Joe McCoubrey – all about me!

There’s not a lot to tell. Like most people I’ve had the usual life experiences of drifting between full and part-time jobs. During my early years I mended car tyre punctures, worked behind a shop counter, became a grocery van delivery boy, served at a bar counter, and dabbled in photography.

My first full-time job after leaving college was as a showroom salesman for a car-parts company. At coffee break on my first morning I walked to the nearest cafeteria – and kept on walking. I never went back! At the turn of the seventies I joined the Civil Service based at Stormont, the seat of the Northern Ireland Government, and watched behind the scenes as some of the country’s most momentous events unfolded. These were the early dark days of the ‘troubles’ – events that reverberated around the world, and somehow served to push me towards my real passion of writing.

I always wanted to be a journalist and got my break when my local newspaper agreed to take me on as a sports reporter and train me to be an all-round professional. I undertook the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) course over two years and earned my wings in time to become the paper’s editor. From then I never looked back, reporting for almost 20 years on all kinds of things, including some of the most horrific events of our country’s history.

In the end I needed a break and found myself involved in a new venture to help people start their own businesses. I became the CEO of an enterprise agency which offered all kinds of services to promote and support entrepreneurship. During 20 years there we helped to start more than 4,000 new businesses.

But the writing bug just wouldn’t go away. In the end I had to succumb to it. I took early retirement and decided to be a full-time novelist. The last decade has been an interesting ride along this scary road. I have now completed ten full-length thrillers and a short story, which was published in an anthology shared with 36 other authors, some of them at the top of the writers’ tree.

Away from work I am well-grounded by a terrific family. I have a partner who encourages and inspires; three beautiful daughters who make me proud; and five adorable grandchildren who demand more energy than I’m sometimes able to give them.