Author Liam goes back to school
Dundalk children's author Liam Cunningham has been going back to school. Having just published his first book for young adults. 'Pretty Perilous Parakeet', Liam has been visiting local schools and sharing his stories with the delighted pupils.
'I'm a local lad, born and raised in Greenacres,' says Liam, who now lives on the Carrick Road with his partner Jess Lowry and their baby daughter.
A past pupil of the Friary Boys School and De La Salle College, he studied accountancy and now works in sales for Google.
However, he always had a passion for reading and books, and remembers English being one of his favourite subjects while at school. 'My teacher at the De La Salle, Brian Halpin, encouraged me to do a lot of creative writing.'
His favourite books, when growing up, were the R L Stine 'Goosebumps' series, and after doing an on-line course in writing with the author himself, Liam began to hone his skills as a writer.
'I've always loved horror stories and am a big fan of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, and anything which comes from who sits down with a pen and paper and an idea for a book which makes people want to read,' he explains.
'Writing is something I'm passionate about and I always wanted to give it a go.'
He decided to write in the genre he loves most - horror - and to aim it at young adult readers in the 8 to 13 age groups, as he believes in encouraging young people to read as it can have a very positive impact on their lives and careers.
Ciaran spent eight months writing the book, planning, writing and revising. He decided to self-publish but stresses that it's not a vanity project, as the publishers reject 30% of all books sent to them.
He didn't tell anyone that he was writing a book, as he says he was too nervous about it. 'The only person who read it was Jess.'
Luckily, the publishers were very enthusiastic about the book, and he hopes that 'Pretty Perilous Parakeet' is just the first in the Jitters anthology.
It tells the story of 12-year-old animal lover, Archie Jones, who has inherited his passion for animals from his zoo-keeper dad. But trouble brews when his annoying little sister Sophia demands they take home an innocent looking golden-plumed parakeet from an animal sanctuary and Archie discovers rather quickly that this is not a cute and cuddly bird.
The book is on sale from Amazon and he is delighted to have sales from the US, Canada and the UK as well as Ireland, as well as enthusiastic reviews from purchasers.
So far, just three week's after its release, it has become an Amazon best-seller and is in the top 100 children's scary stories and top 100 hundred children's horror books.
But Ciaran points out that it's not the sort of book which will send children to bed with nightmares.
'It's a real page turner as the idea is to keep the kids reading, but there's plenty of comedy and laughs in it so they won't be frightened. Every scare ends with a laugh afterwards.'
Currently on parental leave following the birth of his daughter eight weeks ago, Ciaran has been visiting local schools, including his alma mater De La Salle College, to talk to students about his book.
'Pretty Perilous Parakeet' by L.G. Cunningham is available from www.amazon.co.uk.