Interview and GIVEAWAY with Danielle Weiler

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I am excited to have another brilliant Aussie author stopping by for an interview.  Today I have the very talented Danielle Weiler. debut author of Friendship on Fire.  You can read my review for Friendship on Fire here.

I am always curious with authors - why YA?
A few reasons. Firstly, it’s what comes into my head and sets up house in there. I only get stories about teenagers and ‘coming of age’ older YA characters attacking me during my sleep. I fear for anyone who ever asks me to write a crime or fantasy novel. I could probably stretch to Chick Lit but it’s just not as interesting as seeing a young person flounder around and grow from their misadventures.

What inspired you to write Friendship on Fire?  
Honestly? I woke up one Sunday morning in Melbourne in 2009 and a girl with accidentally dyed red hair was vividly in my head as the school captain of a conservative school who was about to get into big trouble with the principal. I tried to ignore her, saying to myself that I was way too busy teaching to even think of writing a novel. But the first line kept repeating itself in my head – always with the first lines. “You would think that at a school as large as mine, one could go unnoticed and subtly anonymous for one day…” and it snowballed from there – seriously. Think projectile vomit but in a literary, non-gross sort of way.

Did you always have a clear idea of Daisy's journey before you started writing or did the story change once you began writing?
Yes I did. I don’t know why. I wrote a plot outline straight away with all the major plot points and I knew the story was going to encompass her entire last year of school – I can’t write these 2-4 week things. And if some readers think 471 pages is massive for a contemporary YA novel, I had to cut out 15,000 words before I even got to the end product. I could have written about Daisy forever and I also wanted to give people value for money.
I never got writers block as such, but toward the end (I’d already written the exact ending) I sort of didn’t know how to tie it up, like how much detail to include about end of year events and I kind of baulked at it for a few weeks until the seniors at school got sick of waiting and threatened to fill in the blanks on their own. It can also be hard knowing what a character is about to do and still having to write them through it, knowing it’s going to hurt the heck out of themselves or someone else. The one thing I did decide part way through was what to do with Daisy’s best friend, Rachael. That’s all I’ll say before I give away too much.

I loved Daisy's family and how they played such an important part in the story (especially her brothers). Did your own family life influence you at all? 
Absolutely! I have 5 older brothers and 2 very supportive parents. I didn’t have an active grandparent in my teen years though so Nanna came from my imagination. I wouldn’t know how to write about older sisters – I’d have to research that one! I told/tell my mum everything. My parents are teachers though, my dad car crazy but not as spacey as Daisy’s dad. My brothers I kind of mashed together and spread them out again and when Daisy was going through her issues I thought ‘now what would Damon/Brendon/Shannon/Jamieson/Tristan say about this?’ and went from there. I was so incredibly proud of them then (and still am) and they were very tough on me but very loving in their ‘guy’ ways and I have the sense of humour I do today because they wouldn’t let me be a princess.   

I noticed on your website that you said you have been writing stories since you were six. What has your road to publication been like and what was your first story about?
I think I’ve distracted myself from writing for a long time, partly because it takes a lot of energy and discipline and I wasn’t sure if I had that. But I do, and it hurts not to write. I was the editor of my uni mag and year book so I had to write articles for it every fortnight and I tried to write a really bad novel when I was 13 about 5 girls who went on a crazy school camp and told bad ‘why did the koala fall out of the tree?’ jokes. I got to 40 pages then gave up because my mum didn’t like the character’s mother because she smoked. Well, that and I was trying to keep up with my brothers. Because I did an English degree and had to constantly read weekly texts for that, I didn’t read YA until a long time AFTER I wrote FoF, which is a bit stupid. I didn’t realise the power of reading on your own motivation and writing. I had no idea about clichéd characters or contemporary styles or storylines or blogs or anything. I just wrote Daisy’s story how I saw it and I was so green it wasn’t funny.  

I love imagining a soundtrack to go with the books I am reading.  Do you have one song that would be on the playlist for Friendship on Fire? 
I have a series of songs, actually. When I was planning my book launch, I wanted a play list of music that I listened to while I was writing. The artists include: Sixteen Cities, Switchfoot, Tenth Avenue North, Foo Fighters, Anberlin, Brooke Fraser, Leeland… but one that stands out is “You Are” and “You Are More” from Tenth Avenue North.

Now for a fun question:  If you got stranded on a deserted island with one literary character, who would it be?
Haha my first instinct would be to say Nate because he certainly wouldn’t let us get bored. Then I’d say Roman because he’s amazing company but if I ventured outside my book I’d have to try Mr Darcy. I’d love to have a big, fat argument with him and watch him huff and puff and then make him fall in love with me (assuming I didn’t have my current husband, Edward. Shh I won’t tell if you won’t)

What are some of your favourite Aussie YA titles?
“Everything Beautiful” by Simmone Howell – had me in absolute stitches and amazed at her ability to fit so many important words into once sentence.
“On the Jellicoe Road” by Melina Marchetta – I’m not really why as I found it stressful and soooo sad but the style was so clever and the way everyone interacted and were so believable that I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to know more. The parallels between past and present were handled well too.
There are plenty more but these two come to mind.

Have you got any plans for any future titles?  Can you tell us anything about it?
The first thing people generally ask me after they finish FoF is – is there going to be a sequel? I do have a sequel in the back of my mind about Daisy’s life at Uni but I’m not sure if it will go anywhere soon. I have written a second book about a reckless girl called Milly that I wrote over a 4 week period while working full time which nearly killed me but she wouldn’t shut up either so I had to start that. I’m in the process of having that looked at. I need to practice writing less…which is hard for me…so yesterday I spent the whole day shaving 9,000 words off the manuscript to try to make it to the first milestone of 80,000 words. There’s more info on my website but I’m really hopeful and excited about having people read it and give me feedback on the change of style and completely opposite character to nice-girl Daisy.

Thank you so much Danielle for stopping by and answering my questions.  I love the sound of your upcoming project.  Milly sounds like an interesting and fun character and I can't wait to meet her.  And I agree that "You Are" by Tenth Avenue North suits this book perfectly.

Danielle is giving one lucky reader the chance to win a copy Friendship on Fire.  It is opened INTERNATIONALLY!!!!

How to enter:
* Simply leave a comment in the section below with your name and email address.
* You must be a follower to enter.
* If you are participating in the
Aussie YA Reading Challenge 2011 you get 5 extra entries.    Make sure to note this also in the comment section.
* Contest ends 3rd May 2011 (midnight Australian EST) and winner will be selected by as in accordance with my giveaway policy.

Good luck to everyone!


Misha said...

Great interview! I would have chosen Mr Darcy too ;) It's great to know about another great Aussie author.

Thanks so much for the giveaway!
- I am a follower
- I am a participant in the Aussie YA challenge

Anonymous said...

Great interview Nic!
It's always fascinating to hear other author's insights into the craft!

M. J.

Vivien said...

Fabulous interview. I always enjoy them!

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Jess - The Tales Compendium said...

Great interview!

Danielle had me at 'a girl with accidentally dyed red hair was vividly in my head as the school captain of a conservative school'

Thanks for the giveaway :)
I am a follower and a participant in the Aussie YA Challenge.

Jan von Harz said...

Danielle is amazing. I love how she talked about her characters taking up residences in her head and not leaving her alone until she wrote them down. She sounds like a wonderful gal and someone I would love knowing. Fabulous interview!

Kat said...

Awesome interview! I actually love reading thick books 400 pages+. Thanks for making this giveaway open internationally!

Tina G said...

Great interview Nic!!

~I follow you

~I'm an Aussie participate

Tina (twinie)

Anonymous said...

Great interview. I love all these fun Aussie authors...;) Can you ask them to visit

Jenny said...

Wow 5 older brothers! I had a hard enough time growing up with just one - 5 would have been a lot to deal with but I'm sure so much fun:) And I think Mr. Darcy would be a fabulous deserted island companion! Thanks so much for the giveaway!


Missie, The Unread Reader said...


I'm a follower and I've signed up for the Aussie RC!

Awesome interview and giveaway. I hadn't heard of FoF before, but the family dynamics definitely sound heartfelt.

And I'd love to be stranded on a island with Mr. Darcy. It would be funny to get him all huffy.

Rummanah Aasi said...

Loved this interview! I wouldn't mind being stuck on a deserted island with Mr. Darcy either. It would be an added bonus if he was Colin Firth..just saying. :p

Thanks for a giveaway! I would love to read this book.

rummanaha at hotmail dot com.

Leanna Elle said...

Great interview - I love the questions you asked, especially the desert island question and the Aussie YA recs!

I'd love to enter the giveaway, and I'm a follower! (think you already knew that!) ;)

Savannah said...

Great interview! I so need to pick up this book from the book depo. I have others I am waiting for to come back in stock. There are so many good aussie authors that I am discovering and LOVE! Thanks for the giveaway!!

bwithbite (at) gmail (dot) com

mfay2 said...

This book sounds interesting!
GFC: Marynellie

marynellie8 at yahoo dot com

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Yes! Love the interview and really am interested in this book. I need to get me into some Aussie authors!

I'm a follower

books (dot) things (at) yahoo (dot) com

Jenny N. said...

Great interview! No need to enter me in the contest.

Kylie1403 said...

Awesome interview and Comp :P

Kylie1403 AT gmail DOT com

Unknown said...

I'm a follower :)

A Canadian Girl said...

Great interview! I'm the oldest child and have often wondered what it would feel like to have an older brother (I've never considered wanting an older sister for some reason) but I can't imagine having five! It must have made for some fun times though. Thanks for making the giveaway international, Nic!

danya said...

Enjoyed this interview! Wow, I'm impressed she was able to write a plot outline with all the major points right away. And love how real these characters sound already! Thanks for the giveaway, I'm a GFC follower :)


Nomes said...

awesome interview nic! i loved all the questions you asked and fingers crossed she does a college aged sequel (i need more uni protags in my book life!)

Jacinda (The Reading Housewives) said...

I loved Everything Beautiful too! :) Yippee for a book with a college age protag...hoping!!!

Of course I'm a follower!


sassyreads said...


Great interview!

I follow you!

Isa at isamlq(at)yahoo(dot)com

Blueicegal ♥ said...

I think it's so wonderful how inspiration just has a mind of it's own and strikes at he most randomest of moments. Thanks for the lovely interview missy!

fantasy4eva (at) hotmail (dot) com

TheGirlOnFire said...

Thanks for a great giveaway!

thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

Ange said...

Thanks for the giveaway!!!! Great interview


Rachel said...

Great giveaway! This sounds like a great book!


Rachel R. said...

Sounds like a fabulous book. Thanks for the interview.

I am a follower, and I participate in the Aussie Challenge.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
A.J. said...

5 brothers?! Wow.
On the Jellicoe Road is one of my fave Aussie books too.
Really enjoyed the interview! :)

Thanks for the giveaway! I'm a follower and a Aussie YA Challenge participant.


Anonymous said...

A great review! It sounds interesting. Thank you for giving the giveaways internationally.

I am a follower and want to join the Aussie Challenge.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog Makeovers by Tara