While Auntie M has been having stormy electric issues on the East Coast, writer Joe McCoubrey stepped up all the way from Ireland to guest blog this week. Thanks, Joe!

Irish author Joe McCoubrey explains why he chose the subject for his first novel and outlines some of the challenges he faced in mixing fact with fiction

                                      How I came to write my current novel

When you’ve lived in troubled times and you’re a writer, it’s probably inevitable those troubled times will feature heavily in your first novel. In my case, as a young reporter caught up in the midst of the worst of Northern Ireland’s conflict in the seventies and eighties, I had an urge to tell a story that went behind the headlines, a story of hard-hitting fiction that sailed uncomfortably close to the truth.

And so it was that Someone Has To Pay was born. It was more than two decades in the making and became subjected to endless rewrites and updates to keep pace with the frantic events unfolding around it. Fiction it might well be, but it had to be set against the stark realities and historical milestones that would lead eventually to peace in a troubled land.

It’s a story as cruel and uncompromising as the events which drove it. That was the times we lived in. There was no shortage of factual material from which to draw inspiration; indeed there were almost too many real occurrences that could have been used to over-glamorise or over-sensationalise what lies between the covers of my book.

But all conflicts have their victims. Hardly a family in Northern Ireland was untouched by the ‘troubles’ which beset our little corner of the globe, with the result that too many are still living today with the pain and memories of the past. The last thing they need is for some fictional jockey to come riding over the hill with gung-ho recounts of episodes that touch deeply into the hearts and minds of individuals.

I made a conscious decision to avoid these at all costs. My story simply didn’t need them. Instead I stuck with what I knew, and what I believed could have happened, as international pressure to end the conflict gathered an inexorable momentum.

I made sure too that the story was told from a balanced viewpoint, choosing no political or religious ascendancy for any side. That’s how it was, and that’s how it should be.

My bottom line for writing Someone Has To Pay was to produce an exciting and entertaining action thriller. Certainly I wanted its backcloth to be one that I knew and experienced, but it’s just that – a platform for telling what I believe is a cracking good yarn.

It will be for readers to judge whether or not I succeeded.

Joe McCoubrey is a former journalist turned author. His first novel Someone Has To Pay is being released shortly by Tri Destiny Publishing, with number two already in the bag and number three halfway there.

In between he has written a short story which was published last month in an Action Anthology. To find out more about Joe check out the following links:

Blogsite: http://joemccoubrey.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/joe.mccoubrey

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeMcCoubrey1