1 August 2018

Helena Duggan 1 e1530011880109

Something weird has been going on in a town called ‘Perfect’ and it’s set to get weirder on the 6th of September. We speak to Helena Duggan, author of the series “A Place Called Perfect” to find out the reality that lies behind this fictional town, and where this talented author finds her inspiration.

Can you tell us what it is about Kilkenny that influenced the town ‘Perfect’?

Kilkenny is a medieval town. Growing up, I was told lots of stories about tunnels that exist under the city. My friends father spoke of how he used to play in a tunnel found in a grave in one of the ancient city graveyards that linked right through to the Castle, which is a distance away. These tunnels are closed now but I’ve always imagined all the stories they hold and they’ve certainly worked their way into creating ‘Perfect’.

Lots of reviews note that there is something Tim Burton-esque about A Place Called Perfect – do you consider Burton a main influence?

I have a huge book at home with all of his notebook sketches and it’s a favoured possession. I think he’s a genius. I love the darkness and light that he brings to his films, so yes I imagine he is a big influence though not an intentional one.

We are extremely excited for Violet’s adventures to continue in The Trouble with Perfect, as we are sure are your readers. Can you give us any teasers before you publish on the 6th September?

I’m not sure how much I can say really, except ‘Trouble’ reveals more of the Archer families past and how their dark secrets come to influence both Boy and Violets future.

What would you say is your biggest challenge in the coming year regarding your writing?

Finding time to write is a massive challenge at the moment. I work three days a week as a graphic designer at my brother and sister’s lighting company Willie Duggan. The rest of the week I split between writing and taking care of my toddler Jo. She’s a year and four months now and getting into lots of trouble! I would love to be able to formalise things a little better and get some structure to my writing days but I think that means I have to get rich first!

Do you write with pen and paper or do you type?

I would love to say pen and paper as I really have an aversion to computers but they’ve become a part of life, and though I try to resist them, they do speed things up a lot! I wrote my first book called A Load of Rubbish by hand across about eight notebooks but it took forever and now sits idle in my desk drawer so since then I’ve taken to typing.

Where is your favourite place to write?

My husband and his brother, a talented carpenter, built a treehouse down at the bottom of our garden as a writing room. I finished A Place Called Perfect in it and now, whenever I can I snatch some writing time there. Unfortunately though, it’s not as easy as it used to be as we started renting out our treehouse and it’s become a little more popular than we imagined! It’s a beautiful space to write in, our garden is very long and by a river so the sound of the water and the birds create the perfect headspace for me.


Pre-order “The Trouble with Perfect” from Waterstones here

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