“Write what you know” is one of the those clichés that I somehow imagine will kill a story before the first sentence is written, yet somehow Triona Campbell has managed to do just that, whilst creating an exhilarating, fast-paced, tightly plotted, debut novel for Young Adults, set in the world of video games, eSports tournaments, family and love.

From a background as an award winning and Emmy nominated producer of youth television, writer and performer, Triona has used her specialist knowledge, gleaned from creating programmes such as Gamer Mode for RTE, to create a world that is both in the future, yet believable and relatable. As a writer she seems to have come from nowhere, but the reality is she is a seasoned professional who has been honing her craft and perfecting her proposition for over two decades - expertise that is much in evidence when you start reading her work!

A Game of Life or Death’ went to auction, before being snapped up by Scholastic UK as part of a three book deal. Acquiring editor, Lauren Fortune, says of the novel: “Part murder mystery, part pulse-pounding thriller, with breath-taking scenes set in a Virtual Reality world as fiendish as the Arena in The Hunger Games, this is a truly sensational read. Asha is Lisbeth Salander for a new generation: an expert hacker who is brave, resilient and super smart – and her story is exhilarating and moving in equal measure.”



1. What is the first book you bought yourself?
Enid Blyton - Malory Towers. I went to a boarding school for a while. I thought the book would help me know what to expect before going. It didn’t.

2. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Believe in yourself. I have a bit of imposter syndrome - so that advice is a lot easier to write and give than to take. Second – the first draft is just for you – don’t over think it or edit as you go, just get the story down on paper first. Ignore your inner critic.

3. Did publishing your first book change your writing process?
I prioritize and focus more. I also spend a lot more time thinking about story from the readers perspective rather than just from a structural story viewpoint or me reading it to myself. Readers make or break you. I want them to have that ‘oh just one more page… one more chapter…. can’t put it down’ experience. More cliff hangers. Bigger story moments.

4. What were you most wrong about when you imagined being a writer?
It takes a village. From the agent to the publishing house to your book editor, the artwork for the cover, the actor doing the audio book, the publicist, the marketing team, the book seller – it’s a lot more of a collaborative process than people realize.

5. Which 3 books do you think everyone should read?
That is INCREDIBLY hard. Helen Keller’s teacher by Margaret Davidson (looking at the life of Annie O Sullivan) was a book that really stuck with me from a young age. Similarly - Roald Dahl’s - Boy. Lastly - Douglas Adams, A Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy.

6. Do you have a favorite book to gift and if so, what is it?
For friends who write it must be Stephen Kings ‘On Writing’ – I seem to have bought and given a gazillion copies of that book to people I know.

7. What song always gets you on the dance floor?
So many – I am a big, eclectic, music fan –I did a Spotify playlist for the book that I listened to when writing. Any of those songs can get me on a dance floor, that and 80’s music, (come on Eileen, anyone?), oh and TikTok mixes.
Link to the list is here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4UMefYk0VOMV0GNaQjaUcc

8. Tea or Coffee?
Coffee. It’s my indulgence. The one thing I can’t function without.

9. Do you Google yourself?
I would love to say ‘no’ but ‘yes’, I have …. not a lot because it’s not healthy but once or twice around publication I did to see what the ‘buzz’ was looking like for the book….

10. Why do you love Chapters?!
It feels like coming ‘home’ and finding your tribe of people from the moment you walk in the door.