Here is an interview I conducted with YA Irish writer Denise Deegan for www.writing.ie . When I was doing research on her; I sat down with the first in her Butterfly trilogy and did not get up until I had that book read! Then I could not get Alex’s lingo out of my head…..you are never too old to read YA, I really enjoyed it and her interview. So, here ya go!
Oh, I would like to add…..the fab peps at writing.ie did a GREAT job on editing this….they made it so much more alive, I cannot tell you how much I LOVE working with editors. Thanks lads!
In And By The Way we meet Alex Newman, the daughter of a famous Irish rock star who goes to Strandbrook College in South County Dublin, an exclusive school where everyone is the son or daughter of someone. “We are Kids Of. Kids of diplomats, media stars, musicians, artists, actors . . . but it’s like, so what?”
When the book opens, Alex’s mum has recently died of cancer and both Alex and her father are finding it difficult to cope. While her father throws himself into his work, Alex pushes everyone, including her father, away. It’s only when an American boy in her class, David McFadden, starts to pay attention and really listen to Alex, that things slowly begin to change.
A recent review in the Independent described And by the Way as “Packed with contemporary references — Paris Hilton, Anne Hathaway, The Simpsons — this novel deals with teen issues in a very straightforward and honest manner.
The dialogue is sharp …the writing tense, and emotion ripples through every page.
Deegan nails Alex’s caustic teen voice, and leaves the reader rooting for her heroine throughout. Think 90210 with a sprinkling of Dublin grit. This might be just the book to get older teens reading again.”
Having completed a Masters in PR, Denise was used to putting words on the page, and for her, when she first started writing it felt very natural, but she told me, “I didn’t realise, at the time, how much I needed to learn. I just thought, ‘I can do this’, and off I went. I say this to encourage new writers – if you worry too much about your ability, you might never start. I wrote my first novel, Turning Turtle, in six months, and sent it out to editors and agents without editing. I can’t believe that now! I edit every book at least three times before it even goes near a publisher. Luckily, the book had something – a voice, I think – and I was taken up – after I learned to edit.”
Denise has had a very varied career, everything she’s done informing her writing: “I’ve been a nurse, a china restorer, a pharmaceutical sales representative, a public relations executive, a lecturer, and I ran my own public relations business. It did take me a while to come to the decision to quit my business to write – I was throwing away something lucrative, not knowing if I’d ever get published. I look back now and think, mad, but it was the right decision, gave me time to really focus on my work.”
Spending at least three hours each day writing, Denise admits that she spends more than her allocated time on Twitter, the social networking site that is growing increasingly popular with writers. “I follow other writers, but I do get stressed when people talk about word counts and writing at the weekend. Personally, I just sit down and write – some days are great, others aren’t. My favourites writing days are when my characters take over and time disappears, and that’s been the case since I started writing for Young Adults. I love my characters. I love their world.”
Denise’s writing process has…….READ MORE HERE
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