Author Interview: Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

Today I would like to welcome author Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick to my blog. Marie- Louise is the author of YA novel Dark Warning. You can check out my review of Dark Warning here . Enjoy the interview!

Also quick note come back next week where I will be giving away some copies of Dark Warning thanks to Orion Books!

Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got into writing?

I’ve been writing and illustrating picturebooks for years. I never thought I’d write novels but a character called G started chattering in my head and the idea for Timecatcher, my first novel, just wouldn’t go away. I knew a novel was going to need a whole new set of writing skills and take a lot of work but I had to do it!

For all those that haven't heard of your YA novel Dark Warning can you tell us a little about it?

It’s about a young girl, Taney, who realizes she has second sight and struggles to come to terms with it. She also astral projects, only they didn’t call it that back in the late 1700s so I’ve called it ‘floating’.

She’s an outsider and gets together with another outsider, a young boy called Billy-the-bowl , who lives on the streets. Billy is based on a real Dublin character my gran told me about when I was a kid. He’s a handsome charmer but was born with no legs and moves around the city in a little bowl on wheels. He sees the possibilities of Taney’s gift and leads her into gambling dens and seedy places. Meanwhile working at charring with her stepmother allows Taney glimpses into the lives of the 'Quality' – wealthy Dubliners.

Then young servant girls begin to be attacked on the streets at night and Taney is a reluctant witness.

What I really liked about Dark Warning is that it is set in Georgian Dublin. I personally don't like to read books set in a "historical" back round as such but I LOVED it I think it is an amazing setting for the book. How much research did you have to do to get the setting right etc?

Loads! I need to be able to see my story inside my head in order to write it so I had to know what Dublin looked like then and how people from different classes lived. I love history but I hate when I read novels and the research is plonked in big heavy wodges on the page; it interrupts the flow of the story for me. When I'm writing I really want the reader to see what I’m seeing, but the characters and story have to come first so I try to do so much research that it just weaves its way in there without my really doing it consciously.

I loved the dialect of the book with the irish phasing and sayings. Do you think that using the dialect may be hard for some readers to understand if they aren't familar with it?

The story is told in first person through Taney. She’s a young girl from the mean streets of Dublin so I had to give her an accent! I loved writing her; her voice was really strong inside my head. I’ve
kept her accent pretty light though, so I think/hope it will take readers just a few pages to get the hang of it. Billy and some of the other characters have stronger accents.
The cover of Dark Warning is striking. It is one of the things that made me pick it up and see what it was about. How much say did you have in the cover design and what are your thoughts on it?

Not much! I did ask the publishers to take out a fence along the field – there wouldn’t have been wooden fences in Ireland back then. I think it’s a great cover but if I’m honest I’d have liked something urban – Taney running up a narrow street, maybe, preferably at night!

Would you ever consider writing another book about the character Taney from Dark Warning?

I’d love to spend some time with her again and see what she gets up to next. Her second sight would allow her to get involved in all sorts of adventures...
Are you currently working on any new projects?

I’m in the middle of editing my next novel. It may be called Hagwitch Summer, I'm not sure yet. It’s set in London, present day and Tudor, and there’s a creepy puppet at its centre. I’m also working on a new picturebook called Ellie.
Why should we read Dark Warning in one sentence?

It’s part coming of age story, part psychic adventure, part historical tear-jerker - if you like any of those you'll like this!

Last word from the author.....

The first chapter is available to read on the Dark Warning page of my website, and thanks a million for inviting me to visit your blog!

Stalk the author:

The FB page for Marie-Louise's YA novels is called Timecatcher, the novel:

Buy Dark Warning:


Dubray Books


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