Today I have something really special for you, something that's never been on Bettgeschichten before and I am super excited because of it. I got the chance to interview Francesca Zappia for you guys! Her book, Made You Up, is currently way up there on my list of most anticipated books of 2015, and it also happens to be her debut novel.
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Published: May 19th 2015 by Greenwillow Books
Number of Pages: 448 Pages (Hardcover)
Pre-order it: Book Depository
~ Free worldwide shipping ~
Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.
Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn't she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.
Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up. (goodreads.com)
Interview with Francesca Zappia
1 - Describe Made You Up in the shortest way possible.
Schizophrenic teenage girl must survive her senior year of high school intact.
2 - What was the first initial thought or thing that sparked the idea of Made You Up? Was it a name or the most basic idea of a story about a girl with schizophrenia?
Made You Up started a LONG time ago, and the story has changed a lot since then, but one thing that has always stayed the same are the main characters, Alex and Miles. I think they're the initial spark--them as people and their relationship together.
3 - How much research did you do on schizophrenia? And did you, at some point during research, feel discouraged or anxious in terms of writing about it, or rather incorporating it into your story?
I wrote most of Made You Up while I was in high school, and I did about as much research as a high school student could do. I read books on it, I watched documentaries, and I went online to forums where people who have schizophrenia were discussing the illness. Weirdly enough, I never felt anxious or discouraged while writing about it. I do get anxious now, though. Many people have said they're interested in reading the book because they know someone who has schizophrenia, and I just hope I don't let them down.
4 - Did you have a personal motivation behind writing a story with schizophrenia or was it out of pure interest in the illness itself?
I actually didn't want to write the story because of the schizophrenia. I wanted to write about Alex and Miles, people who needed help but didn't quite know how to ask for it. I don't have any personal ties to schizophrenia, but it has interested me for a long time, and I wanted to explore that.
5 - How long did it take you from first thought until publishing deal? Out of curiosity, how many queries did you have to send until you found 'the one'?
Oh, gosh. Probably ten years? Like I said, it went through a lot of changes since the very first draft I ever wrote, and I probably queried with it and other stories for around five years before I landed an agent. I believe the final time I sent out around seventy-five queries before signing with my agent (whom I actually didn't even query). In the entire five years of trying to get an agent, I sent out hundreds of queries. It was a very long process.
6 - How do you feel about the fact that in only a few more months thousands of readers will be able to hold and read your debut novel?
Very, very nervous. But it's also exciting, because it's like, "This thing I've been working on my whole life will finally see the light of day! People will read it!" It's awesome.
7 - Why do you thing the readers out there should pick up Made You Up?
Because it's way more lighthearted than they'll expect. It's not just about Alex's problems, it's about this whole community around her, the friends she makes, and the mystery she unravels. I had a lot of fun writing it, and I think people will have fun reading it.
8 - While writing the story did you ever imagine how a cover might look like and what do you think about the absolutely gorgeous final version?
I did sometimes think about what the cover might look like--and even tried making some myself, when I was in high school--but I never imagined it would end up looking the way it does. The cover Greenwillow came up with for Made You Up is stunning, and I couldn't have asked for anything better. What I love most about it is that it encompasses so much of the story without giving away anything.
9 - Did you listen to any particular songs or artists while writing Made You Up? If so, could you give us an example?
Yes! I always listen to music while writing. Every story has its own flavor of music, and if I can't find any music for an idea, that typically means the idea isn't going to go anywhere. For Made You Up, it was a lot of music that makes me feel nostalgic--like Eve 6's "Inside Out" or Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta". Then there's "Clint Eastwood" by Gorillaz and "Touches You" by Mika. My favorite songs, though, are the German ones--particularly "Guten Tag" by Wir Sind Helden. If anyone wants to know what kind of mindset I was in while writing Made You Up, listen to "Guten Tag."
10 - Any final words or message to your future readers out there?
I hope you enjoy the ride!
About the AuthorI'm a YA writer represented by Louise Fury of the Bent Agency. My debut, MADE YOU UP, will be out from Greenwillow/HarperCollins on May 19th, 2015. I like writing, reading, drawing, anime, playing way too much Pokemon, and other things.
I'm on Twitter @ChessieZappia, Tumblr (exeuntstormtroopers.tumblr.com), Instagram @ChessieZappia, and on my website, www.francescazappia.com.