Alex was brought up on a diet of fairy tales.
“From the minute I was born, Mum read to me. I learned the books by heart.”
As a child she rewrote tales by Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl with herself in a starring role.
Graduating in 2010, with jobs scarce, she and her boyfriend moved to Toronto, Canada.
“I’ve worked in all kinds of admin – and now work for a tech company.”
She started writing again, too.
“I wrote a couple of bad novels, but I had no confidence. I was constantly rewriting.”
NaNoWriMo – write a novel in November, changed all that.
“The hardest thing for me, is getting an idea down on paper, and in 2018, I wrote 50,000 words without stopping to fix it. That worked for me.”
That was the basis for the Book of Secrets.
“I spent the next year and a half rewriting it, and in mid-2019, started sharing it with friends, and getting feedback. It was ready in 2020, when O’Brien were looking for new authors. They took it on.”
Who is Alex Dunne?
Date of birth: 1987 in Shannon, County Clare. “My family had moved there from the North during the troubles.”
Education: St Patrick’s Comprehensive, Shannon; University of Limerick, English and History; NUI Galway, MA in Literature and Publishing.
Home: Toronto, Canada.
Family: Boyfriend, Richard.
The Day Job: Customer Service in a tech company.
In Another Life: “I’d like to be an archaeologist in an academic setting.”
Favourite Writers: Roald Dahl; Tolkien. “The Lord of the Rings was the background of my teenage years.” Diana Wynne Jones; Terry Pratchett; Louise O’Neill; Sarah Maria Griffin.
Second Novel: “I’d love to do a second Book of Secrets. There’s a lot of Irish folklore still to be explored.”
Top Tip: “Shut off your inner editor and get the story on the page. And don’t throw anything out.”
Website: alexdunnewrites.com Twitter: @alexdunnewrites
The Debut: The Book of Secrets. The O’Brien Press: €12.99. Kindle: €6.24.
Like her Granny, 11-year-old Cat can see all things supernatural. When the fairies’ magic endangers her family, she needs to face her foes to save those she loves.
The Verdict: A brilliant twisty read for 7 – 9-year-olds; full of Irish folklore. I couldn’t put it down!
Published in the Irish Examiner on 12th November.
© Sue J Leonard.