This article is the second in a series that catches up with the finalists from last year’s BookLife Prize.

Denise Deegan was already an accomplished and bestselling author before she submitted her work to the BookLife Prize. For the last two decades, the Irish author has been published by the likes of Penguin, Random House, and Hachette. But when the rights to some of Deegan’s books reverted back to her, she decided to try the indie route. The results have been impressive. Her self-published novel Through the Barricades won the 2017 SCBWI Spark Award, which recognizes excellence in children’s books published through nontraditional means. Publishers Weekly called the book “an engrossing portrait of a chapter of Irish history that may be new to many readers.”

Deegan’s middle grade novel The Accidental Pirate was a finalist for the BookLife Prize in 2017. The book chronicles the adventures of a girl named Jess who finds friendship and family in the most unlikely of places: aboard a pirate ship. Author and BookLife Prize judge Taran Matharu called The Accidental Pirate “a swashbuckling pirate adventure on the high seas” and said he could “still taste the salt on the wind” after reading it.

We caught up with Deegan to talk about self-publishing, what she’s working on, and what advice she has for indie authors.

What has happened as a result of you being a finalist in the 2017 BookLife Prize?

It has been very good for my profile. There is a lot of interest from traditional publishers in my next middle grade novel and I am working with a film producer, adapting one of my novels.

What are you working on now?

I’m doing a final edit on a contemporary middle grade novel set in New York City about a boy who solves problems for commuters on a subway platform and a girl who wants to solve his problems. I’m also working on a screenplay adaptation.

What’s one tip that you have for other indie authors?

Hire good people to edit your work and design your covers. And keep the content coming.