WELCOME TO GIRLFRIEND FICTION
Lili Wilkinson was born in Melbourne, Australia, in the front room where her parents still live. She’s an only child, and loves it. She was first published when she was thirteen, in Voiceworks magazine. After studying Creative Arts at Melbourne University, Lili was employed by the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria, where she now manages insideadog.com.au, a website for teenagers about books and reading. She spends most of her time reading and writing books for teenagers, but when she’s not doing that, she’s usually hanging out with friends, watching DVDs and making monsters out of wool.
Embarassing high school moment?
I think high school was pretty much one long embarrassing moment. I used to be a really messy eater. I remember one day my friends teased me because I'd bought a snot-block (vanilla slice) from the canteen, and they knew I was going to end up with it all over me. I was very offended and didn't speak to them for a week.
Life at school
'I loved bits of school - all the bits that weren't Maths, Science or French. I was good at English, but got a bit bored sometimes, and I hated most of the books we had to study. I loved Literature, because we got to go into so much more detail. I also did lots of extra-curricular stuff - especially music and drama.'
Is anything in The (not quite) perfect boyfriend based on real life?
'A very tiny part of the book is autobiographical – when I was in year 8, I pretended that I had an English boyfriend. The other boys at my school were not exactly what I considered a Perfect Boyfriend should be, and I wanted my friends to stop teasing me for being single. But it only lasted for a month or so.
'Also, the thing about the Milo on the white school socks that happens to Midge? All true. Except it happened to me on a number of occasions.'
What did you like reading as a teenager?
'Ooh, everything. I used to turn up at the borrowing desk of my local library with a Jane Austen, a Babysitters Club, some doorstopper fantasy epic, and the latest in cutting-edge YA. I think my librarian was a bit scared of me. My favourite author was (and still is) Diana Wynne-Jones. She is an absolute genius.'
What's the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
'"Be succinct". It was something my Year 9 English teacher wrote on the board in our very first class, and it stuck. I don't like books that waffle on with too much description. Tell the story already!