Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Gabrielle Tozer // Author Interview

According to author Stephen King it is best to "write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open", advice that Gabrielle Tozer took to heart. Her first draft (of debut novel, The Intern) was written within five months and her sequel Faking It was released within a year of its predecessor.

This whirlwind, multi-talent has sub-edited and written for leading publications, including teen magazines DOLLY and Girlfriend. No one could ever accuse this girl of not working hard.

Gabrielle has kindly taken some time from her holidays and uber busy schedule to share her character love, hypothetical movie casting and sequel teasing with Love 'Em.

Well congratulations firstly! Writing a novel must be quite a labour of love.
Why, thank you very much.

For those unfamiliar with the story, can you give us a brief overview of your first book?
It would be my pleasure! THE INTERN follows the adventures of 17-almost-18-year-old Josie Browning, a sweet and bumbling first-year journalism student from the country. She finds herself taking part in a fiercely competitive internship at a glossy magazine in the city, resulting in a total duck-out-of-water situation for the poor thing! On top of that, Josie's dealing with a few pretty heavy issues back at home, her and best friend Angel's friendship is going through some interesting changes, and there's a guy (or two!) hanging around, which makes things more complicated... Oh, and there's awkwardness galore. Lots and lots of awkwardness.

Any sneaky hints for the second that you can share?
Talking about sequels without giving away too much is difficult! FAKING IT is set three months after THE INTERN and follows Josie on her next adventure (which is revealed at the end of the first book). There's more chaos, more awkwardness, more fun, more guy drama and, of course, more cringe-worthy shenanigans! Josie's doing her best to fit into new surroundings and it's proving to be more difficult than ever...

I know when I read a book I get really attached to the characters I'm reading about. Do you find yourself doing the same for your own characters?
 You bet! I feel for them all in some way - even the bad seeds. When they get butterflies, I get butterflies. When they're cringing, I'm cringing. When they want to kiss that guy, I want to kiss that guy (shoutout to my husband JT for being so damn understanding!). As the Robert Frost quote goes, "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader".

Who's your favourite character from FAKING IT? What makes you love them in particular?
Tough question. I'm going to have to cheat by naming a few. I have soft softs for Sia, mainly for her boisterous and hear-on-her-sleeve nature, Kat for being as sassy and sharp as ever, James because he's just so damn goofy and loveable and, of course, Josie Browning - I've put her through a lot over the past year and, despite all awkwardness, she always manages to pick herself up again and carry on with things. It's a good quality.

Your background is journalism, why did you want to write a fiction work about this world?
I never thought I would, to be honest! But when the time came to work on a first draft of a novel, it seemed like a natural place to begin. The media is a fascinating, drama-filled industry teeming with creative, colourful characters, so I already had experiences I could draw on (and exaggerate the hell out of). Now, two books later, I feel ready to tackle a new world!

Was it easier or harder to write the sequel, over your debut novel?
I love writing and can't imagine doing anything else, but writing both books came with plenty of difficulties. THE INTERN came hand-in-hand with so much self-doubt: Can I even write this many words? If I can, will they even be any good? If they are, will anyone even want to publish me? As for FAKING IT: I had conquered those initial fears, but had bred a new batch of them because I had readers counting down for a sequel! Someone really needs to invent an off-switch for writers' brains...please, please, please!

How long does it take you to write a novel?
There's not an easy answer to this! It can take some people a month, others 10 years. It takes as long as it takes to tell the story you're trying to tell.

How did this compare for you, from the fast-paced world of journalism?
It was a completely different experience to go from working in a large team to being alone in a room for a few hours every day. While writing the books, I craved time on my own so I could hear myself think and dream and imagine - something that's almost impossible in an open-place office. I've always loved creative writing, though - I studied both journalism and creative writing at university, so am accustomed to chaining myself to my computer for hours and hours at ridiculous times of the day and night!

Imagining your books were to be made into a film, who would you cast as the leading lady?
Tough question! A few readers have suggested Lily Collins and I could also imagine Ariel Winter or Hailee Steinfeld in the role. Happy to hear further suggestions - I love planning a hypothetical cast! A girl's gotta dream, right? The general consensus is James could be played by Dylan O'Brien and I'm happy with that.

Thanks for having a chat with Love 'Em! I can't wait to read FAKING IT!
Thank you for having me stop by - it's been fun!

Gabrielle Tozer is an Australian author, journalist and editor. She has written for publications including Cosmopolitan, TV WEEK, Bride to Be, DOLLY and Girlfriend. Her YA novels THE INTERN and FAKING IT are out now.  

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Feel free to squeeze in the hashtags #fakingitau #theinternau and #gabrielletozer if you fancy, too. Distractions are always welcome. Clearly.