If you haven’t read The Intern, what are you waiting for? Fun, sassy and adorkable, it’s the perfect summer read. Go on, we’ll wait while you grab a copy.
For everyone that has already been introduced to the world of the adorkable Josie Browning, step forth. We had a chat with hot chips lover and author Gabrielle Tozer about penning the sequel, Faking It.
What’s the one question you wish you’d been asked but haven’t been?
“Would you like to enjoy this large serving of hot chips with gravy and extra chicken salt while you answer these questions?” My answer to this question would, of course, be HELL YES. Please and thank you.
We know The Intern’s not your fictional memoir, but how similar are you and Josie in terms of personality?
We have some crossovers! Like Josie, I’ve always worked hard and dreamed of being a writer, so that’s a big quality we share. I had a wee bit more luck in the guy department than she did in high school (thankfully didn’t have someone throw up after kissing me!), but I was still shy and nervous in that area. (And I definitely kissed a few frogs… none called Pete or Billy, though!) Josie overanalyses many areas of her life and I tend to do the same. But I probably do a slightly better job of working through problems in my own time or with close friends or family, rather than blurting out awkward things every five seconds!
Did you always plan for there to be a sequel to The Intern?
Nope. As I was putting the finishing touches on the third or so draft of The Intern, I knew in my gut that Josie and her shenanigans could lend themselves to a sequel or a series. I cheekily suggested this to my now-publisher, who – to my shock/horror/amazement – agreed.
Will we see any more of Josie Browning’s adventures?
JB’s story feels pretty tied up for me, so unless I have a brilliant, million-dollar idea that’s dying to burst its way onto the page, then I’d have to say probably not. But if the right plot taps me on the shoulder one day, then I’d definitely explore it further. Never say never. I have a fresh idea for a third book – a YA standalone set in high school. Really, really excited for a new writing challenge!
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Have a go! Start small. Start with an idea, a sentence, a paragraph… then build on it. Breaking an idea down – rather than trying to tackle it – really helps. Most of all, experiment and see what processes work for you. Everyone is different. Read a lot, too. Most of all, stay true to yourself. Don’t try to copy other writers – write the stories that only you can tell.
Did you listen to any particular music while writing Faking It?
I kept things pretty low key while writing Faking It. This is dorky, but a bit of Disney music here, a little Matt Corby/Adele/Ed Sheeran/Sam Smith there. Nothing too distracting (otherwise I’d want to go out dancing rather than stay at my desk!). Most of the time, I won’t have any music playing.
We’ve all ‘faked’ our way through a situation where we’ve felt out of our depth – what’s been one of your more memorable experiences?
I was 21 and I faked my way through my first big magazine job interview in the city. I’d already been getting published for three years in a few magazines in Canberra, Geelong and Wagga, but this was the chance to go full time in Sydney. The pressure was on. Over the phone, the editor told me I’d need to take a sub-editing test using the program InDesign and I fibbed and said that was not a problem. The moment I hung up, I realised IT WAS A BIG PROBLEM. I’d never even heard of InDesign, let alone used it. My friend Nina’s dad gave me an hour-long tutorial the day before the interview. It seemed to be going in one ear and out the other, so there was some epic faking it and fumbling around on the computer on the day of the interview.Terrifying. I’m breaking into a cold sweat thinking about it!
In fact, thinking back, that whole interview was a case of “faking it” before I made it. My little sister styled me, because I had no idea what to wear. I had a seven-hour sweaty bus ride from Wagga to Sydney, then dolled up in the bathrooms at Central Station before the chat. On the way to the office, I did a nervy wee upstairs at the McDonald’s on Park Street (all class!). But then, I calmed myself, freshened up my lip gloss (that my sister has also chosen for me) and waltzed into the publishing house with the (fake!) confidence that I deserved to work there.
What’s the reader reaction been like to The Intern?
It’s been great! Most people seem to be enjoying it for what I hope it is – a fun and entertaining little YA read that has sweet, cringe worthy and heart-warming moments along the way. It was never designed to be a how-to-crack-the-industry real-life read, so readers who don’t mind a little suspension of belief and embrace the ridiculous/awkwardness/fun with open arms seem to enjoy it the most. It’s also been fab seeing the books pop up in readers’ shelfies or styled with magazines, beauty products, coffee tables etc. So cool! Most of all, hearing positive feedback from readers is incredible. Nothing beats it. Hopefully people are excited for Josie’s next adventure in Faking It, too.
What’s on your to-be-read pile at the moment?
My TBR pile is overflowing. I am in the middle of reading Tristan Bancks’ Two Wolves, Steph Bowe’s All This Could End and an early proof of Lauren Sams’ She’s Having Her Baby (which is chick-lit, not YA). I also need to catch up on The Maze Runner, Endgame, Eleanor & Park, A Thousand Pieces of You… the list goes on. And on. And on. I am taking a short break over Christmas, then a longer break in February, so I plan on reading a few books a week!
Do you have any quirky writing rituals?
I woke up at 5am for 2-3 years to get The Intern and Faking It written around a fulltime job. Phew, tough times! I am shaking up my life next year by going freelance, so I look forward to carving out a new writing ritual. I’m still an early bird, but starting at 6-7am sounds a little more enjoyable. As for any other quirks? I LOVE being at my own desk. Sure, I’ll brainstorm in cafes or libraries every now and then, but I love my own space. I probably need to become more flexible in that regard. I always write the ‘blurb’ before I write the first chapter, too. Helps me to compact a mighty big idea into a paragraph! I drink copious cups of tea and bottles of water while I write. I also write myself dorky post-it notes like ‘You’ve done this once, you can do it again’. It’s naff, but sometimes you need a reminder! Oh, and chocolate. Eating chocolate is definitely part of my writing ritual.