After brief stints as a high school English teacher and retail sales manager and five adventure-filled years as a fulltime musician, Jack Byrne gave in to a long-held dream and turned to the written word for emotional and financial sustenance. As a freelance writer, he sold two specialty books for children, a healthy handful of short mysteries and roughly 200 newspaper and magazine pieces for local and regional publications. During these years he also taught numerous writing classes and ran workshops and writing seminars for a local university and an outreach community college. These ranged from freshman composition to the basics of freelancing to writing mysteries to the general “whys, wheres and hows” of the writing business.
In 1994 he met and became a client of Larry Sternig, longtime Midwest literary agent. In 1995 he accepted an offer to become a partner, and when Larry passed away in 1999, he assumed ownership and still runs the Sternig & Byrne Literary Agency. He regularly attends writers’ conferences and occasionally appears on panels or as a featured speaker.
While there are notable exceptions (renowned children’s author Betty Ren Wright comes to mind), the agency generally specializes in science fiction, fantasy and mystery properties. Past and present clients/estates include Andre Norton, Jo Walton, Jack Ritchie, John C. Wright, Mel Ellis and many others. Few things give Jack more pleasure than discovering a new writer and pairing him or her with the right editor and publisher. Authors first introduced to the reading public by the agency include Sarah Monette, Kelly McCullough, Ilona Andrews, Doug Hulick, Moira Moore and others.