International Award Win

 

ebook-cover-with-sealOverjoyed that Through the Barricades has won the international SCBWI Spark Award. As someone who has huge respect for SCBWI, I’m humbled and honoured. I’m also INCREDIBLY HAPPY!

To celebrate, Through the Barricades is 99c on Kindle until the end of January. Yaay!

You can get it here…

amazon.com, click: here

amazon.co.uk, click: here

Surprise Appearance by my Hero

forrest-gump
As someone who has watched Forrest Gump at least fourteen times (I had to stop counting at some point), you can imagine the excitement when he appeared in this lovely quote on Through the Barricades by the, very generous, Martina Reilly:
 
book-flatlay-for-denise‘Things I look for in a good book – character, plot and the author’s ability to make me care. Denise Deegan does this in spades in Through the Barricades. OK, the historical backdrop lends itself to a pacy narrative – Ireland from 1914 to 1916 – a tumultuous time in her history – but it takes a clever writer to weave the history and not let it get in the way of the plot.
I fell in love with Maggie, Daniel and their friend Michael from their first introduction. I loved Maggie’s fire and Daniel’s devotion to her. I loved how their relationship developed and I enjoyed the almost Forrest Gump-ness of the book as Maggie interacted with important Irish figures. The pieces written about the trenches in the First World War were really moving as was the devotion Maggie’s family had to each other. Bravo Denise.’ (Martina Reilly, best-selling author of Proof)
 
forrest-gump
More on Through The Barricades here:
Now I’m off to make it fifteen times. A very happy 2017 to you all.

how I got stuck…

book-flatlay-for-deniseI didn’t get stuck while writing, Through the Barricades. That happened after. I explain all in an article published on writing.ie, a great resource for writers. In the meantime, here’s an edited version:

Traditional wisdom advises sticking to your genre and building your audience. It makes sense. To me, though, writing is about the very opposite of sense. It’s about sharing the stories that come my way. They are gifts to me. That’s how it feels. I’m not writing, I’m channelling. The stories are coming from somewhere else. Somewhere magical.

Through the Barricades is my first historical novel. I have written contemporary family dramas under my pen name, Aimee Alexander. I have written for young adults under my own name, Denise Deegan. Switching genres has never bothered me. A story arrives, I write it. I’m not restricted by how it will be categorised. I do that, I get bored. I get bored, my readers get bored.  The End.

Through the Barricades is a story of duty, love and sacrifice. Maggie Gilligan, driven by the weight of expectation from her dead father’s last request, tries to ‘make a difference in the world.’ Not an easy thing to do in 1913 Dublin. Maggie is frustrated, angry and passionate. Daniel Healy is one of the few people who understands her. Each is prepared to die: Maggie for her country, Daniel for Maggie. Their mutual sacrifices put them on opposite sides of a revolution that alters the course of history.dd_tb_bk1_final-3d

If a story like this arrives to you, you don’t walk away. You open your arms wide. You immerse yourself in research. You try to get it right. You try to understand all those people who risked their lives for what they believed in – whether it was fighting in the Great War or becoming rebels and rising up for Irish freedom. I read, watched, listened to everything I could from that era.

For me there were two research highlights. One was finding a book written in 1917 that recorded what happened my beloved Irish regiment when they arrived in Gallipoli in 1915. It would break your heart. The second was reading actual witness statements from people who were involved in the Irish revolution that became known as the Easter Rising. Here were people I had read about in books, now recounting in their own words what had happened.

For two years, I lived in the early 1900’s. I occupied a world of war and revolution. I saw it, smelled it, tasted it, touched it, heard it. Breathed it. This went beyond research. I was in the trenches with the men in Gallipoli. I felt their fear, their boredom, their homesickness, their thirst, their optimism and pessimism. I was in the trenches again on St Stephen’s Green on a chilly April night as gunfire exploded from a nearby hotel wakening rebels to the treacherousness of their positions.

With Gallipoli in particular, I felt a real connection to those young Irish men in the trenches. I still do. Some day, I will visit those ghostly Turkish beaches. There will be tears. There is no question about that.

I did not think of genre. I let Daniel and Maggie (and Lily and Patrick and Michael and all the many others I have grown so fond of) take me along with them wherever they needed to go.

Then it finally came time to publish the book. That’s when things got real. 

You can read more by visiting: writing.ie.

The review that made me cry

dd_tb_bk1_final-3dAuthors work in a vacuum. We edit and edit and edit to get our stories as good as they can be. And yet, when we send them out into the world, we have no idea – none – how they are going to be received.

We hold our breaths. We pretend we haven’t published anything. Well, some of us do. I do.

Then the reviews come. And we can no longer live in denial.  

Today on twitter, book blogger, Linda Green (Books of All Kinds) tweeted a link to her review of my new novel, Through the Barricades. It made me cry. In relief. In appreciation. She got it. She got what I had been trying to achieve with my story. I was – and am – and will always be – grateful. Linda knows that – I’ve told her – many times, now – poor thing! I do hope that other reviewers and book bloggers realise just how important they are to us. And how much we appreciate them.

Here is Linda’s review (I want to print it onto my duvet and snuggle up in it forever):

THROUGH THE BARRICADES by Denise Deegan is by far my favourite book of 2016. Through the hypnotic characters of Maggie Gilligan and Danny Healy, not only do we get to see an important moment in Irish history come alive in front of our eyes, we also get to understand the harrowing life that so many lived back then, and the undeniable strength and spirit of those that changed the face of Ireland forever. But this is not just a history lesson. This is a story about love and friendship. I fell in love with Danny and Maggie’s relationship as it evolved, with Maggie’s fierce determination to make a difference and improve life for all those she encounters, while Danny literally places his life on the line to protect the woman he loves like no other. We follow them along their dangerous journey as they make new friendships and try to make a change for everyone’s future, and we also get to see the effect this has on their families, watching on the sidelines. THROUGH THE BARRICADES by Denise Deegan does not shy away from the harrowing impact of war or death, and it certainly made me emotional at times, but it was the moments of pure love in this tale that really brought a tear to my eye. THROUGH THE BARRICADES by Denise Deegan is a powerful, emotional story about love – love for one’s country, love for one’s family – and the need to stand up and make yourself heard, to make a difference. Something we all need to be aware of today. THROUGH THE BARRICADES by Denise Deegan is nothing short of stunning and I know it is a book I will re-read for many years to come.
BOOK RATING – 📖📖📖📖📖 5++++

 

 

Publication Day!

dd_tb_bk1_final-1Very happy to announce that my new novel, Through the Barricades, is out today, in time for Christmas.

It’s a story of love through war and revolution. It’s a story of family and what it means to be Irish. It’s a story of the pressure that can come with a fathers’s last request. And it’s a story of fighting for what you believe in, and risking all that you hold dear.

Here is the jacket copy:

‘Make a difference in the world,’ are the last words Maggie Gilligan’s father ever says to her. They form a legacy that she carries in her heart, years later when, at the age of fifteen, she tries to better the lives of Dublin’s largely forgotten poor.

‘Don’t go getting distracted, now,’ is what Daniel Healy’s father says to him after seeing him talking to the same Maggie Gilligan. Daniel is more than distracted. He is intrigued. Never has he met anyone as dismissive, argumentative… as downright infuriating.

A dare from Maggie is all it takes. Daniel volunteers at a food kitchen. There, his eyes are opened to the plight of the poor. It is 1913 and Dublin’s striking workers have been locked out of their jobs. Their families are going hungry. Daniel and Maggie do what they can. Soon, however, Maggie learns that the only way to make a difference is to take up arms.

The story of Maggie and Daniel is one of friendship, love, war and revolution, of two people who are prepared to sacrifice their lives: Maggie for her country, Daniel for Maggie. Their mutual sacrifices put them on opposite sides of a revolution. Can their love survive?

Through the Barricades is available on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. Really hope you enjoy. Have a wonderful Christmas.