#LoveOzYA Q&A with Alicia Jasinska about THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS
Alicia Jasinska is a fantasy writer hailing from Sydney, Australia. A library technician by day, she spends her nights writing and hanging upside down from the trapeze and aerial hoop.
Her debut YA fantasy was The Dark Tide, and her newest release is THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS!
You can read Alicia's chat with #LoveOzYA's Alexandra Patrikios below, our check out a clip via our YouTube channel.
What is THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS about?
THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS is about two rival villains who are competing to take a prince’s heart, and they fall in love with each other as the story goes.
Much like your debut, The Dark Tide, this one has such a fun, romantic hook at its centre. What drew you to a rivals-to-lovers storyline?
I love the rival-to-lovers trope. It's one of my favorites. After writing The Dark Tide, where it was a hero and a villain kind of pairing, this time, I was like, I want to do something a little bit different. I had a lot of fun writing the villain last time (so I thought) I'll just make them both villains this time.
From that, I've always wanted to do the whole ‘two assassins competing to take out the same target’. I've always wanted to write like a version of that, but with magic and witches.
So that kind of all just came together, and that’s THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS.
How did you draw from your own Polish, and Polish heritage, to tell this story?
It was definitely something I wanted to do, and I've always been fascinated with Polish history and where my grandparents came from.
The last years of the Kingdom of Poland are so fascinating. There's so many Polish heroes that come from that era, and it is inspiring, so I drew a lot from that.
But it was a bit nerve wracking because as someone who has grown up in Australia – and even though my dad's Polish, and I know the culture – I didn't grow up there, so there is that pressure to represent people from that diaspora in a good way.
It's definitely not meant to be historically accurate, but I hope it captures sort of the feeling of that era.
Compared to your first book, what was the experience of writing THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS like?
Writing THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS was a very painful experience. Like, I love it, but this book kind of killed me. I had a major breakdown.
I wrote it in the middle of the pandemic, and there was a lot of pressure there. It was also my first time writing towards a deadline, and I had that added pressure of knowing you have an audience now.
Also I love The Dark Tide, but I did want to upskill (with THE MIDNIGHT GIRLS). There's things that like, as a writer, now, I wish I could go back and fix in The Dark Tide, so there was that added pressure on myself.
So it was tough. I'm hoping it'll get easier from now on.
You do allude to that breakdown in your author’s note, at the end. I’m wondering for other writers trying to craft stories during COVID, do you have any advice or wisdom about how to find creativity during the pandemic?
Just get the words on the page. You can fix them later. That's the main thing.
I tend to edit as I write, which is probably not great for speed, so I went back to writing by hand, just so I couldn't sit there and type the same sentence over and over again. Things like writing sprints as well – like, I'm just gonna sit down and work on this quickly for half an hour, and then have a break.
I basically tried everything to just get it done.