About Blackwatertown

Blackwatertown is a thriller set in the 1950s Irish borderlands. It’s based on some true shady episodes. But names have been changed to protect the guilty. (If you’re a publisher, please get in touch. Or even if you’re not.)

The opening lines are here. The synopsis is here, or scroll down.

My name is Paul Waters. I’m originally from Belfast. I’ve done various things – taxi-driving, journalism, cooking, broadcasting, teaching, aid delivery, podcasting – in various places –  England, Romania, Wales, the USA, Germany, Poland, South Africa and both ends of Ireland.
So now I’m writing. The story is called Blackwatertown.

Synopsis of Blackwatertown:

Blackwatertown by Paul Waters is a thriller set on the Irish border in the 1950s. The intertwining of fact and fiction is based partly on a murky episode of Ireland’s past, and partly on things discovered about my family’s own secret history.

It is the story of a reluctant and conflicted policeman called John “Jolly” Macken, who is drawn into a conspiracy, accidentally starts a war (the 1950s IRA border campaign) and inadvertently becomes a hero.

It is also the story of how complacency in a time of peace can quickly be shattered, if the underlying tensions in society are not addressed.

Jolly Macken begins with a personal crisis because of his leading role in a police action he knows is legally correct, but feels is morally wrong.

As a police officer, an RUC man, he is isolated from his fellow Irish Catholics because he serves the Crown. As a Catholic (in name anyway), he is by definition distrusted by his Protestant fellow officers and the State.

There are three main strands:

1. Macken is punished after a farcical episode of violence at the beginning, by being exiled to Blackwatertown village, a sleepy Co. Armagh backwater. He is sent there to replace the previous token Catholic officer in the district who died mysteriously. Was it an accident or murder? Were the killers fellow police officers? Will Macken be next?

2. Macken meets an unusually bewitching local girl whose bravado masks a certain innocence. However, is her innocence feigned? Will their romance endure? Is she an IRA spy or is she hiding a much darker secret?

3. Macken is caught up in a police conspiracy and cover-up that has unexpected consequences. Their fakery is so convincing that the conspirators are lauded as heroes and accidentally start a war. Macken becomes part of a web of political and personal intrigue, watching his back as genuine and imaginary sides go to war for real.

An ambiguous fourth strand weaves in and out of the action. It retains its mystery until near the end, when its true purpose and horrible identity is revealed.

As the tension and stakes mount higher, Macken is forced to choose sides when it comes to war and to his personal life. He embarks on a journey through a broken and twisted world to see if it is possible to salvage anything that is good, worthwhile and beautiful.

Blackwatertown conveys a sense of place in the tradition of Ulster writer Maurice Leitch, and is threaded through with flashes of humour reminiscent of Andrea Camilleri’s Sicilian Inspector Montalbano mysteries.

The story transcends time and place, but also parallels the current dangerous political situation in Northern Ireland today, and shows how a seemingly secure peace can be squandered.


96 responses to “About Blackwatertown

  1. Pingback: The Banned / A New Name « Blackwatertown

  2. Pingback: The opening lines (and Happy Christmas) « Blackwatertown

  3. Thank you Paul for the very complementary comment you posted in my blog. After reading a bit of yours, I feel compelled to do the same. I sincerely enjoy the tone and ease of conversational voice you employ here. The cultural windows blogging opens for me is one of the reasons I love it. Your site does just that.

    Thanks again,
    Dave Jeffries, TCL

  4. Dominic Laurie

    Paul, I notice you split apart journalism and broadcasting in your CV. Made me laugh! Is ours a lost cause?!

  5. blackwatertown

    @ The_Conservative_Lie – Thanks very much. I agree with your point about the opening of new cultural windows.

    @ Dominic Laurie – No slur intended. Though, especially in recent years, I noticed a divergence between the broadcasting I was doing and what I used to think of as journalism anyway. Not always a bad thing. In fact, it can be great fun.

  6. strongindependentwoman

    Ok, this sounds really interesting. I’ll keep checking out this blog and I’ll try to find out more about Blackwatertown.

  7. Agatha82

    This sounds really intriguing, so glad you commented on my own blog or I would have never found you.

  8. Thank you for stopping by my blog.


  9. Your book sounds interesting. Has it been published yet? I hope to read it sometime.

  10. This sounds great! And I could also see it as being a theatrical thriller. Keep that ambition going and something will give.


  11. I’ve been allowed to read it and enjoyed it very much. No doubt, publishers will make comment and more work may be needed before publication, but it deserves success. Still looking for well written ‘shorts’ in the meantime- that’s how my namesake started to get noticed!

  12. Catherine

    Hi Paul,

    Sorry to write that here I can’t figure out your email adress. I’m an Art Director and a found your sitting elephant picture and I would love to use it for a project and I wanted to know if it would be possible.

    Kind Regards

    • blackwatertown

      You can. I’m flattered to be asked. Unless your project is about the most rubbish photographs on the internet. And even then I don’t mind.
      Please drop me a line at paulwaters99 at hotmail dot com

  13. PAUL! You have a BOOK!!!!! When can I buy a copy and advertise you on my blog, so all 5 readers will buy a copy too.

    When mine is published, I’ll send you a copy too. But since I am still only 10 pages into it, it may be a while. CHEERS!!!!

    (So, I just read “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”. Please tell me it isn’t as wild as all that)

    • That seems fair, I’ll read yours and you read mine. The book is written. I’m working on the getting published part.

      As to the content, I can now exclusively reveal, for the first time ever, to you, that there are no remarkable tattoos in Blackwatertown.

      Nor is there a campaigning journalist.

      As for wildness, it has its moments. But they take up fewer pages than that hefty brick-sized Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

      • Oh.My.Goodness. You have given me the scoop on (or not) the existence of tattoos in BWT. SO honored.

        LOL, w/o those wild moments, GWDT might be Nicolas Sparks paper-back sized.

        Have a great day!

  14. ReadersHeaven

    Hi, nice to meet you !

  15. And a full PINT to you! Looks interesting round here. Am sorry to sneak peek and run, but net time is running out fast. Will follow your tracks back again. Novel intrigues.

  16. Happy Friday, Schwarzewasserstadt!

  17. paul. you can’t imagine how thin skinned i am. you have been very mean to me but i will mention your book on the air if you give me a free trip to ireland and a ride in your vehcile. come to think of it, i take that back. who would want to go to country that is about to collapse? this time you won’t be able to blame it on the brits.

    • blackwatertown

      Well, it was fairly complimentary in some ways.
      I can give you one out of two – the free car ride rather than the plane ride – if you make it over.
      As for the collapse – yeah, guess you’re right. Can’t blame it on Britain. Though seeing as they’re blaming it on you lot, can we do that too?
      (No? I didn’t really think so.)

  18. Hi, Paul, thank you for visiting me and leaving a comment. Nice to meet you!

  19. Darrin Batter

    Very nice. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing on your rss feed and I hope you keep writing!

  20. Hey.
    I just went over the above. Interesting 🙂
    I’ll try to follow up

    The Breez i was talking about wouldn’t miss !!

    Best regards.

  21. Interesting story. Sounds a lot more complicated than what I can manage. So is it not published yet? Based on the summary, I’m sure it will be.

  22. This is a book I’d read. I hope you get it published!

  23. Ok I read all of this and the wee little bit about yourself. Where do you live now?
    Hey put YOUR pic up instead of the kangaroo 🙂
    Good job on your synopsis of Blackwater.

    • blackwatertown

      I’m living in southern England at the moment, in a village surrounded by fields and woods, with great neighbours and two pubs – one of which is excellent.
      The pic? It is actually me – at a radio studio control panel. It’s not a kangaroo’s head. I thought only Sam Henry at OnMyWatch saw it as a kangaroo. It caused a bit of a kerfuffle here http://wp.me/pDjed-Ve
      It’s a horse’s head. I like to think it’s the one from the Godfather.
      Thanks for your verdict on the synopsis. Writing is fine. Blurbs are fine. But doing synopses doesn’t appeal to me.

      • Sounds like a lovely place to live. Any pics?
        Hm! horse’s head! Ok…guess i needed to enlarge the pic in order to discern better what it looks like 🙂
        I know what you mean about writing synopsis. I feel the same way as it is part of the marketing process which is my weak point. I only understood some years ago that I was any good at the writing thing….stories and some poetry. But when it comes to the business side of writing I am not good at that.
        I clicked over to the link for Sam Henry and love the photo of your dogs. I still miss my dog, who passed away about 3 years ago. Unfortunately I cannot afford to have another pet just yet. Give your pups a hug for me 🙂

  24. Surfing the waves of the web I am pleasantly stranded in your interesting blog.

    I write under the pseudonym of Josè Pascal (a descendant of the great Colonel Aureliano Buendía).

    I invite you to visit my “italianglish” writing blog http://parolesemplici.wordpress.com/mytinbox/.

    I define this blog “In parole Semplici” as a “virtuacultural tin” box where they are guarded thoughts, memories, images, sounds, and simple stories”.

    I dream an intercultural blog. Already involves more than 100 authors/friends.

    If you want to participate and to have more informations send me a letter to inparolesempli@gmail.com

    Good life and I hope to soon

  25. Evelyne

    You’ve got an excellent site. 🙂
    I really enjoyed visiting.
    Thanks for sharing about your book.

  26. Lydia Stupke

    You must carry on with your writing.
    I’m sure you have a huge readers’ base already!

  27. Herbie

    Very interesting.

    (“Women have been trained to speak softly and carry a lipstick. Those days are over.” by Bella Abzug.)

  28. Paul, mail sent to paulwaters99 @ hotmail.com bounces. What is your current email address?

  29. Apostle

    Thats great news about the forthcoming book.

  30. How exciting, the best of good luck with it. I am in the throes of finalizing a novel so will keep close tabs on your progress!!

  31. Gassett

    Your writing is great and gives food for thought. I really hope that you simply publish.

  32. Monster Tennent

    Impressive. Keep working!

  33. socialsolutions2012

    Hey paul,
    Great blog, I just created a name, now I will start.. thanks for the advice.

  34. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your webpage? My blog is in the very same niche as yours and my users would truly benefit from a lot of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Many thanks!

    • blackwatertown

      I’m glad I’ve finally found my niche – Thai melon carving. It fits perfectly with the themes of my book – apart from the melons and the Thai parts. Carving maybe a little.

  35. thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment…will look out for your book, best of luck with that!

  36. I’m sorry for this comment’s lack of relevancy to the post upon which it comments. I wanted to thank you for taking a look around Radio Trees, saying something (holy crap, no one I’m not related to does that), and having a little faith in me. Also, this blog is pretty awesome, and I hope to eventually read Blackwatertown itself. (I did read the excerpt, which was lovely.)

  37. Beate Black

    Pretty clever stuff.

  38. Geiselman

    Thanks for that message. I grew up in Plymouth, MA not too far from Boston and watched the Boston Marathon on TV every year. Actually, Id be flipping back and forth between the marathon and Red Sox game because they always play at home that weekend. A lot of history in that race too which reminds me of the recent RW article on Bill Rodgers.

  39. Di Steenhuis

    Love the blog.

  40. Vern Bird

    Awsome! I love it!

  41. Pingback: Pozycjonowanie Wrocław

  42. About | Blackwatertown has been stored as a favorite :), I really like your site!

  43. Petit Blanc, Canada

    Hey there, You have done a fantastic job.

  44. Tory Pawell

    Terrific job!

  45. Dr Mon

    Sounds well written. Keep doing what you are doing. I’m definitely interested.

  46. I just do not think youd understand any really big words.

  47. Simply a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw outstanding design and style.

    “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.”Albert Einstein.

  48. About | Blackwatertown with love!

  49. I Like this very much!

  50. All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people, whose right it is to designate the rulers of the State and, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good. How in the name of God do the likes of Gormely, or Harney even think that they act for the people? I agree fully with Damo, let the people force the repeal of all the stupid laws that these gobshittes have rushed through before they are sent to oblivion at the next election. If the Irish just stopped reading and looking at censored media, and waken up to reality, then we could return all power to the people, Its rightful place.

  51. Paretti

    Blackwatertown looks good. I’m looking forward to reading it in full.

  52. Only a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw great style. “The price one pays for pursuing a profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.” by James Arthur Baldwin.

  53. Enjoyed reading this, very good stuff.

    “It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.” John Andrew Holmes.

  54. Yesterday, while I was at work, my cousin stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  55. Thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoyed it. I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

  56. Cuttitta

    Good blog! Well written.

  57. I am just a beginner at blogging but I am certainly enjoying your blog. You really come up with some good ideas.

  58. Only a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw great style .

  59. Stanley Randal

    Have you given any consideration at all to having a version of your blog in French? I know a small number of translaters here who would certainly help you do it for no cost, if you want to get in touch with me personally.

  60. Seems like a rattling good read. I like it.

  61. lisa olson

    Hello. I like your writing so much!

  62. Parco

    Hi. I enjoyed reading your excerpt. Looking forward to more.

  63. Vicky

    Hey sweetheart – from a female reader – keep up the awesome posts.

  64. Ruthanne Sikorski

    I love this. Clever work.

  65. Cason

    Hi. I just want to say that I enjoyed reading about your book.
    All the best.

  66. It seems to be a very interesting story! I once met a former IRA man and some other guys talking about the time back then. I think it definetely sounds like a story worth reading!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂

  67. Thanks a Lovely post!! ……………………..

  68. Jules Matheney

    Your writing has heart.

  69. Molander

    Hi! I want to give you a massive thumbs up for this.

  70. NB Quinoes

    It’s really a disgrace you do not have any donate button! I’d definitely contribute if it meant I could read the full book.

  71. Tori Schlabach

    Greetings from Colorado.
    Browsing your blog during my lunch break. Enjoying it.
    Anyways, amazing blog!

  72. Nicholas

    I like your blog and your writing.
    “To hold a pen is to be at war.” – Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire.

  73. Catherine Fitzsimmons

    Good ingredients.

  74. marioloughlin

    Good web site you’ve got here.
    It’s hard to find excellent writing like yours these days. I honestly appreciate individuals like you!
    Take care!!

  75. Daisy Lassiter

    Hi there, I enjoyed reading this.

  76. Maira Keeler

    Hey! This is kinda interesting. I look forward to reading it one day.
    Fantastic blog by the way!

  77. Tressa

    I really like what you’ve come up with. Keep up the great work.

  78. Lashawn Outhwaite

    I’m happy to read this.

  79. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.

    Your website offered us with valuable information to work on.
    You have done a formidable job and our whole community will be thankful to

  80. Virginia Hebblethwaite

    Howdy! Great read.

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