YMAA author John Donohue is a nationally-known expert on the culture and practice of the martial arts, and has been banging around dojo for more than 30 years. Gene Ching discusses the latest book in the Connor Burke series, Keppan, now available in hardcover and paperback, and delves into John's personal experience and writing process.
Fascinated with the themes of human action and potential he uncovered in his research, John began thinking about the fictional possibilities inherent in the world of the martial arts in 2001. Sensei, the first Connor Burke thriller, was released in 2003. The sequel, Deshi, was published in 2005. The third "burkebook," Tengu—The Mountain Goblin, was published in 2008. Kage—The Shadow was published in 2011, followed by Enzan—The Far Mountain published in 2014. The sixth book of the Connor Burke saga is Keppan—The Blood Oath, published in 2023.
John has always been fascinated with other cultures and was attracted to the Asian martial disciplines because of their blend of philosophy and action. He began studying Shotokan Karatedo in college. He joined practical training with more formal education, completing a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Fusing the way of the pen and the way of the sword, while writing John has trained in the martial disciplines of aikido, iaido, judo, karatedo, kendo, and taiji. He has dan (black belt) ranks in both karatedo and kendo.