We have a quick fire Q&A with Freja Nicole Woolf, author of Never Trust a Gemini! Check out her answers for some insight into her writing, planning and favourite tropes!
‘This or That’ Freja Nicole Woolf
A perfect Pisces princess or a fork-tongued Gemini?
I am a Pisces princess myself, and there’s definitely only room for one of us… Geminis are, in my opinion, much more mysterious – which nicely counters (and I speak from experience) the Piscean tendency to overshare absolutely everything. In the book, I tried to give varied representation to the signs: for example, Evil Cousin Lilac (Gemini) is balanced out by Morgan Delaney (Gemini, and romantic lead!) just as Cat’s domineering friend, Siobhan (Scorpio) matches signs with Cat’s sister, Luna, who offers a fairly different portrayal. So I enjoyed exploring that. Whether you believe in horoscopes or not, using them to build characters is a great tool! But for me personally, I can’t say a Gemini or a Pisces particularly appeals. I need to stop falling for Taurus, and go for a Capricorn or Sagittarius instead!
Romance or Fantasy?
I enjoy magical realism, but full-on fantasy is not for me. Give me a passionate love-at-first-sight scene in the public bathroom of some grimy nightclub above a duel between two wizards in a magical forest any day! For me, there’s so much to explore in real life – in human minds and relationships – that I rarely feel the need for more. That said, the character of Cat in Never Trust a Gemini did originally come from a story I wrote about reincarnation! And if we can expand the genre of fantasy to include ‘romantic fantasies about your straight best friend’, then Cat is absolutely a fantasy girl…
Writing with paper and pen or typing on a laptop?
I am a modern girl living in a modern world. (As Madonna almost once said.) Although there is something wonderfully romantic about scrawling your manuscript on yellowed parchment with a feather quill, it’s not very practical once you reach edits. Also, my handwriting is beautiful but completely illegible to most people. I can safely assure everyone that one hundred per cent of Cat’s stories are typed, not handwritten, so that if anything should happen to me, nothing would be lost to the void of Freja’s terrible handwriting.
Plotter or Pantser?
I like to have a solid idea of where the book is going, or I have a tendency to slip into dramatic streams of consciousness that vaguely resemble a heat-induced mirage. Usually, I write a sort-of synopsis so that I can set out my idea before I dive too deep into writing. The great thing about plotting this way is that ideas can come to you mid-plan, and you can see where you might want to expand, or if something in your head doesn’t actually work once you get it on paper. That said, I will never be a post-it note planner. This is a book, not snakes and ladders, and I’m definitely not that organised.
Funny fiction or serious stories?
I don’t think I can say one is more important than the other – all books are important and I’ve written both sorts of stories myself. However, as my recently published book is a comedy then I can absolutely assure everyone that comedy is definitely the most important genre to invest in and everyone should read more of it!
More seriously, I do think it’s important to have balance on our book shelves. Growing up, I found LGBT stories were often overshadowed by sadness – which I understand; being LGBT can be very challenging. But I like to think my book offers a lighter portrayal of being gay or bi, showing young people that it doesn’t always have to be a great trauma. Actually, to be this way is really quite normal: definitely not the big deal some people think it is.
Mean Girls or Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging?
How dare you make me choose between these two masterpieces! They were actually both very key to me, especially in regards to Never Trust a Gemini. Georgia Nicholson’s diaries really paved the way for books like mine – when I read them for myself, I knew right away I wanted to try writing in this area and for that age-range. There hasn’t been much like them since, so hopefully mine can serve a similar purpose. As for Mean Girls, where do I begin? I definitely took inspiration from Regina George and her gang for characters like Siobhan and Habiba. And also, for myself… (I apologise to my university classmates for how I was between the years 2019-2021. Yikes.)
Series or standalone?
Cat is going to have another book – at least. I also have a solid idea for a third Cat story – but we have to wait and see what happens with the first two before I properly consider that! The second Cat book is about the realities of being in a wonderful romantic relationship, and how you balance your girlfriend’s life with your own … especially when your friends and her friends do not gel well at all. Prepare for lots of girl drama. (It’s my speciality, after all.) Cat also learns to take more responsibility for her choices; that she can’t put all the pressure on the stars. The great thing about a series is that you have proper time to gradually develop your characters. I hope readers who, perhaps, weren’t so sympathetic with some characters in Never Trust a Gemini will stick with it to see what these characters learn by Book Two!
Enemies to Lovers or Love Triangles?
I love both of these tropes, but I am a big fan of villains. Enemies to Lovers creates such exciting possibilities for me, and I can already see how entertaining this would be… I enjoy writing villains, but I also enjoy writing characters with flaws, and characters you might think are bad at first, but then reveal themselves to be more three-dimensional. This was a really important part of character-building for me in Never Trust a Gemini: I didn’t want perfect characters who said and did all the right things. For me, messiness is what makes characters interesting – so enemies to lovers sounds perfect! Why are they enemies? What makes them spark? Is it toxic, or just really hot? I want to read it already…
Never Trust a Gemini by Freja Nicole Woolf is published by Walker Books and is available now.
Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Federation.