Belfast author Jim McComish released his debut novel The Reluctant Rapparee at the end of 2015.
Now, already half way through writing the follow up, Jim is carving a niche for himself writing Irish historical fiction with a strong element of fantasy and comedy.
He added: “I had always wanted to write a novel but had never got around to doing it. I’d previously done an MA in Irish Cultural Heritages at the University of Ulster, and my dissertation was on the subject of rapparees, a sort of irregular Irish soldier in the 18th Century, so I had a great deal of original research already completed on the subject.
“Excalibur Press were just starting up about the same time and they suited my requirements, ie a small publishing company open to niche authors.”
Get to know more about Jim:
What genre / style do you create in?
“I primarily write historical fiction and am strongly influenced by classical authors in that genre such as William Carleton, John Herron Lepper, and Walter Scott. I consider myself mixed genre as there’s a lot of comedy, action, horror and mystery thrown in along the way.”
What would you be best known for?
“I’ve only released one novel, the Reluctant Rapparee, at the present time.”
What would you consider your biggest achievement?
“As far as writing goes that would be writing the Reluctant Rapparee and getting it published. However I feel that my new novel will be better as I’ve learned a lot about writing.”
What would you consider to be the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your industry?
“To not make unreasonable targets for myself. I work full time and have family commitments and other responsibilities my writing had to fit around whatever time I have available.”
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
“Giving a public reading at the Thinking Cup Café. I don’t ordinarily like drawing attention to myself but I managed to muddle through it.”
Tell us a little about your personal life, are you married, kids, hobbies etc?
“I doubt that my personal life would be of any interest to the readers. I enjoy researching local history, reading.”
Tell us about your most recent work?
“I am currently working on my second novel, set in 1870s Belfast over 130 years since the events of the Reluctant Rapparee. There is a tie in to the first novel although the story itself can stand alone, ie you would not need to have read TRR to enjoy the new novel. It is provisionally entitled The Glasgow Shed Mystery and is set around the Belfast Docks, following the adventures of a group of dock labourers, their friends and family.”
PLUG !! What would you like us to tell people about?
“The Reluctant Rapparee is available to buy in both paperback and kindle, here;
If you had to describe your work to someone who has never heard of you what would
“It’s kind of a classical adventure with a modern twist.”
What’s the funniest experience you’ve had in your business?
“Doing my reading at the Thinking Cup café and thinking I sounded like Liam Neeson, only to find out when I heard the recording that I sounded as if I was reading out a paramilitary statement.”
What would your advice be to young people hoping to pursue the same industry?
“Make sure you’ve got something to fall back on as the chances of making enough to live on from writing alone are very slim. Also writing should primarily be for your own personal enjoyment; it’s great when others are appreciative of your work but more often than not you’ll be met with a wall of silence.”
Anything else you want to tell people about yourself or your work?
“I hope you’ll enjoy it and keep reading.”
Who do you look up to and why?
“I don’t look up to anyone, but then I don’t look down on anyone either. I try to take people as I find them.”
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