Harry Potter crushes come in all shapes and sizes. There is literally someone for everyone. Take the Weasley’s. That family have great genes; not one dud there at all. Even Percy redeems himself.
So when we chatted to Maggie Harcourt about her new book ‘Unconventional’ we sure mas heck took the opportunity to fangirl over our fave Potter heartthrobs too. CAUTION! This post may also include pineapples. Just sayin’.
Can you describe ‘Unconventional’ for us using emojis only?
We’ve got to get this one out of the way – why pineapples?!
When you’re communicating over walkie-talkies in the middle of a crowd, if there’s a problem you need a code word you can use without worrying everyone around you. For Lexi and her ‘convention family’ in Unconventional, that’s “pineapple” – and I chose it because of one of my own fandoms.
When the novel of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell was adapted for the BBC, they left out a subplot where Jonathan starts to imagine pineapples appearing everywhere. Fans of the book began taking screenshots of the show, photoshopping pineapples onto them with the caption “pineapples everywhere!” and posting them to Tumblr.
For a code word about something that not everyone can see, said by a fangirl, written by a fangirl, it seemed to make sense.
Since I wrote it, too, people have told me about the running pineapple gag in episodes of Psych, which has one hidden in just about every episode.
They really are everywhere.
3. What’s your favourite convention/fandom memory?
The brilliant thing about conventions is that every one generates so many memories. But the one that sums up everything I love about both conventions AND fandom was the time I saw two Draco Malfoy cosplayers walk past each other. They were obviously strangers – but as they passed, one turned round, looked the other up and down and shouted: “My father will hear about this…”
4. Are there any plans for us to see more of ‘Piecekeepers’?
I had such a good time writing the extract of ‘Piecekeepers’ that appears in the back of the book. It was really important to me that it felt like a real book Lexi had read, so I ended up planning most of it just for fun (I don’t get out much). If I ever get the chance, I’d love to start writing and see where it goes – although I can’t guarantee it’ll turn out to be as much of a huge deal as Haydn’s version!
5. Who was your first literary crush? Who’s your current number 1?
The first one I remember was Athos from The Three Musketeers. He’s clever, brave, loyal, good with a sword, broken-hearted and deeply sarcastic. That pretty much ticks all my boxes. Over the years I’ve added a few to the list including Mr Darcy (of course), Jonathan Strange, Jack Aubrey from the Master and Commander books (I obviously have a historical thing going on) and Professor Lupin.
But all that said, you’ll have to prise the precious, precious love I have for Bill Weasley from my cold, dead heart.
6. Did you find writing ‘Unconventional’ to be a different experience to writing ‘Last Summer of Us’?
It was different in a lot of ways, because they’re very different books. ‘The Last Summer’ of Us was a book I’d been carrying around in my head since I was 15 or 16, and even after all that time I could still tell where specific parts came from and what had inspired them. It was such a personal book about the places I grew up in and the kind of people I grew up with that I think that made it very different to write from Unconventional – which more or less dropped into my head. One way or another I’ve been going to conventions or working on them since 2010, and I guess I got bored of people saying, “What’s that about, then?”. I wanted to write a book that was a really happy, romantic story which also showed everyone else what was so great about them.
7. Do you have an ultimate fandom?
8. Please can you send us a snap of where you work?
I usually work in one of two places: either in my kitchen, or – in the summer – in my camper van out in the garden, with the roof up and the door open. At the moment, though, it’s way too cold and miserable, so the kitchen it is. Complete with cat, as you can just see…