Did you put any of your own life into My Invisible Boyfriend?
The book is set in a boarding school for older teens with problems, and as I work as a house parent at an international boarding school, I definitely took some inspiration from our students! Our school is nothing like the Finch, but that environment puts the troubles that all teenagers face into a smaller goldfish bowl: no one goes home at the end of the day, so if you’re having problems there’s no escape. I hope I got the right balance of angsty woes.
In what ways do you relate to Heidi?
Heidi’s fear of being ‘left behind’ by all her friends definitely resonates: I was a ‘late bloomer’ (ugh, hideous phrase) and was still trucking around with unbrushed hair and Mum-bought clothes when everyone else suddenly sprouted hormones. (Ever seen Heather Mattarazzo in Welcome to the Dollhouse? That was me, giganto plastic granny glasses included. Oh, the pain.)
Heidi talks through her worries with Mycroft Christie, a time-travelling TV detective, and that’s all very ‘me’ too. I’ve grown out of the granny glasses, but not the obsessive TV-watching tendencies! I’m an unashamed geek.
If Heidi could date any guy from any YA book, who would you choose?
I’d have to say Peeta, from The Hunger Games. Heidi would adore his unapologetic devotion, and he’d laugh at her tendency to overthink everything. And he’s a baker! Perfect.
What was your favorite thing about writing My Invisible Boyfriend?
The endless cake references. Heidi works in a quirky cafe called The Little Leaf, which is what gives her the idea for Gingerbread Ed, her fake boyfriend. When you’re toiling away at a desk all alone, it’s very cheering to be writing about blueberry muffins. And lemon shortbread. And carrot cake. Mmm, carrot cake...
In your opinion- are there any "must haves" (personality, looks etc) for "the perfect boyfriend"?
None, because he doesn’t exist. Heidi constructs what she thinks is the ideal cookie-cutter boyfriend (he plays guitar, he writes poetry, he rides a motorbike) but his personality is basically ‘he likes Heidi’ and that’s it: he brings nothing new to her life that she doesn’t already have from her friendships (not that she realises it), so he’s not perfect after all. But even a real boy doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’: where’s the fun in that? We all have flaws. The best boyfriends have them too.
If you could travel back to any time period- which would it be and why?
Great question! I adore Golden Age crime fiction (Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham and the like) and I studied Virginia Woolf as a grad student, so I’d probably say 1920s and 30s. Unfortunately, I suspect the impact of two World Wars and the still fairly grim status of women at the time would shatter all my illusions, but if that nice Doctor turns up in his TARDIS and offers me a quick visit, I won’t say no.
Thanks so much, Susie!
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