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.