I am so so here to wave wildly at this cutest contemporary: Making Friends With Alice Dyson.
It’s also it’s release day so someone bring us cake and very small delightful party hats. The author is also a lovely blogger friend and I’m so excited to have her here for a Q&A! There’s also a giveaway at the end and trust me you’re going to want this book. I am all heart eyes over it!
other author Q&As on paper fury…
Alice Dyson knows exactly how she’ll be spending her final year of high school. With her head down, quietly concentrating on her textbooks and homework. She’s focused on the future, and nothing and no one is going to get in her way. Until a bizarre encounter with the school’s most notorious troublemaker derails all her plans, turning Alice into the unwilling centre of attention and her life into one enormous complication.
And even worse? Now Teddy Taualai won’t leave her alone.
A story about rumours, friendship, and discovering who you really are.
Meet the Author
Poppy Nwosu is an Australian YA author.
Growing up in central North Queensland, Poppy enjoyed a thoroughly wild childhood surrounded by rainforest and cane fields. After studying music at university, she moved overseas to Ireland, where she spent two years visiting everywhere she could.
These days Poppy still loves to travel, but she also likes to come home again to her house in Adelaide near the sea.
Poppy’s quite obsessed with stories, books, movies, writing and music.
Hi Poppy! Thanks so much for stopping by Paper Fury so we can celebrate your debut novel! I’m super excited to interview you today, so let’s start off with…which did you find hardest to write in Alice’s book? The beginning, the middle, or the end?
For me, I always seem to get caught in a difficult spot around the three quarter mark. In this story, there’s a scene where the protagonist, Alice, and her new friend Teddy are walking together through sparse industrial scenery towards a river, and that chapter just killed me. It is a very quiet little scene, more a moment of connection between two people than a plot heavy point in the story, but somehow I really got stuck and it was the absolute hardest to write!
The only other difficult part to write was difficult for entirely different reasons!
During the first draft stage I was actually using my phone so I could write during my commute to work. But one evening I wrote an entire chapter (a scene where Alice attends a house party for the first time) and it immediately deleted from my phone! It was horrifying, but there was nothing to do except sit right down and re-write it while the words were still fresh in my mind.
I still feel sad about that lost chapter!!
How long did it take Making Friends With Alice Dyson to go from seed idea to published novel? Can you tell us a bit about your journey?
It took me four years (pretty much exactly) from the time I first began writing this novel to now seeing it in print. I am not sure if that is a particularly long time for a journey to publication, but it certainly seemed excruciatingly long to me at the time.
It pretty much went like this:
- Three months to write the first draft.
- Followed by one year of rejections.
- Another year on and off to learn how to edit my work while also doing re-writes, and writing other books.
- Nine months of waiting for the outcome of an unpublished manuscript competition I submitted ALICE into. (I was shortlisted and then offered a publication contract!)
- A full year after signing the contract to see this book brought into the world!
So as all traditionally published authors know… the road from seed of an idea to published novel is a long one! With lots and lots of waiting!
But I can definitely say to any aspiring writers who may be reading this, the only thing that got me over the line in the end, was definitely my refusal to give up. So if you want it, don’t ever give up, no matter how long it takes!
Oh wow yes, agreed…publishing is a looong journey! Do you have any specific writing spaces or routines? Or can you write anywhere, anytime?
I was using my phone so I wrote on my commute to work, at my desk during my lunch break, or even while waiting at the grocery store.
But after a while that got harder. I don’t really know why, but I started to want designated time for writing, and couldn’t concentrate in snatched periods anymore.
A huge moment for me was when I finally set up a desk space in my living room. Prior to that I’d been too embarrassed to even tell anyone I was writing, so it did feel quite momentous to put my desk front and centre in my house.
These days I only write while sitting at my desk, and because I’m (unfortunately) still busy with a full-time job (I haven’t quite figured out how to make a living off my creative writing yet!) I get up at 5am to get in two hours of writing before work. I am definitely not a morning person at all (I HATE the morning!) but I realised because I wasn’t making the time to write, I was hardly getting anything done at all.
And for me that was too depressing not to change the structure of my life so I could spend more time doing what I love!
Your dedication is incredible! (And also sitting at a desk is a good idea…says me who blogs and writes on the floor usually haha…ahem.) We all have our heroes, so which authors inspire you the most?
I guess I am particularly inspired by the careers (and books!) of Australian authors, Jay Kristoff, Ellie Marney and Helen Scheuerer. I admire them very much for the successful pathways they have each forged in their own very different ways, and I find that very inspiring.
I am also a huge fan of Vikki Wakefield’s beautiful writing, Alison Goodman’s historical detail, and Penni Russon’s lyrical prose.
And I am an absolute mad fan of Ryan Graudin and Brigid Kemmerer. I love them both so much!
And Rebecca Roanhorse as well, whose 2018 debut I just adored!
But to be honest, any author that owns what they do and is clearly passionate about their work is pretty inspiring to me!
Ahh we share some favourites! Now there are some amazing themes in your novel! Can you tell us a little about them and why they called to you?
Themes are a funny thing as a writer I think, and although in retrospect I see stuff in my novel about seeing past stereotypes, about knowing yourself, and about not listening to mob mentality, to be honest they weren’t exactly things I inserted on purpose.
The one theme I did try to get across was that I really wanted the book to be about friendship first and foremost, even though it is a love story at heart. I am a big fan of romance, but it’s the smaller quieter moments between people that I find most romantic, and for me the best kind of love is built on a foundation of friendship. That was the theme I most wanted to explore in my story about Alice and Teddy.
Actually, talking about friendship and love, the idea of this story was initially sparked by this very cute viral video that I saw. You will see it really represents the kind of friendship I wanted to explore (and this video very obviously inspired the whole plot within my novel!).
I just love how silly these two teens are in front of each other, and I wanted to explore a friendship and ultimately a love story with two characters who could be themselves in front of the other, because that is what I find most romantic.
Omg that video!! SO CUTE. And the friendship themes in your novel are what caught my heart the most. 💛 And lastly! Was any chocolate harmed in the making of this novel?!
However, if a salt-tooth is a thing then that is what I am, because I absolutely destroyed about a billion bags of salty crisps while writing this book!!
Thanks so much for coming by, Poppy! It was a pleasure to get some behind-the-scenes info on your gorgeous novel.
(And, um, we’ll…try…to forgive you for not loving chocolate ahem.)
And it goes without saying that I am in love with this amazing story!
Making Friends With Alice Dyson was so soft and adorable, the kind of contemporary that tugs at your heart. It captured what it is to be shy so well and w o w if this book isn’t relatable to those of us who work extra hard (especially in highschool) to cover up the fact that making friends is hard. Super hard. Alice is like an Australian-Hermione (or Amy from Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and I adored her instantly. She’s so torn between keeping to herself vs giving a kind word to anyone who needs it. THE PUREST CHILD.
And let’s talk about Teddy Taualai for a second…aka our mischievous, troublesome, softie. He will make and break your heart ok. His and Alice’s friendship started off from a totally unprecedented and spontaneous little “dance off” on the street. It took like a minute — and Alice (the serious-always-studying-quiet-workaolic) brushed it off. But it got caught on camera and went a little viral and now?? Teddy is insisting on being FRIENDS.
Look I love friendship stories. Especially ones between the shy squish and the flirt. Dude, Teddy is such a flirt. And both Teddy and Alice have complicated family problems and they’re drifting towards the end of highschool without quite knowing how they’re going to stand up on their own. They go from bickering to stealing soft glances at each other and — I AM HERE FOR THIS. There’s also an epic girl-friendship storyline for Alice and her childhood bestie…and it isn’t smooth, instead so realistic and I love how it was written.
The ending had my heart in my mouth though. (ALICEEEEEE!!) But it turned out into everything I wanted it to be.
This is the sweetest story of cautious offers of friendship, little acts of kindness, and vulnerable people opening up to those who love them. It has so much heart! Here for this kind of quality #LoveOzYA contemporary!