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!



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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