Introducing a classy debut novelist. Joe McCoubrey who releases his first full-length novel today.
When and why did you decide to become a writer?
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 really fulfilled.
What genre do you write in and what genre do you prefer to read?
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!
Where do you sell most books, USA or UK, Amazon or Barnes and Noble?
I just recently released my short story DEATH BY LICENCE which is doing really well on both sides of the Atlantic. My publisher, Master Koda Select Publishing, are phenomenal in developing awareness about me and I’m hoping the next year or so will see some big inroads. My first full-length novel SOMEONE HAS TO PAY is releasing tomorrow!
During your childhood who was your biggest influence?
That would have to be my mother. She was a full-time mum striving to bring up a large family on a small budget in pretty austere times. Yet somehow she always found a reason to smile and to offer up a prayer of thanks. I’ve tried to live by her values but have yet to come close.
Are you fortunate enough to write full-time?
Yes, I took early retirement to concentrate on writing full-time, although I still try to keep busy with other projects. I find it’s necessary to take some breaks from writing, if only to recharge the batteries, although I’m always thinking constantly of new storylines and twists.
If Hollywood came knocking who would you want to play your main character?
It would have to be someone like Jason Statham – his screen persona of an all-round ass-kickin’ guy perfectly fits the bill for my lead character, Mike Devon.
Name 6 people, dead or alive, you’d love to have as guests seated around your dinner-table.
Present company excepted, it would have to be Alastair Maclean, Matt Hilton, Stephen Leather, Lee Child, Vince Flynn and Brad Thor. After a few hours of taking notes among that lot you’d have the perfect action hero and enough material to write a hundred books!
What one piece of advice have you found the most important in your writing career?
A lot of top authors are willing to share information and tips but I’m not so sure new writers take enough trouble to see what they have to say. These are people who have overcome all the usual hurdles and have built their success the hard way – why wouldn’t other writers want to know about their experiences?
On the writing side of things you can never place too much emphasis on editing, editing and editing. Before a manuscript is submitted to an agent or is deemed ready for self-publishing it should have gone through at least 5 or 6 full edits, not to mention edits not carried out by the author! No matter what we think, we are no good at editing our own stuff – get a friend (but make sure he or she will be brutally honest) or, better still, get some professional editing. Not only will it increase your credibility as a writer but it will help to point out all the little annoying traits we all have as writers. Even the top authors seem to have recurring pet likes that really should be removed!
What are your plans for the coming year?
I have already completed my second full-length novel which I hope to publish in early 2013 (after all the editing has been completed) and I’ve started on a new Irish crime novel, which is a slight departure from my current works. After that I will just keep writing.
And finally, if you were stranded on a desert island what 3 books would you choose to have with you?
Preferably the biggest anthology of action/adventure stories I could find! Okay, I know that’s cheating but ‘collection’ stories are becoming more and more popular and having about 20 stories between one cover would be a bonus. The straight answer is any of the Lee Child stories concerning Jack Reacher, or Matt Hilton’s Joe Hunter or Stephen Leather’s Spider Shepherd.
Joe McCoubrey Bio
Joe McCoubrey is a former Irish newspaper editor who is now a full-time action thriller writer. In the early seventies he 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 served to push him towards his real passion of writing. He became a newspaperman, started his own media business, and took a front row seat as history was played out in Ireland.
His short action story Death By Licence has just been published by Master Koda Select Publishing. His debut full-length thriller Someone Has To Pay is being released on September 3rd 2012. A second full-length actioner is at the editing stages, and work has started on an Irish crime thriller.
Joe McCoubrey has lived all his life in the beautiful Irish town of Downpatrick, made famous by its association with the national Patron Saint, St. Patrick.
You can visit him at: http://joemccoubrey.com/