Earlier this month, I reviewed Nicola Doherty’s latest novel Love and Other Man-Made Disasters and I loved, loved, loved it! You can read the review here. I described Love and Other Man-Made Disasters as the Dirty Dancing of YA fiction – it is just that good!
Here, Nicola Doherty explains the inspiration behind Love and Other Man-Made Disasters here.
Make sure you check out Nicola Doherty’s other stories. Check out my reviews of Nicola Doherty’s Girls on Tour Series (another fabulous set of stories to add to your to-be-read pile!).
When I was about fourteen, I started reading the newspapers. Murders, bombs, war in Rwanda; I didn’t want to read about it, but I couldn’t stop myself. It all got too much, until one day, I came home from school, got into bed and basically refused to get out again until the world was a better place.
My mum handled it perfectly. She told me to remember that these things are in the news because they’re the exception. The newspaper can’t show all the good things that happen. She said, ‘Think of all the countries where there isn’t war, all the planes that don’t crash.’ I pointed out a particularly horrible murder case and she reminded me that most men don’t murder their wives.
I sort of understood what she meant. And as I got older, I stopped worrying so much. But I do think we live in a scary world. There’s climate change, terrorism, increasing inequality and job insecurity. Juno, my main character, is scared of all these things. She’s generally nervous and has some pretty odd fears (eg, she has a contingency plan for if she ever gets burned at the stake …) but she doesn’t have an actual anxiety condition. I didn’t want to write about that, partly because other authors like Holly Bourne and Sophie Kinsella have already done it so brilliantly, but partly because these are fears that lots of people share, regardless of their mental health. I think Juno is right to be afraid of some of them. Though I’m less sure about her other fears, which include: the zombie apocalypse, urban foxes, and her mum being killed while riding on her new stepfather’s scooter. She’s also terrified of skiing, which is unfortunate because the story involves her being sent on a skiing holiday with her new stepdad and his twin sons …
So how does she face her fears? Unfortunately there is no one simple answer; just lots of different actions that add up to her ending the story a different person to the way she began it. There is a romance with a boy called Boy, which brings even more fears of its own – but also a reason to overcome those fears. Boy, her love interest, appears fearless but he’s actually less brave than her, in some ways, which is a good discovery for her. And there’s also her discovery that as soon as she does something concrete about her worries – takes a positive action – they start to get better. Which is true for all of us, I think. I hope you enjoy the book!
LOVE AND OTHER MAN-MADE DISASTERS is out now.