How to Trap a Starfish

by MarieAnn Mc Loughlin Dwyer

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One man's tail of ruination..

The book deals with a life spanning full circle until the last few days of an Irish Immigrants life while he nears death in a New York state nursing home. It tells of one man's downward spiral into estrangment and dispossession..

Meet the Author pre US book launch interview January 2019

Interview with Historian Dr. Conor Reidy

Indept interivew with Author MarieAnn Mc Loughlin Dwyer hosted by Dr. Conor Reidy former lecturer at Limerick University Ireland

How to Trap a Starfish -Coming soon by Audio Series - Episode 1 "Awakening"..

How to Trap a Starfish available soon on Audio - Episode 1 "Awakening"

How To Trap a Starfish - Play Adaptation - Parental Advisory- Mild expletives may offend

Available on now

Presented in Co - Operation

with Choice Publishing Drogheda Ireland  


Starfish are ocean dwellers, who have a beautiful and unique appearance

These characteristics assist them thrive in their chosen habitat


Starfish have the ability to regenerate, and can slowly regrow a lost limb

They can reinvent themselves serveral times during their lifespan


Starfish are not fish at all

Starfish are simple sea urchins


Starfish may stay out of water sometimes,

if they remain out of water for too long...they will die



"Captivating..confident & authentic, stunning character development" Dr. Conor Reidy

latest reviews:

In Starfish MarieAnn has written a stunning debut novel. The story centers around Jack Mills - who with his young wife Alva - departs a depressed 1930's Dublin for a better life in New York. With swashbuckling postive charm Jack fights his way to success. Now in his final days we read of his lost youth, shattered relationships and broken dreams...

MarieAnn writes this often moving and heartbreaking account of one man's personal achievments, of dreams achieved and ultimate loss in old age with elegance and style. Starfish is a truly fine debut novel and a "Must Read!" PJ Curtis Co Clare Ireland.

So happy to see my Mother's novel finally published!. I know how much time and effort went into completing it, from first drafts, to final edits.

If you want to read a page turner about family, immigration, love, marraige, life! you will enjoy "How to Trap a Starfish" Karen Ann Phillips

This novel follows the life of Jack Mills and his odyssey through life, initially in the 1930's Ireland and subsequently in America. Jacks story fully engages the reader as it explores the highs and lows of his work, love and life. It is highly readable, well written story, overflowing with deft characterisation and revelatory insights set against a minutely detailed depiction of a life fully lived. The Author's style is elegant and empathetic. How to trap a Starfish is a very promising debut novel. I loved it!

P. Hunt  Co Sligo Ireland

Available for online purchase @



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Or go to Choice Publishing online bookstore


About the book

How to trap a Starfish is the story of Jack Mills, a boy born into the economic instability of Emergency Ireland in the 1930’s. He comes of age in the 1950’s and is one of the 500,000 people who leave Ireland’s shores between 1945 and 1960, during a large-scale movement of Irish emigrants. Jack, a Dublin native, handsome, charming and over confident, is the much-adored only son of Jack Sr (a canny but philandering Dublin chauffeur) and May Mills (a quiet spoken gentle country girl who was sent to work in Dublin after the premature death of both her parents). Jack set’s out on his journey to New York City with Alva, his new bride. She hails from a prestigious home, she is artistic by nature, highly perceptive, and a cunning Sandymount debutant...Alva punches well above her weight in many respects, however, this being said, Alva leaves home with one ultimate life skill inherited from her experienced Mother’s middle class, victorian & staunch household. Alva Blake is well versed in the ways and methods of


“How to trap a Starfish”...


This book deals with one man’s journey through life recalling and expanding on his challenges, journeys, victories, love triangles, and his ultimate defeat. It will, I hope, be of interest to all those who reflect on these human and philosophical subjects. It will have particular relevance to Irish people, and the Irish diaspora, with it’s back drop of places and characters in Ireland and of course with Ireland's omnipresent relationship with emigration.


The book intimatley deals with a life spanning full circle, that of an Irish Immigrants life, while he nears death in a New York State Nursing home. It tells of one man's downward spiral into estrangement and dispossession. Crucially It also takes a look at the remnants of the dinosaur, politically incorrect, and dying sexist generation. How they struggle to make sense of their vastly changed world. I would hope that it will prompt the reader to question our own possibly hasty approach sometimes...that of judgement with such characters... therefore perhaps helping us to understand the expectations and standards that the elderly male historically was socialised within from generations past. Just a thought!


Additionally I also undertook to examine the key female archetypes ever present and always influential within Jack’s life from cradle to grave..





About the Author:


While born and raised in Dublin city Ireland, MarieAnn Mc Loughlin Dwyer is a Donegal based storyteller, songwriter, and playwright. Her publishing credits include a self-published book of poetry entitled “My Invisible Rhymes”. An album “Stolen Hearts” in 2016, working with producer PJ Curtis for which Hot Press Ireland published a favorable review of her debut album. MarieAnn has also been featured on the BBC Introducing series, won “Best original song for a film” at the American Tracks Music Awards in LA May 2018, and had her first play for radio aired in the UK in October 2018. MarieAnn was born in 1966, is one of seven children, and is a mother and grandmother.

A member of the Irish Music Rights Organisation & The Irish Writers Union

Author MarieAnn Mc Loughlin Dwyer

MarieAnn Mc Loughlin Dwyer

" But I did love the thoughts of you..Imagined & aspired.An Uncle's image through a glass, pictures framed fireside"

With thanks to Siri at for the picture of "Starfish in a lantern"

and Getty Images for Man stares at New York Skyline (circa 1950)

January 12th 2019 - Rockaway New York 🇺🇸 book event fundraiser - How to Trap a Starfish Q&A's in aid of Aspen Counselling Services Lucan Co Dublin Ireland 🇮🇪

With thanks to Liz and Matty Rockaway for hosting our Book event in aid of Aspen Counselling Lucan Ireland

From left MarieAnn, Bruce & Mary Kay Allen of Stamford CT, and Colm O Dwyer who all attended the Rockaway Fundraiser & book event Jan2019 - Sincere thanks to Mary Kay for baking such a splendid "Starfish"inspired cake to share with book club attendees on the night!

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