Monday, April 4, 2011

Anatomy of a Novel: Friendship on Fire

Anatomy of a Novel
Guest post by Danielle Weiler

1.   Friendship on Fire – Daisy, the main character, is the perpetual ‘nice girl’. She’s the girl everyone knows, and people either love her because they relate to her or hate her because they’re threatened by her. She made herself known to me one cold Sunday morning in Melbourne in 2009 with a vision of a normally honey/blonde girl who’d had a dye accident and now had flaming red hair coming out from under her school hat. And the one line that she wouldn’t shut up about was, ‘It wasn’t my fault’. So then I had to explain why it wasn’t her fault.

2.   School – Daisy’s school St Dominics College is fictional but the concept of having a rival Grammar/fancy school across the road came from my own high school years. Except we were the state school and the Catholic school across the road (our graduating class DID put jelly crystals in their swimming pool on muck-up day) was full of the rich kids. But we had a bigger common room. The school bitch, Skye, was created from an alter ego that would never be real – ‘Now what would I say to the nice girl if I was a bitch…?’ type of thing. Daisy’s English teacher was the funniest teacher I’ve ever had. We would be reading through Macbeth and during Lady Macbeth’s dialogues he would scream, “She’s a cow! A filthy cow!”. The maths teacher was taken from a teacher who really did tell my class that we’d all fail using an analogy about playing football. Maybe I should have stopped doodling with the ruler.
3.   Soccer – I’ve watched my 5 older brothers play soccer since I was born. Every Sunday we’d traipse from oval to oval and watch them win or lose. People often said to us that we’d make a convenient 7-a-side team. The culture of afternoon practices, the noisy clubhouse and the team’s token ‘alpha’ male in my story came from countless weekends observing such boys – and laughing at them.
4.   Work/Play – The bakery in FoF was taken from a little bakery I love but don’t get to go to often. Twin Rocks is the fictional name for Daisy’s town as I didn’t want to lock her in to just one Aussie city. Beaches, parks, schools, cafes, shops, bakeries are all based on my favourite places in WA, Melbourne, South Australia and Sydney. Daisy works at McDonalds not just because I did when I was her age, but so many teenagers run these fast food places and they have to learn to juggle work and school commitments. They also plot boys’ downfall while folding evil cup trays in drive-thru that make your fingers bleed.

5.   Driving lessons – Ahh yes, the embarrassment of stalling the instructor’s car while trying to pull out of the school grounds. It’s hard to forget.
Flustered, I burnt a little rubber as I finally took off into the intersection. A Commodore with too many teenagers in it to be legal was trying to drag me while I concentrated on the road. They were cheering at my take off and making horse and jockey movements in their car.
There was an instructor who was called ‘The Terminator’ and he was notorious for failing tests first time on principle. I have, however, never driven a BMW M3. Daisy is one lucky girl.

6.   Beach/parties – Daisy resonates with the beach. She takes her diary there and observes people. She even does an embarrassing sketch of boy and girl stick figures (guilty as charged). I have fond memories of any kind of beach party that happened during my teenage years, especially ones with a big bonfire in the middle of the sand dunes. The scene with Roman and Daisy during the party is taken from a particular beach in the town we lived in that was used for a grad party one year, whose sunsets were unbeatable.

7.   Nate – The bad boy in my novel, who is also very well cultured and spoken (and GORGEOUS, even if I do say so myself), is a mixture of every boy I’ve ever dated (and probably any girl has ever dated). He is the guy you can’t say no to, the one who makes you weak at the knees, courts you, surprises you, keeps you guessing, says all the right things to your friends and family, the one you test and he passes with flying colours… until he surprises you... That’s all I’ll say.

My hand burnt where he left the scrunched up piece of paper, heart nearly leaping out of my chest. I still didn’t know his name. I looked down. ‘Nate.’ Was that a model’s name? A king’s name? An actor’s name? It was the sexiest name I’d ever heard, that’s for sure. And a date? I couldn’t tell the girls. How could I not?
I don’t have a specific image of Nate in my mind. However, for the sake of eye candy and Daisy thinking his name could be a model or an actor’s name, he might just be a mixture between Josh Peck and David Boreanaz – younger versions, of course.


  1. loved reading his post.

    danielle's book sounds fabulously Aussie and like a strong contemp coming of age. can't wait until it's release date!

    my husband went to a (real live) Saint Dominics :D

  2. Thanks nomes! That's cool that your hubby went to a st doms. Where was it?

    Btw - the book has been released!