Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Deadly Shot: Dan's Diary (+$20 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Deadly Shot
Author: Patricia Murphy 
Series: N/A
Pages: 304
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Poolbeg Press 
Format: Kindle
Genre: MG Fiction
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
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Football mad, twelve- year- old Dan is a trusted messenger for Ireland’s rebel leader, Michael Collins. He promises his cousin Molly to never fire a gun, but after the dramatic events of “Bloody Sunday” in Croke Park, he is pulled deeper into the struggle. Hunted by a vengeful Intelligence Officer, Molly and Dan are forced to flee Dublin. But unknown to Dan, he holds the key to a deadly plot. And his enemy will stop at nothing to track him down. On the run, they meet Flying Columns and narrowly escape death But as Cork burns can Dan continue to outrun his enemy?
~Taking Liberties with Irish History~
The character in my novel Deadly Shot is based on my late grandfather Dan who I adored. He was a fantastic granddad, a talented footballer in his youth who played football for Ireland. He taught me how to play soccer as good as any boy. I was a harum-scarum, hyperactive kid – wild was probably the polite way of saying it. But he never let anyone criticize me – “leave her be,” he’d say in his soft voice, “she’s just high spirited.” Or if I told tall tales, he’d defend me with “it’s just her over-active imagination.”

He also told me thrilling tales of his own that he would begin with, “Now this story is for your ears only . . .” They were about his time in the Fianna military boy scouts during Ireland’s War of Independence in the early 1920’s. He described being a lookout, hiding guns and running messages like something out of a thriller. The stories happened to be mostly true and they captured my imagination.

Years later, my lovely grandfather is long dead, and I have written a wildly exaggerated version of his stories for my novel, Deadly Shot – Dan’s War of Independence 1920-22. It follows on from my critically acclaimed novel about the Easter rebellion in Ireland – The Easter Rising 1916 – Molly’s Diary. I would love to know what he would think of my writing. If I were to meet his ghost, I hope the conversation would go like this.

Granddad – So you’ve written up my old stories, have you? Good girl. I trust you haven’t said anything that will get me into trouble!
Patricia –. I hope you don’t mind. I’ve taken the few little facts you gave me about being a lookout, running messages and burying guns in Ringsend Park. And well, I may have expanded it – just a little bit . . .
Granddad – Only a little bit? That’s not like you with your over-active imagination.
Patricia – Well, a lot actually. I’ve made you a messenger for the top rebel leader, Michael Collins. So you are kind of a lynchpin in his underground system. And I’ve put you into the heart of key events, like the massacre on Bloody Sunday 1920 when Collins hitmen took out fourteen British spies and then the British fired into a civilian football match at Croke Park, killing fourteen. Then you go on the run and meet Flying Columns, and see the burning of Cork. . .
Granddad – Merciful hour! I suppose I save Ireland singlehandedly.
Patricia– Not single-handedly. You see, there’s this sinister British spy who comes up with this terrible plot to de-rail any chance for peace and you have to go to England with Molly . . .
Granddad – England? In my short trousers? With Molly? Whose she?
Patricia – She is someone I’ve made up along with that part of the plot. She’s your seventeen-year-old cousin, and a medical student at Trinity College. She wants to be a surgeon like your real grandfather who was a surgeon major in the British army. Molly is the heroine of my first book about the 1916 Rising where she tells about that terrible week through the eyes of a child. It’s all interwoven with real historical events.
Granddad – So if it’s for young people, I hope I’m not setting a bad example. I always told you, Patricia, that violence is wrong and guns are dangerous. Times of war are difficult for children.
Patricia – That’s a big theme in the book. You promise Molly that you’ll never find a gun. As you get deeper into the war, it gets harder to keep that promise. But you think very deeply about what it means, about war and fighting. And Molly who is deeply compassionate is a big influence on you. Like you were on me. The book highlights how war traumatizes children But also how they are resilient and find ways to survive. How love is stronger than hate.
Granddad – So you did listen to me! I feel proud of you. You’ve given me a kind of immortality I wasn’t expecting.
Patricia – I knew you’d forgive me. Though the plot is a bit fanciful I admit. Now, tell me, what’s it like on the other side?

Granddad – Well, as long as you wont get me into trouble -  Now, this story is for your ears only . . . 
~Try an Excerpt!~
The mean-faced Tan moved forward and cocked a gun in my direction. “You with the ball! Stop, you little Fenian brat, or I’ll shoot!”

He advanced towards me, his eyes flaming down the barrel of the gun. I thought I was going to wet myself with fear.

On impulse, I skied the ball straight up to heaven. It soared higher than the rooftops. Everyone tilted their heads. From the corner of my eye I glimpsed the young rebel making a run for it towards Saint Andrew’s church on the opposite side of the road.

“POW!” a shot rang out.

I prayed it wasn’t the rebel. But the lifeless thud of my ball was almost as bad. The Tan had shot my dearest possession. But they hadn’t even seen the gunman!
~Meet Patricia!~ 
Patricia Murphy is an award-winning children’s author and Producer/Director of documentaries. Her most recent novel is Deadly Shot – Dan’s Diary - the War of Independence 1920-22. Previous works include the critically acclaimed Easter Week 1916 – Molly’s Diary, described as “brilliantly imagined”, “beautifully written and compelling” and “ fantastic at bringing history alive for children”. She is also the author of The Chingles Celtic Fantasy trilogy. She was the winner of the Poolbeg “Write a Bestseller for Children” Competition 2004.

She is also an award-winning Producer/Director of primetime documentaries for BBC and Channel 4. These include Children of Helen House on the Oxford children’s hospice for BBC. She created and filmed the launch programmes of Born to Be Different the Channel 4 flagship series following six children with disabilities through the 21st century. Other films include Behind the Crime about criminals and Raised by the State on growing up in care. She has also made Worst Jobs in History with Tony Robinson for Channel 4.

Patricia will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. A bloody period in history. A great way to learn about it.

    1. Thanks for your comment Mary. I've been getting great feedback about the book not just from kids but also teachers where its being read in schools. It appeals to both boys and girls. Even boys who are reluctant readers seem to be responding to it. And even better if they learn some history too.

  2. What are three albums (soundtracks or compilations don’t count) that really define you or have shaped you as a person?

    1. oops - reply accidentally posted to Laney4 - see below

  3. Replies
    1. I'm lucky to have had a very interesting career. It can be tricky riding two horses.But I see it all as storytelling whether you tell it with a camera or a pen.
      thanks Laney4

  4. Wow! Another great question!
    Nirvana's Nevermind - I totally loved that album.It came out just before I went to Film school. I remember seeing Nirvana's shambolic interview on a TV show and then they performed "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and the hairs stood up on the back of my neck. It still has this great kinetic energy. Poor old Kurt Cobain, the lost talent of his generation.When I first went to Seattle I made a pilgrimage to where they first performed and then to Aberdeen where he grew up. It was so desolate yet bleak in a beautiful way, I could see where their anger and passion came from. I want to go and listen to them now!
    Elbow's - The Seldom Seen Kid. I loved Elbow before the hit the big time. And always wondered why they weren't yet mega. My brother's explanation was that they looked like four beery blokes from Manchester and one cool one. Which was true but they've gone on to be huge, which is great. The album came out around the time I had my daughter. I had a really difficult pregnancy so was in a state of euphoria when she was born that was reflected in the album. I remember walking round blissful with her in the pram, singing "Everything has Changed" from Mirrorball and "One day like this". Sublime.
    Another album that had a big effect on me is "Dead Cities" by Future Sounds of London. This is very moody, ambient electronic music and I used it as the soundtrack for a documentaries series I made called "Behind the Crime" for Channel 4. It was about how criminals committed their crimes and was a trip to the dark side. The music was perfect - edgy, ambiguous, compelling. It also cost a fortune to use. But we all fell in love with it so I was allowed blow the budget (okay after a long eh, discussion!). It has a really strong London vibe and still sounds contemporary.
    Cool question! thanks

  5. Good luck 133 to beat and counting! I'm getting addicted to the raffelcopter!

  6. Really great post, sounds like a book I will enjoy reading! Thanks for sharing :)

  7. I enjoyed the post, sounds like an interesting book, thanks for sharing!

  8. Thanks to Andra for being a great host and to everyone who took the time to post a comment. I really appreciate it and enjoyed hanging out with you guys,
    best wishes from Oxford

  9. Excellent post! I really enjoyed reading the excerpt and learning about this book. This book sounds like a very interesting and intriguing read! Looking forward to checking this book out!