Dead Lucky by Andreina Cordani was published by Atom on 13 January 2022.
Andreina kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about Dead Lucky.
Dead Lucky is about a group of young influencers – Xav, Maxine, Leni and Ed – who have hit the big time at eighteen. They’re all showing signs of cracking under the pressure of fame, and Xav’s behaviour is out of control. Until a masked stranger walks into Xav’s flat and murders him on camera. As the world reels with shock, Maxine discovers Xav was sitting on a file of secrets about his fellow creators – career-destroying secrets that they’d do anything to keep hidden. And if she doesn’t find the file, she could be next…
2. What inspired the book?
Two things really. The first was the worldwide panic a couple of years ago about a character called Momo who was allegedly posting YouTube videos daring small children to do dangerous things. It turned out to be a bit of a hoax, but something about the Momo mask gave me the creeps and kind of stuck with me and eventually became the killer in Dead Lucky, who is nicknamed The Face.
Also, I’ve become fascinated with young YouTubers and TikTokkers – unlike actors or pop stars they’ve become famous for just being “themselves” on screen, but how much of yourself do you keep back? How do you cope with online abuse when it’s so personal? How do you keep creating day in, day out? And what happens if you want to be someone different? In Dead Lucky there’s also an envious onlooker watching from the sidelines too, as they have a lifestyle a lot of young people would kill for. Pun intended.
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
I wrote my first book, The Girl Who… completely off the top of my head, but it took almost a decade and it went wrong so many times. This time I had a deadline, so I sat down, made a plan and told myself it would be smooth sailing because I knew where I was going. And then 30,000 words in I fell into a plot hole the size of a moon crater. And then 50,000 words in I realised the climactic scenes I’d meticulously planned out were completely wrong for the book. So planning did not go well for me and I ended up pantsing the whole thing just like usual.
4. Having been through the publishing process before, is there still anything that surprises you about publishing a book?
Before being a novelist I was a journalist and book reviewer, so I thought I knew the industry – but I was so wrong! Since then it’s been one big old learning rollercoaster. What surprised me the most the first time around was that a lot of my fellow debuts seemed to be able to hit the ground running – they were ordering merchandise, running giveaways, arranging school visits and book signings… They just seemed to know what to do and I realised it was because they’d been networking much more with other new writers online. So my tip for anyone hoping to publish a book would be to join in with the writing community for your genre as much as possible as it gives you a support network and you pick up loads of tips.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I have two small children and a puppy so relaxing and getting away from it all doesn’t happen much. But I live on the coast and whenever I can I swim in the sea – it’s a real mood lifter, even in winter.
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
I am really super-lousy at these pick-one-thing questions! If I was in some kind of dystopian situation where there was only one book in the world it would have to be an old favourite escapist read, like a Georgette Heyer or a Terry Pratchett. Or maybe I’d just keep writing my own because let’s face it, the market would be wide open!
7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
I’m quite conscious of the fact that I’m a young adult author but am definitely not a young adult any more. People are generally too polite to mention that! I’ve thought a lot about it and there’s just some issues from my teens and early twenties that I still haven’t really figured out. I still struggle to navigate friendships and still grapple every day with my own identity and what people think of me – two things which pop up time and time again when I write. Different generations have more in common than they think.
About the Book
Ed, Maxine, Leni, Xav.
They are the influencers, the lucky ones. Gifted, gilded people who have everything – fame, respect, adulation, more freebies than they can ever unbox. Their lives, loves and feuds are shared with millions of fans on the streaming platform PlayMii, and they are living the dream.
But it’s broken Ed‘s heart.
It’s crushing Maxine.
It’s destroying Leni‘s friendships.
And it’s gone to Xav‘s head.
Then, a masked figure walks into Xav’s apartment and murders him on camera.
As the world reels with shock, Maxine discovers Xav was sitting on a file of secrets about his fellow creators – career-destroying secrets that they’d do anything to keep hidden. And if she doesn’t find the file, she could be next . . .