Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Deadly Shot: Dan's Diary by Patricia Murphy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Patricia Murphy will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thanks for stopping by to chat with us. Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

I love history, and I love story so bringing the two together is a great thrill for me. I also like the challenge of engaging and interpreting the past for a young audience. History is often contentious ground and controversial. So opening young readers eyes to the complexity beneath the narrative is important. But it's also full of cracking stories and astonishing events. I used to love listening to my grandparents stories of their childhood when I was young. The hero Dan in Deadly Shot is loosely based on my grandfather who played football and was also in the Fianna militarist boy scouts. His dramatic tales inspired me, and I wanted to write about what it must have been like for him living in such dark times.

What research is required?

Historical novels need to evoke the past. So getting authentic details right is key. So for 1920’s Ireland, no sneakers or plastic. And its small details, like Dan would have worn short trousers, so getting a pair of long pants was a big deal. Newsboys selling papers at street corners also knew everything that was going on. Horses and carts were still in use as well as motor-cars. But it's more about capturing the feel of the past. Too much detail and it begins to feel too leaden and like a heritage catalog.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

The main character Dan in Deadly Shot is very focused and as a sport’s mad boy, literally goal driven. I hope his focus has rubbed off! Also, as Dan is based on my grandfather, I’ve learned really precious lessons from him. His main gift was belief in me. I was a high energy, active child who wore a lot of people out and I had an over-active imagination. But he would always tell everyone I was “grand” and would grow up just fine. I hope he was right!

Do you have any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

I like to buy new notebooks at the start of a new project. I’m very keen on stationary.

I’m also a bit superstitious about talking too much about the book when I’m working on it. I don’t really talk to anyone about it until it’s written up. Though I do share the summary – see below!

Are you a plotter or pantser?

A combination. I start writing to get the voice of the characters and the feel of the book. Then I start nailing down the plot. I like plotting – it's solid, artisan work. But the map is not the territory. If something unexpected pops up, I go with that.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

A large Indian tapestry cushion of an elephant below a painting of a Maharajah from my travels. Also a photograph of Paris and two Marimekko cushions from Finland. I’m sitting downstairs in my living room because my left hand is in a cast and my desk in my study is too uncomfortable. I fell off my bicycle and fractured my left wrist. I am left handed.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I’m working on the third book in the trilogy of Ireland’s road to the Republic. It’s about the Irish Civil War in 1922. This is told from the viewpoint of a contemporary Irish-American girl who returns to live in Dublin after her mother’s messy divorce. She finds a cache of letters and the sliver of a diamond in their boarding house and is plunged into a mystery that takes her into Ireland’s civil war, the Russian revolution and lost millions in an American bank account. Once I wrote The Easter Rising 1916 – Molly’s Diary and then Deadly Shot about the War of Independence, the whole period got hold of me!

Do you have a question for our readers?

What historical period or event would you most like to read a novel about?

Football mad, twelve- year- old Dan is a trusted messenger for Ireland’s rebel leader, Michael Collins. He promises his cousin Molly to never fire a gun, but after the dramatic events of “Bloody Sunday” in Croke Park, he is pulled deeper into the struggle. Hunted by a vengeful Intelligence Officer, Molly and Dan are forced to flee Dublin. But unknown to Dan, he holds the key to a deadly plot. And his enemy will stop at nothing to track him down. On the run, they meet Flying Columns and narrowly escape death But as Cork burns can Dan continue to outrun his enemy?

Enjoy an excerpt:

The mean-faced Tan moved forward and cocked a gun in my direction. “You with the ball! Stop, you little Fenian brat, or I’ll shoot!”

He advanced towards me, his eyes flaming down the barrel of the gun. I thought I was going to wet myself with fear.

On impulse, I skied the ball straight up to heaven. It soared higher than the rooftops. Everyone tilted their heads. From the corner of my eye I glimpsed the young rebel making a run for it towards Saint Andrew’s church on the opposite side of the road.

“POW!” a shot rang out.

I prayed it wasn’t the rebel. But the lifeless thud of my ball was almost as bad. The Tan had shot my dearest possession. But they hadn’t even seen the gunman!

About the Author:
Patricia Murphy is an award-winning children’s author and Producer/Director of documentaries. Her most recent novel is Deadly Shot – Dan’s Diary - the War of Independence 1920-22. Previous works include the critically acclaimed Easter Week 1916 – Molly’s Diary, described as “brilliantly imagined”, “beautifully written and compelling” and “ fantastic at bringing history alive for children”. She is also the author of The Chingles Celtic Fantasy trilogy. She was the winner of the Poolbeg “Write a Bestseller for Children” Competition 2004. She is also an award-winning Producer/Director of primetime documentaries for BBC and Channel 4. These include Children of Helen House on the Oxford children’s hospice for BBC. She created and filmed the launch programmes of Born to Be Different the Channel 4 flagship series following six children with disabilities through the 21st century. Other films include Behind the Crime about criminals and Raised by the State on growing up in care. She has also made Worst Jobs in History with Tony Robinson for Channel 4.

Facebook - Deady Shot:
Facebook - Molly's Diary:

Buy Deadly Shot – Dan’s Diary at Amazon, Amazon UK, or Poolbeg.

Buy Molly’s Diary at Amazon UK, Amazon, or Poolbeg

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. What do you think is the most useless class in high school?

  2. Thanks for the interview. Congrats on your new release.

  3. Thanks Sandy. Really enjoyed answering the questions

  4. Enjoyed the interview and the excerpt, sounds like a great book, thanks for sharing!

  5. Loved your interview and thanks for the chance to win.

  6. Really great interview, it was fun to read! Thanks for sharing :)

  7. I really enjoyed both the interview and the excerpt, thank you for sharing! It sounds like a great book.

  8. I love stationery too. Great interview.


So... inquiring minds want to know: what do you think?