We need happiness and hope in 2021, and Benjamin Dean’s debut novel Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow offers both. The book is generating considerable buzz online, with reviewers and fellow authors alike championing what could be the feel good hit of the year.
We spoke to Dean about the book, which is available to pre-order now and will be released in February.
Can you tell our readers a little bit about Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow?
Sure! Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow is all about 12 year-old Archie Albright, who knows two things for absolute certain – his parents seem to hate each other right now, and they’re both keeping a secret from him. The book is all about Archie trying to figure out what that secret is and, when he does discovers it, how he can try and bring his family back together again. It’s a book with love, friendship and acceptance at its core, and it leads to a really colourful (if not slightly disastrous) adventure!
What is the first piece of fiction you ever remember writing?
I was obsessed with Anthony Horowitz and the Alex Rider series growing up, so the first piece of fiction I ever remember writing was basically just a copy and paste of those books. I really thought I was doing something so original and exciting that would be the next big thing, but I was basically just rewriting what had already been written by someone else. Not being much of a rulebreaker as a kid, reading and writing spy adventures was as close as I was ever going to get!
What was an early experience where you learned that language has power?
I think probably in school, particularly when I got into my older years there. Writing stories was really the only thing that came easily to me, and seeing/reading the praise from my English teachers made me realise that language and words have the power to evoke endless emotions. Being able to escape into infinite worlds and bring other people with me through my writing inspired me to keep doing it in the hope that one day I might become an author, and what do you know, here we are!
If you could have a dinner party with three other authors, alive or dead, who would they be and why?
There are so many options. I’d definitely say Malorie Blackman – I bet she has a ton of inspirational advice in her locker! Candice Carty-Williams would be a lot of fun too, and I’d throw Adam Silvera in the mix as well.
Which song would be the perfect soundtrack to Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow’s closing scene?
Hmmm, something loud, proud and happy would be best. Maybe something like Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen or, if I wanted to be really obvious, I’m Coming Out by Diana Ross. Some classics to get the party started (again)!
What do you hope readers take away from this book?
A sense of joy, happiness and pride! We’re living in such a dark and gloomy time right now and the smallest sparks of light can offer a little relief. That’s what I hope to be able to give readers – just a little bit of escape.
Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow, which is illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat, is out on 4 February. It is available to pre-order from Waterstones here, Bookshop.org here and from all other major and independent bookshops.