Hello everybody! Today, I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Julia Tuffs’ debut YA Hexed, which is out later this week, with an interview. Onto the post!
Hi Julia, thank you so much for being here! I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.
Thank you SO much for having me and for taking the time to read the book!
1. First of all, can you please describe Hexed for us in 5 words?
Fun, feminist, witchy, sassy, feisty.
2. I know this is like the most cliche question of all time, but what made you want to write the book? The idea is so original, and I wondered what gave you the idea to combine a witchy book with a smashing the patriarchy book!
It was a perfect storm of a few threads really but turbo-boosted by Donald Trump (of all people!) – I was absolutely shell-shocked that someone who openly boasted about grabbing women’s genitals was elected president and that, in addition to the recent worrying developments in women’s reproductive rights, got me thinking about how men in authority have always tried to control and govern women’s bodies which I think in part comes down to fearing them.
And fearing and persecuting women led me straight to witchcraft. I loved the idea of linking the two – of having that what makes us ‘other’ (to men) actually being not just our strength, but our superpower!
3. I know that Jessie`s power is not unlimited, as she learns as the book goes on, but if you had her power for a day, what would you do with it? Would you like to be a witch, if you could?
I would love to be a witch – though I’m worried the pull of power might tempt me to do bad things – I’m not sure I’d be that good at sticking to the good and wholesome! If I had power for a day I would probably do something similar to Jessie – make boys’ noses grow if they lied about a girl, make their chest lactate every time they commented on a girl’s breasts. There’s a lot of potential for fun there!
4. Jessie was such a great character, and I loved her friends Summer and Tabitha too (I also kind of liked her relationship with Libby, even though it was complex!). What are some of your favourite fictional friendships? Which fictional character would you most like to be friends with?
I do love a good fictional friendship! I think my favourite ones are where there’s a lot of sarcasm and in-jokes but always that base layer of absolute ride or die love – because really, that’s what real friendships are like. One of my absolute favourite friendships is in one of my favourite books ever which is one that totally hasn’t had the attention it deserves – Hole in The Middle by Kendra Fortmeyer (a brilliant feisty feminist number). Morgan and her best friend Caroline in that book are absolute friendship goals and I just love how their relationship is written. In terms of a fictional character I’d most like to be friends with – I think it would have to be Veronica Mars. I know that’s TV, not a book but I adore her. She’s down to earth, dry as sandpaper and would one hundred percent have your back. Though she may rope you in to help with her sleuthing…
5. As you`ve maybe guessed by now, I kind of loved your book, and I think my absolute favourite thing about it was how much it made me laugh. What are some of your favourite funny books, and which ones would you recommend to people who loved Hexed?
Ah, thanks so much Amy! I do love a funny YA and there are so many good ones. Some of my favourites are Editing Emma by Chloe Seager, The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven, Diary of a Confused Feminist by Kate Weston, pretty much anything by John Green and for something a bit more classic (though I haven’t re-read it recently, it may not have stood the test of time) Angus, Thongs and Full- Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison.
6. On a similar note, what tips would you give to other writers trying to write funny fiction? Does it bother that you that funny books often don`t get the same critical acclaim as more hard-hitting books?
It does bother me – especially when it comes to funny YA which seems the most overlooked of them all. It’s a shame because I think readers of all ages do really appreciate funny books and they don’t get the recognition they deserve. In terms of tips for writing funny fiction – it would actually be the same advice I’d give to people doing any kind of writing – read, read, read. Especially read the kind of books you love and are wanting to write to give you an idea of how it’s done. It’s so inspiring to read brilliant writing and it always makes you want to up your game.
7. Also on the theme of writing, what`s your writing routine like? Do you have any unusual habits or quirks?
I tend to write better in the mornings so when I’m in the thick of a draft I like to get up at about 6.30am and head straight to my desk to try and catch the brief window of morning quiet before the rest of the house wakes up. No unusual quirks really other than listening to a Taylor Swift album on repeat (it tends to be a different one for each book) – but I think that’s probably quite usual for YA writers! I’m an absolute sucker for a word counter too – seeing the little blue bar get closer and closer to my daily writing target gives me serious motivation!
8. Finally, before our quickfire round, can you give us any hints about the next book in the series? I absolutely can`t wait to read it!!
Well…. there’s a new arrival in the next book and she brings a whole new world of trouble for Jessie. Let’s just say, things get darker…
Since I know you`re a Swiftie, top 3 Taylor Swift songs?
(This is like choosing my favourite child!) It changes daily but today: The Man, Look What You Made Me Do, Seven.
Other musicians you love? Dua Lipa, Nick Cave, Weezer, Wolf Alice (I have an eclectic taste!)
Favourite kind of chocolate? Dairy Milk – can’t beat it.
Fictional pet you wish was your familiar? Has to be Sabrina’s cat, Salem!
Top 3 books you`ve read so far in 2021? House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland, Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé and The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.
Thank you so much for reading! Are you planning to pick up Hexed? What are some of your favourite funny books? I’d love to hear in the comments!