Genre: Cult Fiction, Coming of Age
Publisher: Excalibur Press
Publication Date: February 19, 2016
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About the Book
“We’re a youth culture of hedonists, Scarlet. And we’ll drink, snort, love and laugh ourselves into nothingness.”
Scarlet has never been one for moderation or doing anything by halves in fact. 2014 is coming to an end, and a generation of disillusioned youth is awakening. Set in the heart of Belfast, Scarlet, Deano and Lauryn find themselves in a restless limbo fueled by increasing amounts of cocaine. The opportunity for hedonistic extravagance is everywhere in ever-evolving forms, and they are taking full advantage.
Then Scarlet finds her ultimate hit…Jamie Brennan. Their intoxicating affair takes them on a metaphysical journey of love, laughter and psychedelic discovery. But all good things must come to an end, and their beautifully-crafted reality is threatened by the past, the truth and their own self-destruction. Will they realise who they are before it’s too late?
‘Tripping’ delves deep into a world defined by excess, pleasure and soul exploration. When more is never enough, how much are we willing to sacrifice?
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Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am 26 and currently live in Belfast, Northern Ireland. After experiencing almost ten years of mental illness and addiction, I have been recovering for almost 2. I am the contributor’s editor and part owner of BAM Mag, an online publication based in Northern Ireland. I also write a Game of Thrones column called Throne Watch (www.bamni.co.uk-category/throne-watch). I am an aspiring Buddhist and practice meditation regularly.
What inspired you to write?
I have always loved writing from a young age. In school, English was my favourite subject and I have always been passionate about the written word in all its forms. It’s a very natural form of expression for me.
What inspired your novel?
I was in a psychiatric hospital recovering from a severe episode of depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I began writing the story out of the blue and never expected anyone else to actually read it!
What is the genre?
It is a cult fiction, coming of age drama.
What draws you to this genre?
It was very easy to write in this genre because I was growing up myself and was drawing and elaborating on personal experiences. With growing up novels it is a process of purging and processing your own issues, which is why it can be so therapeutic.
I also wanted to explore the depths of drug addiction, the mind of hedonism and the self-destructive culture that so many young people are stuck in.
How did you develop your plot and your characters?
I wanted the main character, Scarlet, to be female since you don’t read about women going through addiction as much as you do men. The young characters were easy to play with and develop as I had been in their position myself. Being my first novel, it was fun to add to their characters and change around their qualities. I am intrigued by psychology and people-watching, so creating characters is an extension of that.
What inspired your protagonist?
Mainly my younger self and all the deluded mindsets I am constantly trying to work through. I have met so many similar young women on a search for their ‘truth’, and there is a little part of her in many of us.
What inspired your antagonist?
Again a combination of people I met, experiences, and the inner demons many people face when it comes to addiction, disillusion and self-destruction.
What was the hardest part to write in the book?
Probably the climactic points of the characters’abuse of drugs, where I had to mentally return to that mindset and get it out on paper. It’s not easy to voluntarily go back to your darkest places and accept them as they were, but it is essential for growth.
What was your favourite part of your book to write?
I loved revisiting parts of the story, even if they were wrapped up in addiction, pain and delusion because now I have distance. This meant I learned to look at them with perspective, so I appreciate being able to do that and learn from it.
Are you a full-time or a part-time writer? If part-time, what do you do besides write?
I write part-time for BAM Mag and Excalibur Press, although sometimes that turns into full time! Aside from that, I practice Buddhism and volunteer at Belfast’s Kadampa Meditation Centre.
What are you currently reading?
“How To Solve Our Human Problems” by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Who would you say are your favourite authors?
David Nicholls, The Bronte Sisters and Irvine Welsh.
How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?
The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Tibetan Book of Living And Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
One Day by David Nicholls
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
What are your future projects, if any?
I am writing another fiction novel about two sisters as well as a non-fiction book on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I will be expanding my Throne Watch column onto YouTube this year and also hope to write more articles on modern Buddhism.
What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write as much as you can and forget about the ego voice telling you what you are writing is rubbish. Let the rubbish come out and trust your inner voice. Write as though no one will ever read it and explore yourself through your writing to reach the good stuff.