Interview with Wibke Brueggemann, Author of Love is For Losers

Wibke Brueggeman grew up in northern Germany and the southern United States, but calls London her home. She originally studied acting at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts but ended up becoming a writer. She has a Master’s in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University, where she was the recipient of the Bath Spa University Writing Award. Wibke enjoys traveling, and is a clandestine lover of romantic poetry and Rennaissance art. Love for Losers is her debut novel. 

Photo by Mike Booth

What a stupid expression that is in the first place: To fall in love.
Like you fall into a ditch or something.
Maybe people need to look where they’re going.

As far as Phoebe Davies is concerned, love is to be avoided at all costs. Why would you spend your life worrying about something that turns you into a complete moron? If her best friend Polly is anything to go by, the first sniff of a relationship makes you forget about your friends (like, hello?), get completely obsessed with sex (yawn) and bang on constantly about a person who definitely isn’t as great as you think they are.

So Phoebe isn’t going to fall in love, ever.
But then she meets Emma . . .

Love is for Losers by Wibke Brueggemann is a hilarious, life-affirming novel about all the big stuff: love, sex, death, family, heartbreak, kittens . . . and kisses that turn the whole world upside down.

What inspired you to start writing and how long have you been writing?

I have always been a writer. When I was little, I wrote in my journal every day. I’m one of those people who prefers a pen and paper to a book.

Describe a typical writing day.

I normally have a day job. I work in theatre, which means I work six days a week, but mostly in the evenings. I get up early, go for a walk or a run, then I write until I have to get ready for work at around three.

Having a routine is essential for me getting things done and meeting deadlines.

What was your favourite part, and your least favourite part, of the publishing journey?

Love is For Losers, which was actually called Hormonal Horror at the time, went to auction, and the best (as well as most stressful) part of the publishing journey was going around all the publishers who wanted to buy it, speaking to their creative teams, and eating all the breakfast pastries they pushed my way.

The very least favourite part followed right after, when I had to decide whom to go with. As a new author I didn’t have a clue about anything. Luckily, I have a very experienced and no-nonsense agent who answered all my millions of questions until I felt I could make an informed decision.

What comes first, the plot or characters?

Character. Always.

Can you describe Love Is for Losers in 3 words?

Fun and life-affirming.

Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?

The blurb mentions none of the minor characters and trust me, they are all brilliant.

What was the inspiration for the story?

Love is For Losers is set at a charity shop in Wimbledon, which is in South London. 100 years ago, my best friend Luci was the manager of a charity shop in Wimbledon, and I helped out once a week. I think the setting and the potential for a bunch of weird and wonderful characters really stuck with me.

What is the significance of the title?

I would like to say at this point that I am rubbish at titles, and that I came up neither with the working title Hormonal Horror, nor with Love is For Losers.

I do, however, believe that love is for losers, because it makes you crazy, which is exactle what the book is about.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing Love Is for Losers?

The main challenge for me was getting down a first draft. I was working as well as doing an MA at university, and I forced myself to get up at five every morning to write. Once I had a first draft and knew what Phoebe was all about, it got a lot easier.

What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

For me the main message is that love, as well as family, comes in all shapes and sizes.

Another key message is that it’s a very rewarding thing to be a decent human being.

How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?

Soooooooo many!!!

I’m currently working on some historical YA set in Germany in 1933, and I’m also working on a middle grade sci-fi adventure about a girl called Cassini who lives constantly hooked up to a computer, and is trying to get hold of the heart of black hole.

I also really want to write a picture book about vegetarian carnivorous plants…

I mean, our imagination is endless.

INTERVIEW : YA SH3LF

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