I am super excited that I got the chance to interview the author of MADE YOU UP, Francesca Zappia. It's one of my most anticipated books of 2015!! Enjoy my interview with the author and make sure to check out the giveaway to win a copy of Made You Up!!!
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pre-order Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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.
Interview with Francesca Zappia
Describe Made You Up as if you were going to tweet about it.
Oh goodness. I used to have to do this a lot, back when I entered contests to get an agent--I hope I'm better at it now than I was then. (Plus, I have my publisher's awesome summary to help me out...) Okay, Made You Up as a Twitter pitch:
"A paranoid schizophrenic girl struggling between reality and delusion discovers that sometimes there really is someone out to get you."
How long have you had this idea to write Made You Up?
I'm not sure when I got the original idea for the original draft. I think I was in fifth grade, and I had all these science fiction and fantasy ideas, I wanted to write a story set in the real world. That original draft is NOTHING like it is now, except Alex was one of the main characters, and Miles was there somewhere. It was closest to the way it is now probably seven or eight years ago, a little after I started high school. That was when I gave Alex paranoid schizophrenia and I really understood what kind of story I was working with. So from its very first conception to today, it's probably been about twelve years.
Where did the inspiration come from?
The inspiration for Made You Up came from a lot of places, because there are a lot of different parts to the book. Paranoid schizophrenia has always been interesting to me, but I didn't like it used as a plot point for thriller or horror stories, so I wanted to show it in a more hopeful, positive light. I had a lot of autistic tendencies when I was younger (and still have some now), and a lot of those experiences went into making Miles. A lot of the book also came from things I just plain love, like Germany, and history, and making fun of Indiana. Oh, and a lot of the book revolves around Alex looking at lobsters in a lobster tank at the supermarket--that came right out of my childhood. I always had to see the lobsters when we went to the grocery, and I always felt really bad for them and wanted to let them out.
How does it feel to know that soon readers will be holding and reading your very first novel?
What was the process like? And what was the most challenging part about writing?
I don't remember much about actually writing the book. It came together in so many different drafts, in the end it became a lot like stitching together Frankenstein's monster. As for the actual publishing process, so far it's been a lot of editing, a lot of waiting, and a lot of nervous moments when I realize MYU was mentioned in a blog post, or a new early review of it went up somewhere. The most challenging part about writing this particular book was also the most challenging part about editing it, and that was making sure Alex's schizophrenia rang true, and that her delusions and hallucinations were both consistent throughout the story and made sense within the story itself.
How much research did you have to do on schizophrenia?
A lot. I don't think you can write a decent book about something that serious without doing your research on it, unless you happen to have that thing yourself, and I don't have paranoid schizophrenia. I read informational books, I found forums where people who had schizophrenia or knew someone who had it could discuss it, I watched documentaries. It's a weird thing, because it can appear in so many different forms, no two people experience it in quite the same way. It would have been the best if I could have personally spoken to someone (or multiple people) with the illness, but that wasn't an option for me at the time, so I hope I've gotten it as accurate as I could with the resources I had.
What came to your mind when you first saw that gorgeous cover? And were there any other cover designs that didn't make the final cut?
I was very nervous about the cover before they ever showed me anything. I know Made You Up is a weird book, and I wasn't quite sure what direction they were going to go with it. Would it have a real girl on the front? Would it be more of a typography thing? How would they find something that really told the reader what kind of book they were getting? Then I saw the mockup cover, which is almost identical to this final cover now, and I thought, Yes. Yes, this is it. I absolutely loved it. It's different and it's striking and it's got that bittersweet feeling to it that really works for the story.
There was really only one other cover that didn't make it, and that was the cover that appears on the ARCs, with the pink lowercase title and a few small alterations in the colors and photo. The title changed to uppercase and orange to make it a little more gender neutral, and you get the cover that appears on Goodreads and such, and will be on the final book.
What are your plans after Made You Up comes out?
After MYU comes out, it's on to the next book. There's always something to work on, and the best way to stay away from publishing anxiety and obsessively checking social media is to just do what you enjoy, and for me, that's writing.
About The Author
I'm a YA writer represented by Louise Fury. My debut novel, MADE YOU UP, is coming from Greenwillow/ HarperCollins on May 19th, 2015.
Win a copy of MADE YOU UP
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