First Years – Piranhas in the Bedroom by Andy Dale (Author Interview)

First Years – Piranhas in the Bedroom by Andy Dale (Author Interview).


First Years – Piranhas in the Bedroom by Andy Dale (Author Interview)

First Years - Piranhas in the Bedroom Cover Image

First Years – Piranhas in the Bedroom Cover

What is “First Years – Piranhas in the Bedroom” about?

An unfortunate 19 year old boy with limited ‘life’ experience who goes away to college with the aim of getting a degree to allow him to follow his dream to be a teacher. But he ends up in a house of students who just want to have fun. Oh, and he didn’t plan to fall in love with a girl from Rochdale.

What inspired you to write this book?

A chance to recall my own college days from the 80’s. A return to an easier time before mobile phones, the Internet and X-Factor.  Also as a fan of the BBC series ‘Life on Mars’ I wanted a way to show how life has changed in the last 25 years.

Writing comedy has always come quite easy but this time I wanted to write a love story.

Who are the primary readers of this book?

I think men in their early 40’s, but hope ladies too will also enjoy the nostalgia.  As well as modern day students to show they weren’t the first.

How long did it take you to write?

Interestingly I wrote first nine chapters back in 1987 when I was at college. But then it was another twenty years before I wrote any more before finishing it this year. So you could say it was 25 years.

How did you come up with the title?

This came to me in October 2012. It was always called ‘First Years’ because about a group of first year students, but it needed more. Reading back through the story I recalled how Jonathan’s roommate had two piranha fish in a tank in the bedroom.

Why did you choose this cover?

I wanted a ‘Carry On’ style cover that should the reader all the different distractions facing a boy at college in the 80’s. 

Did you do any research for your book?

I read a lot of books by Mike Gayle and Nick Hornby. Books aimed at the male market.

Did you learn anything from writing this book, and if so what?

I think the importance of developing rounded characters and write detailed description of them before you start typing.

What do you want to say to your readers?

I hope you have as many laughs reading this book as I did writing it.

Andy Dale Biography:

Mad Aston Villa fan; distracted from writing by a career in IT. I am a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and I have become a leading light in the Microsoft SharePoint community.

Born in a semi detached house in Willenhall back in the late 60’s I have always been a Black Country boy at heart. I was one of the first pupils to go to Sneyd Comprehensive when it opened in 1978. At Sneyd, a passion for story-writing quickly became apparent.  With stories ranging from unfortunate male comic characters to a fruitless search for a missing top hat. School Table Football champion, two years running, who really just wanted to be a Primary school teacher.

I have been heavily influenced by romantic comedies from the 80’s; like Four Weddings, Pretty Woman and Fever Pitch. Naming my cats Harry and Sally also points to another romantic 80’s film that had quite an effect on me.

Interview Graham Parks … author of The Cure

The Cure Front CoverWhat is the The Cure about?

The journey of William Fitzgerald, an alcoholic whose condition has robbed him of not only his dignity, but any semblance of what it is to be considered a ‘normal’ member of society.  He wants to find a way back – a way out from his mere existence – he wants a release from the pain that exists in his head.  He’s offered help but is help enough when pitted against the demons from within and the underhandedness of somebody he’s come to consider a friend.

What inspired you to write this book?

Whilst out running along the bank of the River Thames I often passed an old vagabond who slept under an old tarpauline.  He’d be there for a few days and then diappear only to return a week, or so, later. I often wondered where he’d gone and how he survived. I saw him one day drunkenly serenading passersby outside the postoffice looking for donations, or alms you might say.  I watched as an elderly lady approached who seemed to really take pity on him; maybe she knew him I have no idea.  Anyway, that brief moment inspired me to write the book.

Who are the primary readers of this book?

All those who have ever suffered some sort of dependency and anybody who enjoys a good story that asks questions and leaves the unfolding of its conclusion right till the very end.

​How long did it take you to write?
1 year to write

How did you come up with the title?
I thought it seemed quite appropriate given that a hell of a lot of people today seem to think the answer to their problems lie in taking a drink.

Why did you choose this cover?
Is a depiction of how I remember seeing the vagabond on a day when he looked particularly desolate and all he had was a can to embrace in his trembling hand.

Did you do any research for your book?
Found out how the format works at AA meetings, etc.

Did you learn anything about writing this book, and if so what?
I learnt that we’re all at the mercy of our unconscious thinking.

What do you want to say to your readers?
It’s very easy to scoff at those less fortunate because we all, in the main, think it’s a simple case of a lack of self-control.  The reality, I have found, is that the enemy lies deep within our pysches and it’s often incredibly difficult, even for the best of us, to distinguish between reality and fiction.  To be riddled with fear, self-loathing and a good degree of low self-esteem, to name but a few, is a battle, unfortunately, that few really ever overcome sufficently enough to overide the compulsion to escape.

Second Novel recently launched … The Cure

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via Second Novel recently launched … The Cure.