers for generations to come. The process of creating a biography can be a transformative experience. By working with a professional ghostwriter, you can reflect on your life story and gain new insights and perspectives. Mark Ryan has a compassionate approach to storytelling, and he will help you navigate the emotional challenges that may arise during the collaborative process.

If you're interested in using a biographer or ghostwriter, contact Mark today to learn how he can help you achieve your goal and create a book that will make everyone proud.


April 7, 2023By Mark Ryanprofessional biographer


On my list of options and prices, you may see that I've deliberately used three different words to convey the variety of what I offer.



Top of the range is the autobiography - because that gives me a chance to use all the skills I have.
Your autobiography will allow me to be your ghostwriter. That means your full life story will be told in your voice = in the first person, using the personal pronoun "I."
If we record our interviews - which is always a good idea - I'll pick up on your character and way of speaking. Often I'll use the very words you've spoken.
It's important that when someone opens the book and starts to read, they recognise it's you speaking.
If someone is not a skilled ghostwriter, they collect all the facts and often tell the story quite well. But then they hear a familiar complaint from their subject: "It doesn't sound like me speaking. It's my story but it doesn't sound like me."
A good ghostwriter is mindful of this from the start. They capture the essence of the person and their language as well as their life story. I want it to sound like you. I want you to recognise yourself.
Why have I gone for the 80,000-120,000 book length option for an autobiography?
It doesn't have to be that way. I just think everyone deserves the chance of a full-length book - you know, the kind you usually find in any book shop.
In a way, this is your legacy, the best of yourself. It's what you want the world to think about you, after you've gone; and the lessons you want your loved ones to take from your life. This beautiful book takes the best part of a year to create - but the final product is well worth it.



A biography is told in the third person - most commonly "he" or  "she." The book can be the same length as an autobiography. I have written full-length biographies for major publishers more than once. You're writing about an entire life, as with an autobiography.
But if the person isn't famous, and there is less source material to draw upon than you would naturally gather in a series of one-on-one interviews for an autobiography, then it can make sense to make your chosen biography a shorter book.
That's why I've gone for the "short biography" format on my options list. It means about 50,000 words in total. It's a cheaper option, but we can still create a thrilling and immensely satisfying book.
As with the full-length autobiography, we can use photographs, letters and other documents to make the book even more enjoyable for the reader. This illustrative material helps bring us to the heart of the story.
As an author, I have more freedom when I write a biography - because I'm not bound by the opinions and perspectives of the subject alone. Obviously I'll always write to order; but it's nice to get a few different opinions and perspectives when you're writing a biography. It's another way to get the measure of someone.
I'll always make sure the story is told favourably, though. As with an autobiography, it's important the reader likes the subject of a biography and becomes emotionally invested in the events driving the narrative.
The subject of the book doesn't have to be perfect. None of us are. In fact, a book feels more realistic if we humourously include a few faults. That makes the central character more endearing. But overwhelmingly, I have a responsibility to be kind - and that's what I will bring to your chosen story.



The difference between a memoir and an autobiography is that a memoir is usually about a specific moment in time, or one special experience. It's written in the first person but it isn't an entire life story. A memoir has the potential to be the most dramatic little book of all, because it often focuses on one major moment - and should be full of emotional intensity. I've made this the cheapest option because I wouldn't expect to write more than 20,000 words if it's a memoir.
There's still a lot of ghostwriting skill involved, though. We're really going to bring that moment alive for you and capture the essence of it. But your memories of that period are going to be distilled into your voice alone.
You might choose the most romantic days or years of your life for your memoir. Alternatively, it might be the most traumatic period of your life, one you rarely talk about, but want to set down on paper while you still can.
You might choose to use a series of snapshots from your life. Put together in a memoir, they might illustrate the lessons you learnt at various points in your personal journey, in order to become a success or a better person.
But a memoir doesn't have to be deadly serious. You might want to create a collection of the ten or twenty funniest moments in your life. I suspect that little book would entertain quite a few people if you placed it on your coffee table!
The key to a good memoir is to be concise - and this is why I've gone for the shortest format on my options list.
However, it's also possible to create a full-length book out of a memoir. If one period in your life is so extraordinarily life-changing and there is enough material, then there's no real limit to length - and the price will be adapted accordingly.
I've given you some guidelines to show you what we could achieve together. When we talk, we can tailor those options to your personal needs and come to an agreement.


April 7, 2023By Mark Ryanprofessional biographer


If I had one piece of advice for a would-be interviewer, it would be this: don't ask the toughest question first!
The interviewee needs to feel comfortable in the setting before we start to go beneath the surface of a subject.
That's you. Relaxed, ready to be yourself and answer in your own way. That's what I want. It's a partnership, not a battle.
It would be natural if you had a few concerns about the interviewing process for your chosen book.
What will it be like?
What if I don't come across as I want to?
What if I feel self-conscious?
What if I cry?
What if I don't like him?
Let me address some of those concerns right away. First of all, I can't make you like me - but I hope you do. With that in mind, I aim to give you plenty of reasons to like me. I'm patient and sensitive and I'll be honest in my feedback. My mission is to write you a great book, one that will make you happy for the rest of your days, whenever you look at it.
But I'm certainly not perfect - and I don't expect you to be perfect either. We'll just be two people, chatting away and gradually capturing the essence of your story together.
You'll have lots of different opportunities to tell your story, so don't worry if it doesn't come out quite as you'd like on the first occasion. We'll get there, it's fine.
I can use a voice recorder or notepad to get your story down - up to you. Don't worry, everything is kept between the two of us - confidential until your published book arrives.
I want you to tell your story in your own way. It's not live TV or radio. You can come back to stuff if it feels too painful on any given day.
By the way, I don't mind if you cry as you remember sad or happy times. It's normal. Recalling key moments in your life can be very moving. You might see a tear in my eye too, as I listen. That's happened before - very recently, in fact.
But look, overwhelmingly I've found that doing these book interviews is a happy and satisfying process. Even when there are tears, they're cathartic. And far more often, there's laughter - and excitement as we sense the story is slowly coming together.
As you can tell from my first line above, I'll never just come right out and ask the most difficult question at the beginning.
I must have interviewed thousands of people in my time. You do learn from your mistakes.
There's precious little long-term reward for trying to score points over someone - or for getting their back up, just to provoke a reaction. I'm much more about trying to build trust in order to get to the heart of a matter, in the mutual knowledge that any subject will be treated sensitively and responsibly.
It's in my interests to see the best in you, to understand you and to focus on what makes you tick for the best possible book. If you're a success story in business, for example, what qualities and strokes of luck helped to you get to the top?
Be honest about your strengths - and be honest about your endearing weaknesses, too. I find a combination of strength and natural human vulnerability works well when I'm portraying someone. That balance helps to ensure people come across as likeable.
Sometimes my interviewees are elderly. Over the course of a few months, they might tell me the same story four or five times, because they've forgotten that they've told me this story before. That's OK - it comes with the territory. Besides, I might get a new piece of information about that story each time I hear it. I have great respect for the elderly, and for the very different and dramatic times they've lived through.
At the age of 61, I'm not exactly a spring chicken myself. We've all lived a life. But I'm here to focus on yours.
Does all that start to make the interviewing process sound OK?  I do hope so.


Mark Ryans reading glasses resting on a pine table next to a mug.

close up of a ringbound notebook, a little writing and a pen resting on the top.