Interview · News

Deirdre Sullivan

Deirdre Sullivan is a wonderful Irish Young Adult Writer. She was born and breed in Galway but now lives in Dublin.


She has written several Young adult books but her series Primrose Leary trilogy (Prim Improper, Improper Order and Primperfect) she has written three books in the Nightmare Club series and her next novel, Needlework, will be released in early 2016. Her first and third novels, Prim Improper and Primperfect, were shortlisted for the Children’s Books Ireland Awards. Deirdre was also the only young adult author shortlisted for the EU Prize for Literature in 2015.


Deirdre so kindly did a little interview with us.

Where in Ireland where you born and did you have a local Library?

I was born in Galway, and I loved visiting Galway City Library every weekend. I had the launch for my first two novels in Galway city library and it was really moving and exciting to return to the place where I found so many of my favourite books for the first time to celebrate my own books.

What where a few of your favourite authors when you were a teenager?

I loved Michael Scott, Michael Mullen, Orla Melling. I loved Fairy-tales, and myths and horror and Romance. I read a lot of Virginia Andrews, mostly for the boldness of them, I think. I still love Sarra Manning’s YA novels.

What do you like to do to unwind and relax?

I read, and knit and watch tv shows. I’v been really enjoying Steven Universe recently.

What do you listen to when you write?

I find it hard to listen to anything with lyrics when I’m writing. But I sometimes make playlists that fit my characters for when I go for walks, to try and puzzle things out in my head. Neko Case, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Magnetic Fields, Kristin Hersh and PJ Harvey were all on the playlist for the last book. I think Enya might make an appearance in the new one!

What’s your favourite guilty pleasure?

Trashy Romance novels and pick and mix.

When your writing were do you get your inspiration from?

Everywhere. Things I’ve seen, things I’ve read. Things that have made me sad, or angry, or happy. Interesting facts I’ve learned from people. Things my students notice in the garden. I think when you’re working on something, you’re drinking everything in, hoping it’ll be useful.

When do you find time to write?

On weekends and my lovely long teacher holidays! I’m lucky to get to work at two things I enjoy, but it is hard to carve the time out during term time. Though, if I’m working on something really exciting, then I will make time.

Why do you think Female Authors Dominate Young-Adult Fiction at the moment?

I don’t necessarily think they do. There are a lot of talented male writers in the YA world, it’s just closer to 50/50 than we’re used to. Perhaps that’s to do with women reading more than men? What is your best advice for hopeful YA writers?

Keep reading, keep writing, keeping making things up. And be brave.

And lastly what can you tell us about your new book that’s coming out next year?

I can indeed! It’s called Needlework, and it’s about tattooing and dealing with traumatic experiences that have shaped you in spite of yourself. Frances, the main character, uses her art as a way of escaping from her difficult circumstances. It’s darker than the Primrose Leary books, and I wrote in for Nanowrimo in 2010, between Prim Improper and Improper Order. I held on to it for a while, because it was a difficult book to write and I needed to get a distance from it before I edited it or showed it to anybody. We’re at the cover stage now, and I’m still a little nervous about it…

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