From what I've seen, young-adult contemporaries tend to be shorter than YA novels in other genres, so I'm impressed with the length of Friendship on Fire. How long did it take you to complete? And were there any scenes cut out that you really liked?
Friendship on Fire took me 3 months to finish the first draft. Then I spent a long time polishing it and getting feedback from assessors, the target audience (my students) and friends/family. I was working full time as well but I had a bee in my bonnet. Daisy had something to say! I did have to cut out quite a bit – it’s hard to make a book that covers an entire year believable if it’s too short. I wanted readers to really see and feel the changes in all the characters, even minor ones. I was pretty lucky to be able to keep most of the scenes I wanted. My editor wanted to cut out the scene near the end of the novel where Daisy goes to Roman’s house for dinner and Roman’s parents try to find out what’s happened between them. But I put my foot down – I liked that scene. Luckily I could keep it. At one point Daisy does diagnose herself with Final Year of School Syndrome in which she lists the symptoms (facetiously) and blames school for her plight. She’s a funny girl.
There's a love-triangle in Friendship on Fire between the main character Daisy, her best friend Roman, and a guy from a different school named Nate. How would you describe the love-triangle for those who haven't read the book?
Mmm well Roman has been Daisy’s best friend since they met at the start of high school. They have both wondered if there was any chemistry between them but have been hesitant to try anything serious. Daisy sees Roman as safe, and hasn’t had the opposite of safe in order to be able to appreciate Roman for who he is. Nate is a product of his family and his environment. He’s rich, spoilt, charming, gorgeous, clever and sexy. Some believe he’s misunderstood. Some hate his guts…
Daisy ate candy called Redskins throughout the novel and you seem to be a fan of them too! Unfortunately they aren't available where I live. What exactly do Redskins taste like?
|Danielle eating Redskins!|
I really loved the ending of Friendship on Fire. Did you know you wanted that ending from the very beginning? And do you know what Daisy is up to now? (A bit spoilery, if you haven't read the book!)
Yes I did want the ending from when I started the novel. It was still hard to write certain parts though, because you have to write in the good parts about a character and be convincing, then you have to write in how they hurt others and that can be uncomfortable because you always want to hope for the best in them. But a story wouldn’t be a story without conflict and growth. Daisy is currently at university in her third year of study. She is engaged to Roman but they haven’t made any firm plans yet because his father has become ill and the family had to move away for specialist treatment. But they write and call each other a lot.
Finally, I see that you have a second YA contemporary novel titled Reckless in Abandonment. What can you tell us about that one? Are there any plans for a release?
Ahh Reckless is a title I was toying with but I have no idea whether it’ll end up being called that. It’s an upper YA story about a girl called Milly and how a family tragedy sent her spiralling down into despair and doing stupid things. I also have a third YA manuscript with a male protagonist and it has darker themes and an edge to it that my other novels don’t have. Fingers crossed they are liked by publishers and I can keep doing what I love to do.
Thanks for having me Alexa!