**AUTHOR PEEK** Interview with Author, Joe McCoubrey
Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a fulltime writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share.
I was a former Irish newspaper editor but now consider myself a full-time action thriller writer. In the early seventies I was working in the Civil Service based at Stormont, the seat of the Northern Ireland Government, and was watching behind the scenes as some of the country’s most momentous events unfolded. These were events that reverberated around the world, and somehow helped to push me closer to my real passion of writing. I became a newspaperman, started my own media business, and took a front row seat as history was played out in Ireland.
I have lived all my life in the beautiful Irish town of Downpatrick, made famous by its association with the national Patron Saint, St. Patrick. I have three lovely daughters and two wonderfully impish grandsons.
How did you get started writing?
Writing has always been a part of my life. My ambition from an early age was to be a journalist and I was lucky to make that dream come true. When I started out it was during the worst of the early troubles in Northern Ireland and I cut my teeth on some pretty intense stories. They were dark days
Throughout the next twenty-five years I wanted to take my writing to a different level. I wasn’t thinking of doing a Woodward and Bernstein but I knew I wanted to write novels. After messing around with a few ideas and countless drafts, I finally took the plunge a few years ago and began writing full-time. Now I feel fulfilled.
What genre(s) do you write in and why?
I can’t get enough of action and crime thrillers. I must have read literally thousands of books within these genres so it’s little surprise that my own stuff is firmly grounded in these categories. I have to admit though that the one book which got me hooked on reading was ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen! Her mastery of the English language and her storytelling ability still stack up with the best. How’s that for a contradiction with the action genre!
What is your favorite part of writing?
I love developing plotlines and putting my characters into situations which appear hopeless. Most times even I don’t know how I’m going to extricate them – and for me that’s the fun part.
What is your least favorite part of writing?
It has to be editing. No author should rely on their own editing but you have to polish a manuscript to the best of your ability before handing it over to someone else. A writer can’t see all their mistakes and bad habits – our eyes tend to read what we think is coming rather than what we have actually put down on paper. You have to train yourself to go painfully slow when it comes to editing. It’s a tedious exercise, but by far the most important part of writing.
Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
Storylines are all around us but the trick is to put one into a context that the author is comfortable with. I tend to stick with what I know and make sure I research the parts I don’t know before I begin. The most telling factor is that the story must suit my characters – I have to create scenarios in which my characters will appear at home. It has to seem natural that the challenges they face are ones they might reasonably encounter in their chosen professions, rather than half them appear like square pegs in round holes.
What is your typical day like?
I don’t have one, although I do like to devote at least three or four hours minimum to writing. If I miss that goal I usually try to make it up at longer sessions, particularly at weekends.
What is most difficult for you to write? Characters, conflict or emotions? Why?
I find characters and conflicts easy to devise but not so emotions. It is relatively simple to place someone in an extreme situation but not so easy to find ways of describing and relating the inner turmoil they are bound to go through. A novel will constantly demand that an author faces this many times as a story unfolds so it can be difficult to come up with a number of variations. Although I don’t entirely subscribe to the notion of always show-don’t–tell there is a certain element of that required.
Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?
My next book ABSENCE OF RULES has just gone to my publishers to undergo the various editing processes. Here’s an exclusive look at the initial blurb:
To some people Mike Devon is a highly trained counter-terrorism operative. To others, he’s little more than a Government-sanctioned assassin. Either way Devon always takes the line of least resistance to get the job done, particularly when he’s faced with two al-Qaeda leaders preparing to unleash a new terror campaign against America and its European allies. But Devon also has to deal with a sinister Russian oil billionaire pulling the strings in a determined bid to return to the days of East-West conflict. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
As yet I don’t have a publication date, but probably over the next two months.
AMAZON USA: http://tinyurl.com/95ye4e6
AMAZON UK: http://tinyurl.com/9ouhxod
BE SURE TO COME BACK to read more about Joe and his release, SOMEONE HAS TO PAY, on Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench!