Rex Owens Author Interview and Review of "Dead Reckoning"

Book three in the Irish Troubles series -- Irish Republican Army fictionHappy Release day to author Rex Owens and the final book in the Irish Troubles series--Dead Reckoning!Rex Owens - author of the Irish Troubles Series

This is Owens' best book yet! (And that is a huge compliment because books one and two in this series are excellent reads!) If you have an interest in the past few decades of political turmoil in Ireland, you'll appreciate this entire series. In Dead Reckoning, Ian Murphy confronts his Irish Republican Army past in and offers redemption in a uniquely artistic way. We feel for this character and those around him as he creates a stage play, revealing his secrets as an act of atonement.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Ian Murphy buries his life-long friend Kieran Fitzpatrick. As a result his life adrift, Ian is incapable of overcoming dependence on whiskey. Every day, he battles the eternal dark night. Ian reluctantly accepts his friend's last wish, to mentor Kieran s twenty-two-year old nephew, William Butler Boyle.

Five years after approving the Good Friday Peace Agreement, Northern Ireland struggles to break Britain's shackles. Sinn Fein recruits Ian Murphy to convince Catholics to vote in the 2003 national election because the party is on the brink of huge gains. Murphy naively believes if he works on the election, he will finally be able overcome the guilt and remorse he bears for his days as an IRA volunteer. Following the successful election for Sinn Fein, Ian returns to Cork exhausted and still burdened by guilt. His new friend, Oisin O'Leary, convinces Ian he can fulfill has obligation to mentor William and make an act of contrition to the Irish people by writing a memoir stage play. Ian's play is presented and at the closing curtain, he offers it as his act of contrition to the Irish people. DEAD RECKONING is the third and final book in the Ian Murphy Irish Troubles series.


Book One in the Irish Troubles series -- Murphy's Troubles by Rex Owens


Book Two in the Irish Troubles Series - Out of Darkness by Rex Owens










I'm pleased Rex Owens was able to join me today to talk about this book and the entire series.

Rex, looking back, you were featured on my 7th blog post in May of 2014 when I talked to you about Murphy’s Troubles. Four years later, this is now my 140th post and we’re celebrating the release of book three in your Irish Troubles series. Congratulations!

For those who didn’t read that earlier interview, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

​I started writing by taking a critique class from Dr. Laurel Yourke.  It was a painful but necessary start.  I've attended 20 of the Wisconsin Writer's Inst. conferences; and participated in Writers by the Lake and Weekend with Your Novel.  I was laid off from a job in health care in 2009 and decided I would devote myself to writing.  "Murphy's Troubles" wasn't published until 2013 using CreateSpace.  I used hybrid publishing CK Books Publishing for "Out of Darkness" and developed a strong editing relationship with owner Christine Keleny.  I again hired Christine to edit my third book - "Dead Reckoning".  I decided to shop my third novel with small independent publishers and was fortunate to sign a contract with Henschel Haus Publishing on Oct. 31, 2017. ​

When you wrote Murphy’s Troubles did you envision this being a three-book series? (If you didn’t, I am very curious how the story progressed for you.)

​I never anticipated a three-part series.  After "Murphy's Troubles" I started at least four novels and would write about three chapters and become totally dissatisfied.  I had a dream one night and Ian Murphy told me his story wasn't finished yet and the result was "Out of Darkness".  When CK Books published "Out of Darkness" it was listed as a "series" which was a surprise to me.  I have a book club in Sun Prairie that has read both books and given me excellent feedback.  The book club wasn't satisfied with the conclusion of "Out of Darkness" they felt it was incomplete.  That lead to "Dead Reckoning".

​Do you think your approach to writing has changed since you wrote book one? Has it gotten easier or faster?

​"Murphy's Troubles" took over 10 years to write because it was very part time.  When I started "Out of Darkness" I was fully retired and had to develop a writing routine which initially could be described as hit or miss.  Finally, I have myself a weekly word writing goal and that structure allowed me to complete the first draft in a year.  I disappear into my own world when writing and 3-4 hours can pass without notice.  ​

I know that you published each book via a different method. Can you tell us about that and maybe share what you feel were the advantages and disadvantages of each type of publishing?

​Self-publishing gives the author complete control and I have learned why all types of artists seek control of their creative product.  I didn't enjoy all the technical aspects of self-publishing.  I met Christine Keleny at an author event and was impressed with h​er credentials.  She provided me with a detailed bid for services and then offered a discount for bundled services.  I chose the bundle.  I like the hybrid model because I still had control but someone else took care of all the technical aspects of publishing a book.  Christine is also an excellent editor, she catches the inconsistencies, grammar problems, story development and plot issues.  She has a soft but firm approach to editing and we developed a respectful relationship.  I hired Christine to edit Dead Reckoning but wanted to try traditional publishing.  I met Kira Henschel through author Nick Chiarkas and we had an immediate bond.  I'm still learning about traditional publishing. Kira gave me a lot of latitude in selecting the cover, interior font and interior design.  Marketing appears to be about the same between the hybrid model and the traditional model, this is my year of learning. 

If there’s anything that you wish you could go back and tell your “unpublished” self, what would that be?

The only important thing is to write the best book you can. ​Focus on craft.  Everything else will fall into place. ​

​​Is it too soon to ask what your next project might be?


Before we move on to the Super Six list, is there anything else you want to tell readers about yourself or your books?  

​Writers must believe in themselves.  Writers need to learn they are not alone.  There is a community of writers, editors, publishers, marketing specialist that will go on your journey with you - embrace them.

​Super Six List:

Fav Pizza Topping: Italian sausage​

Book You’re Reading Now: ​ "Beyond the First Draft - Deep Novel Revision" by Dr. Laurel Yourke​

Coffee, Tea, or Both: Both​

Fav Activity as a Child: Riding bikes with my friends​

Most Interesting Place You’ve Lived: Olympia, Washington​

Best Place You’ve Vacationed: Dublin, Ireland​

How can readers discover more about you and you work?





Thanks for taking the time to answer all of my questions!! 

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