A bank worker from Clonsilla who has just published his first book admits it will start some “uncomfortable conversations” for readers.
Paul Cunningham self-published his debut novel, Snared, after receiving countless rejections from literary houses who felt the subject matter was “too dark”.
The book about a paedophile hunter in Dublin is available on Amazon from this Friday, July 5 and Paul (34) says he hopes it gets people talking for the right reasons.
He told Dublin Gazette: “There are some parts of the book that are uncomfortable for people to read and I am aware of that.
“But I felt it was important to raise these issues in a book rather than have people have to confront them in real life.”
Paul wrote and released the song, Sooner or Later, in 2015 which charted successfully in Nashville, but more recently he has turned his writing skills to fiction.
He said: “I stumbled across a video on YouTube showing a paedophile hunter in the UK. I was just disgusted at the whole idea of grown men targeting children like that.
“My book is all based in Dublin with familiar locations like Grafton Street and the GPO, so hopefully Irish people will be able to relate to it.”
Paul’s protagonist starts out with an ulterior motive which is not entirely noble – but his mindset alters as he learns more about the seedy underworld of grooming minors.
He said: “My fictitious character, Frankie, lures men from internet chat rooms and dating apps in the same way the hunting groups do in their videos.
“Snared takes readers on an eye-opening journey and it tackles a very topical issue which needs to be addressed. And there is a big reveal and a plot twist at the end.”
Paul devoted an hour a day to the project and revealed it had taken him over three years to get his book published.
He said: “It’s been an arduous journey getting Snared to this point. Some agents and publishers refused to even read a sample of the manuscript because of the subject matter.
“One Irish publisher really loved it and said it was gripping and edgy, but pulled back because of marketing concerns, but that gave me the confidence to release it myself.
“Yes, my book attempts to deal with a taboo subject matter. But we need to educate future generations so they can identify when they may be in danger.
“If Snared plays a small role in this, it will have done its job.”