I recently took part in the blog tour for Through the Barricades by Denise Deegan, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I LOVED it. I reached out to the author to ask if she would like to be interviewed on my blog, and she said yes!
Now, on to the interview!
R: Hi Denise, introduce yourself to Book Geek readers, and tell us a little about you – what do you do when you aren’t writing?
D: Hello, Book Geek readers! I’m an Irish writer of adult and young adult fiction. When not writing, I like to dream, read, watch movies, walk in nature with my dog (Homer), chat with my family, and eat out as often as possible. I’m a big fan of weddings! We won’t talk about the time I spend on social media.
R: I think we all spend a silly amount of time on social media! Writing can be a very difficult profession, so what made you want to become a writer?
D: I was doing a literature review for a Masters in PR. A book didn’t exist that should have. So I wrote it. As soon as it was published, I was struck by an overwhelming, inexplicable urge to write fiction. Without an agent, publisher or even an idea for a book, I gave up my business to follow my dream.
R: Wow! That was such a risk, but I’m do glad you did! Through the Barricades tells the story of Maggie and Daniel’s relationship, set during the Easter Rising in Ireland in 1916. Where did the inspiration come from for this story, and what made you want to tell it?
D: I’m a bit of a rebel at heart. I am also very proud of my Irish heritage. The centenary of the 1916 Rising was approaching and I wanted to write a story of a girl rebel who was prepared to sacrifice everything for what she believed in. And I wanted her to fall in love with a pacifist!
R: This novel has romance and the compulsory (and fantastic) Irish sense of humour, but it also has more serious scenes, including chapters set during the First World War, as well as the Easter Rising. How much research did you have to do for this novel, and how historically accurate are the events you include?
D: I spent two years researching this book. There were three big areas to cover:
- The Lockout of 1913 (Dublin workers were locked out of their jobs when they dared to strike),
- A specific Irish regiment fighting in Gallipoli during WW1
- The Easter Rising of 1916 (a rebellion that changed Irish history).
The research was both challenging and fascinating. I discovered that historical reports are subject to interpretation. As such, they vary. The secret was to find as much information from primary sources, such as witness statements of people who were actually there. Events included in the book are as accurate as they could possibly be. I wanted readers to be able to rely on what they were reading.