Interview: Francesca Zappia, author of Made You Up


Many times I wrote a blog posts about 2015 year, which will be very full of all sorts of new Young Adult books that are worth to paying attention.
In my plan is to try and do as much as possible this year to be a good book blogger.
So I asking about interviews with a remarkable debut authors. And I continue to be impressed by the fact that they agree.

Today I post an interview with the wonderful Francesca Zappia, whose debut book called Made You Up. I’m so glad that I had such an amazing opportunity, because this books sounds like a new and absolutely unique voice in YA literature.

However, you will understand when you look at this summary.

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.

And yes, to top it all this book has such a wonderful cover.


I’m already enjoying this book.

So here we go.

1) Were there any funny stories while you worked on Made You Up? Or maybe, at that time, the book had a different name, which now makes you smile?

I do remember writing the bulk of the story in middle and high school, and my friends would read it in this massive red binder they had to carry around with them all day–it was really funny watching them lug that around with all their schoolwork! But maybe the funniest story I have is actually about the titles–the original title was Ask Again Later, which we had to change because another HarperCollins book was coming out with that title before mine (by the awesome Liz Czukas). So we started about a month-long title hunt. We came up with a huge list, but no other titles really encompassed what the book was about and how it felt, and by the end I was so frustrated I probably looked like a cartoon character with my eyes popping out of my head and steam blowing from my ears. Luckily, my editor and agent are fantastic, intelligent people, and when I told them about Sylvia Plath’s Mad Girl’s Love Song, they pulled “Made You Up” from there.

2) I really like your drawings! I would like to know from what age did you start to draw? And how long did you study for this result?

Thank you! I started drawing earlier than I started writing, I think…I began writing when I was eight, but I started drawing much earlier than that, probably when I was three or four. I mostly traced pictures, or tried to copy what I saw in books and on TV, but they weren’t very good (any three or four year old who can draw beautiful lineart is my hero!). It’s taken me a long time to get where I am now mostly because I’m lazy–just last month I FINALLY forced myself to learn proper human body proportions. I could be a lot better than I am now, but my problem is that when I need to get something out of my head, I write it down instead of drawing it. A lot more of my creativity and effort goes into bettering my writing than my drawing–unfortunately, because I have a lot of pretty stuff in my head that I’m just not good enough to draw or paint!

3) Can you share your most favorite quote from your book? (If it’s too spoilery, then your favorite quote from another book).

My favorite quote from MADE YOU UP is not too spoilery, I don’t think. So, throughout the whole book, Alex is trying to figure out which parts of her world are real and which aren’t, and near the end, Miles says to Alex, “If nothing’s real, then what does it matter? You live here. Doesn’t that make it real enough?”

It’s my favorite because I think it doesn’t just encompass my thoughts on the whole story well, but just human perception in general. You don’t have to have a mental illness to perceive the world differently than the person next to you–we all do it, all the time, every day. You’ll never see the world exactly the way someone else sees it (though you might be able to come close), so all we ever do is live in our own worlds. But even if no one else sees them the way we do, they’re real to us.

4) If right now someone told you that he can perform any of your three wishes, what would you then wish for?

Any three wishes? Hm…well, I would wish for an end to world hunger, but then we’d have massive overcrowding issues, so I guess I’ll use my first wish to wish for viable space travel so human kind can go explore the universe and find new places to live and explore.

For my second wish, I’ll wish that we don’t completely destroy/enslave/terrorize any planets and peoples we come across out there in space, and they don’t destroy/enslave/terrorize us. Because I really want to live on a cool, peaceful planet.

And for my third wish: teleportation powers. Just for me, because driving and flying and various other modes of transportation make me very nervous. Also: How cool would it be to teleport?! You’d never have to go outside in winter!

5) What are your favorite books?

My absolute favorite book of all time is The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley. I read it in third grade the first time and it’s only gotten better over the years. Plus, it was originally published by Greenwillow Books, the same HarperCollins imprint that’s publishing MADE YOU UP! Small world, right? I love the entire Harry Potter series, too, because I learned how to write from reading those books, and they made me want to write. In a broader sense, I love Stephen King books, because even though they can drag sometimes, when you’re done you walk away thinking, Whoa… WHAT did I just read?

6) If you could, would you write a letter to Alex and Miles? If the answer is yes, what would be the main theme of the letter?

Actually… I already did! Back in December of 2013, I wrote this letter to Alex and Miles for Casual Friday on the YA Misfits blog. The main point of the letter was my gratitude to them for existing, as strange as that sounds, because they’re the reason MADE YOU UP was written, and they’re the reason my agent and editor fell in love with the book. I talk about how much they’ve changed since I originally came up with them years and years ago, when I was eleven and I didn’t even know most of the basics of storytelling, and I talk about how much I hope readers love them the way I love them–as people with dreams and interests and flaws and goals in life.

I sincerely hope that after reading this interview, many will be interested in the book by Francesca, because it’s worth it.


I want to thank Francesca many times. Thank you. Thank you.

If you want, you can contact her via

Twitter: @ChessieZappia
Tumblr: The Lobster Tank
Goodreads: Francesca Zappia

And check out her DeviantArt page.

And add her debut book on Goodreads.

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