The Debut Club: An interview with Francesca Zappia, author of MADE YOU UP

Sweet Sixteener Nisha Sharma recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Francesca Zappia about her YA contemporary novel, MADE YOU UP (May 19, 2015 from Greenwillow/HarperCollins).

IMG_6864 About the Author:

Francesca Zappia lives in Indiana and majors in Computer Science at the University of Indianapolis. She spends most of her time writing, reading, drawing, and playing way too much Pokémon.

Find Francesca on her websiteTwitter, Tumblr, and Goodreads.


MadeYouUp CoverAbout MADE YOU UP:

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.

MADE YOU UP is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.



NISHA: I absolutely LOVED this book and spent most of the night reading it. I even missed a morning meeting at work because I had to get to the end! I’m so honored to be the one interviewing you. So let’s get started:

Your book bio mentioned that you started writing this story at eight years old. What was the inciting factor or the inspiration that encouraged you to finish the book?

Francesca: Actually, that was a bit of a misquote [during initial publicity announcements]. I started writing when I was eight, but I didn’t have the idea for the first draft of this story until I was about ten or eleven. (Huge difference, I know…) As for the inspiration, I think it was mostly love of the characters. I really love Alex and Miles, and I have since the first time I put them in a book, so it was for them that I wrote and finished the story (and then rewrote and revised it a billion times over the past twelve years).

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The Debut Club: An interview with Stefanie Lyons, author of DATING DOWN

Sweet Sixteener Nisha Sharma recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Stefanie Lyons about her YA contemporary novel-in-verse, DATING DOWN (April 8, 2015 from Flux).


About the Author:

Stefanie Lyons holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. When she’s not writing, she’s organizing her locker, crushing on boys, practicing her clarinet, or getting ready for prom. In her head, that is. Because her teen years were great. Stefanie resides in Chicago. DATING DOWN is her first novel.

Find Stefanie on her websiteTwitter, and Goodreads.




Dating DownAbout DATING DOWN:

When a good girl falls for a bad boy

She thought she loved him. She thought she could change him. She thought if she just believed in him enough, his cheating and his drugs and his lying would stop, and she’d be his and he’d be hers and they’d love each other forever.

But for Samantha Henderson, X–the boy she will not name–is trouble. He’s older, edgier, bohemian . . . and when he starts paying attention to Sam, she can’t resist him. Samantha’s family and friends try to warn her, but still she stays with him, risking her future and everything that really matters.

As moody and vivid as it is captivating, DATING DOWN is told in scenes and bursts of poetry that create a story filled with hurt, healing, and hope.

DATING DOWN is available for purchase at Amazon, Powell’s, Books A Million, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.

Nisha: Out of all of the parts in Dating Down that I enjoyed, my favorite was the writing itself. The verse in Dating Down is beautifully lyrical. Did it come naturally or was it a stylistic decision?

Stefanie: The verse part was a bit of a surprise. I heard a voice and started writing from it. It was languid and quiet, which struck me as odd. I went with it because Sam, the main character, is insecure and filled with self-doubt at the start of the book, so it fit. Also, I was reading a lot of Emily Dickinson, Anne Sexton, Anne Carson, and Allen Ginsberg at the time—so, duh. 😉

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Meet the Author: Nisha Sharma

Nisha SharmaAward-winning author Nisha Sharma was raised in the countryside of northeast Pennsylvania. With very little to do in a small town, Nisha filled her spare time with eighties music, Bollywood movies, and lots of romance novels. When she ran out of romances to read at her local library, she started writing sequels to her favorites and she’s been writing ever since. Nisha lives in central Jersey where she is surrounded by books and movie theaters that play Bollywood movies all the time. Continue reading

Suh-weet Giveaway! Guess the Sweet 16 Novel and Win a Crit from Kate Hart!


Calling all bookish Nancy Drew-types! (is that redundant? We hope so.)

It’s your chance to flaunt your sleuthy skills AND win a free critique of your Work in Progress’s first 30 pages by Kate Hart (AFTER THE FALL, FSG, Fall 2016).

Be the first to correctly match the 16th line to its Sweet 16 debut novel.

Read on:


If she hadn’t been obsessed with her horoscope and the possibility that Raj could be her soul mate, she would have known earlier that her relationship was doomed.”

Great line, right? But which novel is it from?

A. Darcy Woods‘ SUMMER OF SUPERNOVA (Random House/Crown, Spring 2016)

B. Shannon Parker’s CRUSHING (Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, Spring 2016)

C. Nisha Sharma’s MY SO CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE (Crown, Spring 2016)

D. Ashleigh Herring Blake‘s SUFFER LOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Spring 2016)

Know it? Want it? Send your answer to And good luck!