Q&A with Nicola Doherty

The lovely Nicola Doherty has not only written a brilliant YA novel „Love and Other Man – Made Disasters” (you can read my review here ), but she has also answered some of my questions about the book – thank you so much Nicola! Enjoy, guys!

 

1. Probably this is going to be the most asked question but I’d still love to know what made you write a YA novel this time?

What happened was, I was approached by a wonderful editor at Orion Children’s called Jenny Glencross. She had liked my first book The Out of Office Girl and she thought I had the right voice to write for teens. I loved the idea but I wasn’t sure if I could do it well, and for a long time I left it on the back burner. But then, after I wrote Girls on Tour, I had an idea for this book, which I knew would be best written in a teen’s voice. So I came back to her with a partial MS for Love and Other Man-Made Disasters and she liked it. Because I took so long over it, Jenny ended up leaving Orion before the book was published, but luckily for me, a brilliant editor called Felicity Johnston took it over and she’s been fantastic.

 

2. Why did you choose Juno to be your main character?

I wanted to write about someone who was scared of everything, because I think fear is such a powerful motivator – it can really take over your life. And I wanted to write about a teenage girl who wasn’t rebellious, or rude or acting out in a crazy way – I wanted to write about one who was working hard in school, and worried about her future, and generally doing all the ‘right’ things, because I think that’s much more representative of a lot of teens.

 

3. Juno worries about almost everything – how much of Juno is in you and how much of you is in Juno?

Hah! Well, I definitely worry about climate change and the general future of the world, in the same way that Juno does. However, I don’t have a lot of her other worries – like her fears of flying or the way she has to sit near the exit in a cinema in case there’s a hostage-type situation. I love flying and I never worry about where I’m sitting in the cinema. I do have a plan for if I’m burned at the stake, the way she does … But I’m definitely more relaxed than she is. I’m older, which helps!

 

4. What’s the story behind the title (that I simply adore BTW)?

Thanks! I originally titled the book The Opposite of Girl – as a reference to Boy’s name. But we (my agent, editor and I) decided that wasn’t strong enough. So I came up with Love and Other Man-Made Disasters as it tied together the two themes of a) love and b) Juno’s fears of everything. Luckily everyone liked it at once which isn’t always the case!

 

5. Can YOU ski?

Yes! I’ve only been a few times and I’m not very good – I’m happy on blue slopes and nervous on reds. It’s one of those things that can be awful, if you’re tired or the weather’s bad or if the fear gets to you, and can also be exhilarating when it’s going well. So it’s like life!

 

6. What would you like young people to take from the story?

I’d like to reassure people – of any age – that it’s OK to worry about everything from A-Levels to World War III. And that it helps to do something about your worries. Also, that it’s always worth taking a risk. Ideally I’d also like them to fall in love with Boy the way I would have if I was Juno’s age …

 

7. Would you recommend „Love, and Other Man – Made Disasters” to your „old” fans or is this a book directed to only YA market?

I definitely would recommend it to anyone who’s enjoyed my romances. I wrote it almost exactly the way I wrote my other books – except that the characters are younger! All of my books, I think, are about finding out who you are and who you’re meant to be with – which is something we can go through at any age. Though obviously I hope it will resonate with people who happen to be Juno’s age.

 

8. What next? Will it be a YA novel again or can we also hope for a book for adult audience?

I definitely will write adult fiction again – that will be the book after the one I’m writing now, for sure. I’d like to combine the two, the way lots of writers do. For now, though, my next book happens to be another YA. It’s called Girl Offline and it is due out next year. You can read an extract of it in the back of Love and Other Man-Made Disasters!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nicola grew up in Monkstown, Co. Dublin and went to university in Dublin and Oxford. She worked in publishing as an editor for several years before writing her first book The Out of Office Girl, which was shortlisted for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Awards in the Romantic Comedy category.

If I Could Turn Back Time and Girls on Tour are both out now from Headline, and her first young adult romance, Love and Other Man-Made Disasters, is due out in 2016 from Orion. Her books have been translated into Italian, French, German, Polish and (soon) Turkish.

She lives in Highbury, north London, with her husband and no cats (yet).

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Love and Other Man – Made Disasters by Nicola Doherty

So guys, today – as it happens – I have two very exciting Blog Tours for you and here is the second one, for Nicola Doherty’s new novel „Love and Other Man – Made Disasters”. It is Nicola’s first contemporary teen romance and I am excited to tell you that no matter what she writes – the books are winners! Here is my review of this lovely, charming read and here you can find Q&A with the Author about the book! Enjoy!

 

Love and Other Man – Made Disasters

by Nicola Doherty

 

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

Publishing Date: 2nd June 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!.

Number of pages: 240

Genre: Young Adult

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

A contemporary teen romance by Irish author, Nicola Doherty, about facing your fears and falling in love. A story with humour and heart, this book is perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Holly Smale and Stephanie Perkins.

Juno is scared of a lot of things. Climate change, urban foxes, zombies – the usual. So when she goes on a skiing holiday with her mum’s adrenaline-mad new husband and his tearaway twins, she doesn’t hold much hope of surviving. Then she meets Boy. Gruff, hairy and thrill-seeking, he’s everything Juno doesn’t like. Or is he? Juno’s about to discover there’s nothing more scary than falling in love.

Rating: 4/5

 

Nicola Doherty, a well established chick lit author, is trying herself writing contemporary teen romance, and „Love and Other Man – Made Disasters” is her first attempt- and let me tell you right now, a very successful attempt! It seems that this genre comes to her as easily and comfortably as writing stories for the older audience. You know, I rather don’t read YA as the characters in those books, these young people full of themselves thinking they’ve seen everything already just annoy me incredibly, but for Nicola I’ve decided to make an exception and I was absolutely right, as the book is directed, yes, mostly to the young readers, but the characters there are clever young people and I really, truly enjoyed the story of Juno.

Juno is the main character in this novel. The fact that I couldn’t so fully understand her, because I am a total opposite of her, didn’t mean that I haven’t warmed to her immediately and fell for her, which I have. My heart went to her – she worries about almost everything, things like planes crashing, zombies, apocalypses etc, things that for adults are usually a matter of shrugging shoulders but for teenagers might be really important, and she feels safe only when studying for her A – Levels, when everything runs according to her schedule and plans – and yes, she worries, but thanks god this worrying isn’t on the verge of obsession, it doesn’t rule her world, she’s just worried.
But skiing holiday with her mum and her new husband Ed and his two eight year old twins is totally not the plan, right???

There was this „something” in Juno that made me like her straight away. I’m not sure what it was, maybe it was her awkwardness, her honesty, the fact that she was really nice yet the author didn’t overdone on the niceness… Don’t know, but whatever it was, I just liked her and kept my fingers crossed for her. It was great to see how she slowly comes out of her comfort zones, how determined she is to learn new things, how she wants to make amends and how, finally, she decides to take her life in her own hands. She’s normal – not perfect, not strong, not self – confident, and this all makes her a brilliant, full of potential character.

Nicola Doherty has also in a lovely way weaved the romance aspect into the story, and she made it really believable. Because even teenagers can fall in love, right, and I really liked how natural and genuine the author described it in this book, with all the ups and downs of first love. The character that our Juno very surprisingly, without warning fell in love with – Boy – is a very interesting, a little different young man that also felt genuine in his actions.

Perhaps I can fully appreciate this novel because I belong to Nicola’s older generation fans and I’ve been there, I’ve seen this, and I can for sure say that the author has done a great job with the story, sneaking some messages into the plot as well. The characters there get a taste of real life and learn that real life is not always a bed of roses, that sometimes it’s terrifying and difficult, but this all is put in brilliant, easy and humorous words, totally suitable to the audience it is directed to.

Altogether „Love and Other Man – Made Disasters” is a lovely, sweet, engaging story that I’ll for sure pass onto my daughter when she’s big enough. It’s down to earth and you can relate to the characters – both young and adult. It is a relatively short read, and thanks to the short, sharp any dynamic chapters reading it was like flying through the pages. The writing style didn’t change at all, it’s light and easy to follow, and full of those funny moments that I so love. Moreover, what I so liked in this book is that it has plot, it’s about SOMETHING – family, friendship, letting go, learning to trust – it has characters with a depth, not as the other YA books that I’ve read before (yes, maybe I’ve read the wrong ones. Who knows) where the characters were thinking about drinking and partying only. Sure, Juno develops and opens, which of course also involves parties and new friends, but she’s still likeable, intelligent young woman who knows what’s really important in life (as opposed to the other young characters that I came across in the books before. OK. Won’t be moaning again). I will be for sure reading Nicola Doherty’s next YA novel!

 

BE SURE TO CHECK THE OTHER STOPS ON THE BLOG TOUR!

Love, or Nearest Offer by Adèle Geras

Today I am very excited to be a part of Adèle Geras’s Blog Tour, featuring her newest novel „Love, or the Nearest Offer”. Double excited, I would say, as this book is my first read by this author, which I personally also find unbelievable and incredible. But, as they say, better late than never, right? Hope you enjoy my review of this very exceptional novel.

 

Love, or Nearest Offer

by Adèle Geras

 

Publisher: Quercus

Publishing Date: 2nd June 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!.

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 01.09.2016)

 

 

 Synopsis:

What if your estate agent could find you not just your perfect house, but your perfect job, your perfect partner… your perfect new life?

On paper, Iris Atkins is an estate agent, but she’s not just good at finding suitable houses for her clients. In fact, she has a gift: Iris is able to see into their lives and understand exactly what is missing and what they need – and not just in bricks-and-mortar terms either.

Of course, concentrating so much on fixing other people’s problems doesn’t leave much time for examining your own. Over the course of one whirlwind year Iris discovers that while she may know what’s best for everyone else, she doesn’t necessarily know what’s best for herself – and what she finds out could make her happier than she’d ever dreamed of.

Rating: 3/5

 

Oh man. It may sound unbelievable, in fact I myself can’t believe it, but I’ve just checked and „Love, or Nearest Offer” is my first book by Adele Geras. Gulp. I’ve heard tons about this author and I’ve really no idea why I haven’t come across her previous novels, but well, on the other hand, I now have a great backlog list of all her titles to read, ha. And as I loved the synopsis to „Love, or Nearest Offer”, I really couldn’t wait for my copy.

The book started with chapters introducing all the characters to us, and I thought in a moment that if I am going to read about a new character again, I probably am going to start to bang my head on the wall. There were so many characters at the beginning, and it took some time before their stories started to intertwine with each other (when there are so many characters in a book I like their stories to connect somehow, it makes a sense for me, because I always think, why to write about different characters that have nothing in common in one book?). But when the stories finally started to interlock, I also started to enjoy the book much more. Each of the character has their own story, and the thing they have in common is the fact that they are all house hunting, and in the end they are almost best friends.

The story mostly resolves around Iris, who is an estate agent, and not your usual one! She doesn’t hesitate to go an extra mile or two and to postpone a sale or two to find the perfect house for all of her clients. Also – she must have a sixth sense when it comes to relationships, as she loves to play a matchmaker. In a very gentle, not imposing way, I’d say, no meddling involved and all borders preserved – I liked Iris. She was the right person on the right place, she was friendly and had tons of patience in her. I had only one big problem with her – in a moment about this. But – so actively trying to help other people, is she going to forget about her own happiness?

Iris’s current list of clients consists of Patrick, the artist, travelling between England and New York. Patrick, that has something magic in him and soon, very soon, Iris finds herself very drawn to him. Then we have the quiet, lovely widower Aidan, who spent all of his life living under the shadow of his late wife who decided about everything, starting with his clothes and finishing with the place where they used to spent their holidays. But Aidan was happy living like this, he, in fact, never realised that he can live differently. That is, till he decides to sell his house and one day literally crashes into Vina, the other client of Iris. Vina is divorced, her adult children have their own lives already and she has a feeling she must move, leave the house that hides so many memories, not always the nicest ones. And also on Iris’s list is Josie, a young mum of Zak dreaming of a house with garden and a puppy, instead of the designer flat she’s living in with her husband, but Will is not so keen on moving and commuting to work.

But back to my very big problem with Iris. I liked her, but I couldn’t cotton on to her totally, and there was one simple reason why – namely, her love life. We get to know her when she and her boyfriend Neil have just split up, though Neil quickly starts to try to persuade Iris that they are better together than apart. Iris is confident that she doesn’t want to be with him anymore, he is controlling and everything must be just like he wants it to be, and even though everybody around, her best friends and her mother tell her she should reconsider, Iris is sure that her decision is right. However, and I really, really don’t know why, I couldn’t understand her, from time to time she let Neil or the others to convince her and go with Neil to the restaurant, or she herself invites him to an opening, and they often end in bed together. And I thought, really, Iris? So do you want to end this relationship or not? What do you need to open your eyes? It bothered me, really, because altogether she was such a great person and I just couldn’t understand her actions.
Actually, the female characters in this novel were not as strong as I’d like them to be. Josie was whingey, needy and childish, and even though I understood her in her need to have the house, I know the feeling when you want something so very badly, of course I know this, I’m also a woman :) , I think the way she tried to convince her husband into buying was a little over – exaggerated, and I mean, it was about buying a HOUSE, and not a kettle or a new bed! Whatever Josie wanted, Josie got, she would stop at nothing and she wasn’t afraid to play on her husband’s feelings and even use their little boy to achieve what SHE wanted.
Vina was, in my opinion, the most authentic and most likeable female character in the book, though she also had her moments of course, especially when she went so ballistic about her friend hiding that he went to visit her daughter, and I know about the lies but oh my god, he went to see her DAUGHTER and not to visit his hidden wife and four children, right?

As much as I enjoyed the writing style, the minutiae descriptions of the houses quickly started to annoy me, as they only took my attention away from the important bits, they distracted me and they were much too exact for me, and really they didn’t bring anything important to the story.

The storytelling was fluent and really easy to engage with, and in the end „Love, or Nearest Offer” turned out to be a nice, uncomplicated read, perfect for those summery days. The pace is gentle and even but somehow it fits the book perfectly (I would only really cut the very detailed house descriptions. Sorry. Won’t be nagging again!). There are some twists and turns but they are not life – changing, though they add a lot to the story, but altogether it is a very relaxing book, if I can say so, and the author has managed to make it gripping without adding unnecessary drama and still the book stayed so true to life with the events and characters, and in the end I found myself really engrossed with the story.

 

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