Presenting…… Luisa Plaja

luisa-plaja.jpgI’m so excited to be interviewing the fabulous Luisa Plaja. Her book Split by a Kiss (what a fabulous title…. and just look at the cover, it’s to die for!) is being released this week. And guess what…….. just add a comment here or on my Myspace blog and you could be in with a chance to win a copy!!!!


splitbyakiss1.jpgWhat inspired the plot for your book?

I’m the kind of writer who makes it all up as they go along – I’m not a planner. So it’s hard to say what exactly inspired the split. It just seemed like the right thing to do when I reached that point in the book. Mind you, I’ve always liked the idea that making major decisions can cause parallel lives. Hey, there could be a version of me out there who’s written a book about Jo not splitting into two girls…

The inspiration for the US/UK culture shock theme was my own experience, even though I wasn’t a teenager when I went to the USA. And I was also heavily influenced by an article I once read about the different dating expectations of men (and boys) in the USA and the UK, based on their national sports – ‘reaching the bases’ (baseball) rather than ‘heading straight for the goal’ (soccer). I wouldn’t necessarily say there was any truth in it, plus it’s kind of sexist – what about the dating expectations of girls, huh? Huh? But, anyway, I put some of the theories of that article into the Jake Matthews character.

Why did you decide to write for teens?

Ah, I didn’t decide. It chose me. Ha ha, does that sound totally pretentious? Sorry! But I passionately love everything about fiction for this age group – always have done, always will do. I did try to write in other genres but as soon as I started on a teen novel, I knew it was what I really wanted to write.

What is your writing process like?

As I said before, I’m not a planner. I’m what’s known as a ‘pantser’, flying by the seat of my pants. Hmm, I wonder, should that be a ‘trouserser’ in UK English?

I write quick and rough first drafts and then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite {repeat to fade}

What are you working on now?

A novel about two girls who try to escape their stresses for a day by going on an ‘extreme journey’ – a road trip based on turning to random pages of their teen magazine. The girls are best friends but they’re keeping important secrets from each other, and the extreme day gradually brings out the truth.

What do you know about publishing now that you wish someone had told you earlier?

Interesting question! I’m not sure what to say – I decided when I was tiny that I wanted to be a writer, but I honestly thought it was an impossible dream, and for years I didn’t pursue it at all.

Ah! So the answer to this question is: That being published is not an impossible dream!

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write the book you’ve always wanted to read.

Or, you know. Don’t. As a good friend once told me about bringing up children, “My only advice is not to listen to any advice.”

(Of course, this made my head spin slightly. Like, was I supposed to listen to that advice?)

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Apart from working and looking after my children I, er… Do lots of stuff, I’m sure. Yikes, my mind’s gone blank.

Well, I edit Chicklish ( And I read.

Who do you like to read?

Sara Hantz! Tee hee. No, really! (DON’T YOU JUST LOVE THIS GIRL…Sara) I also have lots of other favourites – Jaclyn Moriarty, Sarra Manning, Maureen Johnson, E. Lockhart, Rachel Vail, and many, many others. Did I mention that I love teen fiction?


Luisa Plaja lives in Devon in the UK but she grew up in Sicily and London and she has lived in lots of other places. She has two small children and a passion for reading and writing fiction for teenagers.


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22 thoughts on “Presenting…… Luisa Plaja

  1. I’ve already got a copy of Luisa’s book so don’t put me in the draw, but I just wanted to say how much I love, love, loved SPLIT BY A KISS and I can recommend it to everyone.

  2. What a great concept for a book. Thanks for being interviewed, Lisa! I love the concept for Split. And, like you, didn’t know how much I would love writing YA until I wrote one.

    LOL on the parenting advice you got: it was the same advice I received when I had my first child.

  3. Luisa–CONGRATULATIONS!! I’m thinking back to the Stiletto contest! And your debut is March. Mine is December. Who knew?!!!

    Anyway, huge, huge, huge congratulations!


  4. Hi Luisa, your comment about culture shock and different words/meanings brought back a bunch of memories. My daughter were born in Russia and when learning English it was only then i realised how many words there were for the same thing, i.e. pants, knickers, underpants, panties, etc. One favourite of my youngest, Anzhela, for my husband’s van was – too big car. Well, I guess it fits. We chuckle about it now, and i figure it will be something to bring up at her 21st birthday!
    Good luck with your book, lovely title and super cover.
    Jane Beckenham

  5. Pat says:

    Great interview, Sally and Luisa.

    Amanda Ashby told me about Split by a Kiss – she really, really loved it.

    It’s great to see a fellow UK-er having a YA published by a UK publisher!

    ‘Best of British’, Luisa


  6. Don’t enter me in the draw either. 😉

    But I wanted to say thanks for this wonderful post and all these lovely comments. Hi, everyone! Thank you!


  7. Hi…don’t enter me either because I had the pleasure of buying Luisa’s book just the other day and I’m loving it! Just wanted to say what a great interview, and a really nice-looking site.


  8. Well, I have to buy/read anything recommended by Amanda Ashby (part of the agreement of allowing me stalk her in SF I think). And she recommended this one. Oh, and I should mention, she hasn’t steered me wrong yet. 🙂

  9. Love the book cover, and I’m not in the UK, but I love the new term “trouserser.” That’s too funny.

  10. Great interview!
    Luisa, how does being a pantser change how you do things now that you are published? (meaning–how difficult is it to write on proposal for a pantser?)

  11. This really is a gorgeous-looking site, I agree.

    Being a trouserer/pantser hasn’t affected me since getting the book deal, or at least not so far – I’ve still been trousering away at my manuscripts. 😉

    Thanks again for all the kind comments here, and thanks again, Sara Hantz!


  12. Thanks for the comments about the site. And thanks Luisa for popping by. And thanks to Amanda for allowing your stalkers to follow you here…. and thank you to all my family for….. ooops… sorry thought I was doing my Oscar speech….

  13. WOnderful interview! I am fascinated with this intriguing book. Congratulations and all the best on your success.

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