1. How did you come up with the title?
The title ‘Unlucky Dip’ came to me in the small hours of the morning (3.34am to be precise!). I woke up, wrote it down in a barely discernible scrawl on the notepad by my bed and promptly went back to sleep! ‘Unlucky Dip’ just seemed perfect to me - I like the tie-in with the ‘lucky dip’ sweets I used to buy when I was younger, i.e. life is just a unknown mixture of randomness, you never know what you’re getting and that feeling of surprise reflects the character of the storyline, although in Holly’s case her surprises are not necessarily nice ones! I also like the fact you can have a ‘dip’ in the water which ties in with the start of the novel when Holly is thrown into the Thames by her step-mother.
2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I have to admit that I haven’t really thought about this before, but if the book does have a message it would be that despite the fact that life can be difficult at times, there are always gifts along the way, it’s just a question of recognising them.
3. How much of the book is realistic?
I’d like to think that the conversations between the teenagers and the way their thought processes work are realistic. I’m laughing as I’m writing this because I have a feeling the teenagers might disagree but hey, I gave it my best shot! I’ve actually dedicated the book to my son and his friends – having a house full of teenagers over the last few years has been an absolute joy, they’re passionate, loyal, emotional, funny, intelligent and generally just brilliant!
4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
No, and that’s not because I think it’s perfect it’s because if I were to start tweaking I wouldn’t be able to stop!
5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part was finding the time to write and then edit it (it took me over 5 years!). Like so many other authors I work full time, run a house, a son, cats and have lots of other responsibilities and it’s difficult to find time for myself. Thinking about it, that’s probably why I wake up in the small hours of the morning and have to write down ideas!
6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
On a practical level I’ve learnt, through trial and error, how to structure a story, the importance of character development, continuity, etc. I’ve learnt that loving writing isn’t enough, it’s actually very hard work if you want your story to be captivating. I’ve also learnt the importance of editing – you have to edit, edit and edit again! The reviews I’ve had from ‘Unlucky Dip’ have taken me to the next step of actually believing that perhaps I can write, that I do have some small talent so that’s something else I’ve learnt!
7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I remember being about 8 and having to read out an essay in class. It was the one and only time I think I’ve ever had a round of applause and I’ve loved writing ever since!
8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Hmmm, this is a bit of a ‘lucky dip’ question because there are so many authors, so many genres that I truly love that it’s almost impossible to choose! However, if I had to pick one author it would be David Gemmell – I love the way he writes heroic fantasy. The trick to fantasy to make it seem realistic and David Gemmell’s characters just spring to life on the page.
9. Tell us your latest news.
I’m working hard on two different projects. One is the Burly & Grum Tales – I love writing these stories and want to write lots more. I’m now being invited to read at schools and libraries, the books are being converted to audio (if you’d like to listen to a free sample just go to https://soundcloud.com/#patscullion/burly-and-grums-halloween), I’ve got lots of ideas for competitions – in fact I have so many plans I have a feeling that 2013 will be an extremely busy year. The other project is a book I started writing many years ago and I have many different versions of it on my computer. It’s a fantasy adventure and it’s a story that I just need to finish because it’s important to me.
10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I can’t imagine life without writing but, having said that, I’ve never had a lot of confidence in my ability so the fact that people are taking time out of their busy lives to contact me and to leave such positive reviews is pretty awesome! I want to learn, to improve my skills, I want to write wonderful stories and I can do all that now because of the readers who have been so supportive – I simply would never have come this far without them! Thank you!
About the Book
There are always high stakes to play for in the world of gambling, but it’s a world 15 year-old Holly Maddon knows nothing about until her step-mother tries to kill her. The race is on as she tries to discover what her step-mother is up to and whether her father was murdered. She comes up against gangsters, multi-million pound land deals, treachery and deceit, she’s kidnapped, shot at and loses just about everything she loves – it’s a rollercoaster of a ride and Holly's intent on turning the tables.
Prices/Formats: $8.45 paperback, $3.12 ebook
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: October 8, 2012
Buy Links: Kindle, Amazon
About the Author
I live in Essex, England with my son and two cats. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked in some very interesting places – the House of Lords, BBC Radio 4, The Economist Newspaper, a dive shop in Grenada, a charity called Mencap and the local Mayor’s office. Funnily enough, a lot of inspiration for my stories comes from the people I’ve met along the way! A couple of years ago I won an Arts Council award which helped me develop my writing skills. The award, along with the advent of self-publishing, changed my life – I’ve learnt an incredible amount, met many wonderful people, published three children’s books in the series ‘The Burly & Grum Tales’ and, more recently, I’ve published ‘Unlucky Dip’ for young adults. I commute into London and work full time, but when I get home each evening I do what I love most – writing.
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