It’s Christmas Q&A time again, and today I have the pleasure of chatting with one of my absolute favourite Aussie YA authors, Poppy Nwosu. I absolutely adore Poppy’s writing – it always feels fresh and authentic and her characters are just lovely. Check out our chat below .
Hi Poppy! Thanks so much for joining me on my blog to chat about Christmas today.
I feel like it wasn’t long ago that we were talking here about your latest novel – Road Tripping with Pearl Nash, which I absolutely loved. Can you please tell us a little bit about the book, and what inspired you to write it?
Hi Bron, thank you so much for having me on and thanks for your nice words about my book!
Yes, it’s been about two months since Road Tripping with Pearl Nash came out and its been a real whirlwind. The book is a light and fun coming-of-age novel, which features two bickering teens stuck in a van together on a road trip into the coastal desert regions of SA. And of course along the way there are all sorts of hijinks! It was a lot of fun to write, especially the bickering romance, and was very much so inspired by some of my own road trips into the rural areas around where I live!
More recently, Hometown Haunts #LoveOzYA Horror Tales, an anthology of spooky short stories you edited, has also been released. I’d love to hear about that one too!
Yes! Hometown Haunts has been the most amazing (and challenging, haha) project I’ve ever worked on, but it is something I’m so proud of! It features 14 spooky short stories (including two graphic drawn short stories) by an incredible array of amazing Australian YA authors, both established and emerging. Each story really engages with the horror theme in different ways, so it definitely has something for everyone!
Do you like to read seasonal books, and do you have a favourite Christmas story or book?
This is such an interesting question for me, as I realise that although I definitely used to read Christmas stories when I was a kid, it isn’t really something I’ve kept up with now that I’m grown. I feel like back then I did read some of the classic Christmas stories, and they really upset me, haha. Like The Little Match Girl, which is such a sad and dark story and one that I still think about every now and then. It really disturbed me!
Is there a particular book you’d love to find under your Christmas tree this year?
Oh my gosh, so many! To attempt to narrow it down, there are two I am very excited about at the moment, both Australian YA, that I am wanting so badly.
Firstly, Sarah Epstein’s new book Sugarcoated looks so cute and fun, like the absolute perfect summer read (and I should point out you can actually get a free spin-off novella from her website right now, which is called Piece of Cake. I read the novella in one sitting and just absolutely adored it, so can’t wait for the first book in the series!).
Also, I am so excited to read the second book in Helen Scheuerer’s new series, which has just been released, called With Dagger and Song, which is dark YA fantasy. The first book in the series was excellent!
Do you have a favourite book you’ve read this year then you’ll be recommending (or giving as a Christmas present!) to everyone you know?
Another hard question, I read so many good books this year! I hugely loved Helen Scheuerer’s latest as I mentioned above (I read the first in her new series this year, called A Lair of Bones) so will definitely be recommending that to any YA fantasy lovers out there, and another favourite for me this year that would make a perfect gift for crime-fiction lovers was a detective novel called Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama, which I also really loved.
Can you share a favourite Christmas memory?
A Christmas memory that’s been retold so many times in my family, happened when I was a kid living in central North Queensland in the country. My parents and I were sitting on a pile of cushions on the floor opening presents on Christmas day, and suddenly my folks screamed at me to run away! I did, and it turned out there was a snake in the cushions! We used to get a lot of snakes in the house back then, and I would always climb on top of the kitchen table until my parents had got it out of the house. It scares me so much to think of those times now (snakes …ugh!), but back then it didn’t really bother me at all. It just seemed normal, haha. Since moving to the city I became a real scaredy cat!
Finally, are you working on something new and can you tell us anything about it?
I do have a few different projects I am working on at the moment, a couple more YA novels at varying stages of completion, and also a fantasy project that is not YA. I’ve been having a lot of fun working on my manuscripts, but don’t have anything set in stone to talk about yet, but hopefully I will soon!
Thanks so much for your time!
Thank you so much for asking me onto your blog, Bron! I had so much fun answering these questions!
About the author
Poppy Nwosu is an author of young adult fiction.
She has published three romantic contemporary novels called Making Friends with Alice Dyson(2019), Taking Down Evelyn Tait (2020), and Road Tripping with Pearl Nash (2021), and is the creator of the 2021 YA anthology Hometown Haunts: #LoveOzYA Horror Tales.
Her work has been shortlisted for the SPN Book of the Year award, Adelaide festival Unpublished Manuscript Award and the Readings Young Adult Book Prize, and has been awarded the SA Writers Fellowship residency at Varuna Writers House, as well as an Arts SA grant. She has appeared at Adelaide Writers Week and Salisbury Writers Festival among others.
Growing up surrounded by cane fields and rainforest, Poppy studied music at university before living overseas in Ireland. She is now based in Adelaide, Australia.
Road Tripping with Pearl Nash
The summer is finally here, and Pearl Nash is on a mission to save her slowly disintegrating friendship with a whirlwind end-of-year road trip that is definitely, absolutely, most positively going to solve all her problems.
Except, instead of her best friend Daisy’s feet on her dash, suddenly Pearl ends up stuck in the middle of the desert beside Obi Okocha, a boy with a mega-watt smile and an endlessly irritating attitude. Tasked with delivering him to the most epic end-of-year party ever, located in a beach shack in literal middle-of-nowhere woop woop, Pearl Nash is certain that nothing could be worse than this.
Add in a breakdown, multiple arguments, an AWOL nana and a kiss that was most definitely a huge mistake, and suddenly Pearl has the perfect ingredients for the perfect disaster.
Taking Down Evelyn Tait
Impulsive Lottie – heavy-metal fan, expert tomato-grower and frequent visitor to the principal’s office – is in even more trouble than usual.
Her best friend Grace has dropped an unlikely bombshell: she’s dating Lottie’s mortal enemy, good-girl Evelyn Tait.
Studious Jude, the boy next door, has the perfect war plan. Lottie will beat Evelyn at her own good-girl game, unveiling Miss Perfect’s sinister side in the process.
Taking life more seriously starts as fun, but soon offers its own rewards . . . so long as Lottie can manage gorgeous Sebastian’s sudden interest, Jude acting weird, and the discovery that she might actually be good at something.
Making Friends with Alice Dyson
Alice Dyson knows exactly how she’ll be spending her final year of high school. With her head down, quietly concentrating on her textbooks and homework. She’s focused on the future, and nothing and no one is going to get in her way.
Until a bizarre encounter with the school’s most notorious troublemaker derails all her plans, turning Alice into the unwilling centre of attention and her life into one enormous complication.
And even worse? Now Teddy Taualai won’t leave her alone.
Hometown Haunts #LoveOzYA Horror Tales
One bite of an apple from a family shrine unearths hungry ghosts. A poison garden unfurls a polite boy’s deepest, darkest desires. Interfering with an Indigenous burial site unleashes ancestral revenge, to a metal soundtrack. An underground dance party during Covid threatens to turn lethal. And on the edge of a coastal rainforest, a grieving sister waits to witness a mysterious ‘unravelling’.
This #LoveOzYA anthology – the first to focus entirely on horror – unites a stellar cast of Australia’s finest YA authors with talented new and emerging voices, including two graphic artists.
Contributors are Wai Chim, Sarah Epstein, Alison Evans, Lisa Fuller, Margot McGovern, Poppy Nwosu, Michelle O’Connell, Emma Osborne, Emma Preston, Marianna Shek, Holden Sheppard, Jared Thomas, Vikki Wakefield and Felix Wilkins.
The stories in this wide-ranging collection dig deep and go hard. While some are straight-up terrifying rollercoaster rides, others are psychologically rooted in our society’s deepest fears and concerns: acceptance and fitting in, love and loss, desire and temptation, and the terror of a world threatened by catastrophic change … and even collapse.