Hi lovely readers! I’ve got something really exciting to share on the blog today. To celebrate the release of UKYA graphic novel Heartstopper, I was lucky enough to interview Alice Oseman, who is also the author of three other YA novels, Solitaire, Radio Silence and I Was Born For This!
I’m a huge fan of Alice’s work and have been since falling in love with the characters in I Was Born For This. That reminds me, I’m due a reread of that wonderful book soon. I’m so thrilled that I was able to ask her a few questions about Heartstopper and its characters. Read below for the interview with Alice!
When you started the comic did you ever dream that something like this would happen?
Not at all! I hoped that one day the comic would grow enough to warrant a self-published edition, but I didn’t ever imagine a publisher would want to pick it up. I feel incredibly lucky and grateful!
Do you have an official ending in mind, or is this something you see continuing for a long time?
I do have an ending in mind, but we still have a long way to go until we get there! My aim is to take Heartstopper all the way up until when Nick leaves school to go to university. That’ll probably be around 8-9 chapters in total, and we’re only on chapter 4 at the moment!
I know people, myself included, have really related to Nick’s storyline. How do you feel knowing that Heartstopper has the ability to make readers feel seen and accepted?
That’s one of the most wonderful things about creating the comic. I’m so happy people find they can connect to the characters and their personal journeys, whether that be the bullying Charlie has faced, Nick’s path to discovering his bisexuality, or something else.
How does it make you feel seeing people sharing fan art of Nick and Charlie, or any of your other characters?
Seeing fan art is absolutely amazing. The fact that someone could enjoy my work so much that they feel inspired to create something related to it is the best feeling ever. I try and save all of them so I can go back and look at them from time to time!
Out of all of your characters to draw, including those not in Heartstopper, who is your favourite?
That’s tricky… I think it’s a strong tie between Nick and Charlie, to be honest. I know them so well, and I’ve drawn them both more than any other character, so I find them very easy and satisfying to draw.
Finally, some readers may be in similar life situations to Charlie or Nick. Do you have one piece of advice for those readers?
Everyone’s situation is different, so it’s difficult to give one overruling piece of advice for everyone. But I think what I would say is if you’re struggling with anything that Nick or Charlie go through in Heartstopper – bullying or anxiety or coming to terms with your sexuality or anything else – find a person you can trust and talk to it with them. It could be a real life friend, an internet friend, a family member, a teacher, even a school counsellor. Find someone who you can trust and who is willing to listen. Don’t keep things bottled up if you can help it.
Alice’s first book, SOLITAIRE, was published when she was nineteen. Her second, RADIO SILENCE, was released in early 2016, and her third, I WAS BORN FOR THIS, in 2018. She is also the creator of online webcomic HEARTSTOPPER, published in 2019.