Earlier this year, we asked Reading Hackers across the country to send us their questions for YouTube superstar Zoella. You got in touch from Twitter, Instagram and over email, and we were overwhelmed with questions to send to Zoe… And now we can exclusively reveal her answers!
What was the first book you read that really got you into reading? From Mahrukh (Lower Earley library, Reading)
The first books I really got into were the Enid Blyton books. Specifically, the St Clares series! I also adored all the Jacqueline Wilson books. I really learnt a lot from those as a young girl.
What inspired you to write your books? From Safa (Burnley Lancashire library)
I’ve always loved reading and writing, especially creative writing. I enjoy bringing characters and situations to life that would have never existed before. My imagination is really vivid and I find writing a great way to channel it!
If you had the chance to collaborate with one other author for your Girl Online series, who would it be and why? From Nicole (on Twitter)
Jennifer Niven. I absolutely love the way she writes emotions. She really knows how to create depth to her characters and I really admire that and connect with her way of story telling.
Are you planning any more YA books outside of the Girl Online series? From Bolton Reading Hack group
Not at the moment, although I’d absolutely love to write a thriller at one point in my life. I’m a huge fan of books with big plot twists that span over multiple books! Never say never.
What advice would you give to other aspiring writers? From a member of the Reading Hack young advisors group
Write on days you feel inspired and don’t put too much pressure on yourself in the beginning. Everything takes time and you learn as you go. If there is a certain scene in your mind, that just isn’t transpiring to the page, don’t give up. Take a break and go back to it another time. Some of my favourite parts I’ve written have been on days that I didn’t schedule to write at all.
Do you ever feel pressure from being a role model to such a wide audience? From a member of the Reading Hack young advisors group
Yes! It’s the sort of thing that really plays on your mind if you think about it too much. Especially as my audience can range from people as young as six years old to women over 30. I’ve found the best thing to do is to carry on as I am. I can only be true to myself with everything I do and I’ve found that’s the best way to be.
You’ve been open about your struggle with anxiety. Do you feel this has hindered you professionally in any way? From Bolton Reading Hack group
This is a tricky one because in some ways it has meant I’ve missed out on certain things, yet it’s also been the best thing possible because I’m pushing myself to do more things outside of my comfort zone that I would never have done in any of my previous jobs. Although some things may seem a little harder, the reward once I’ve done it is far greater than anything else. You can’t ever let anxiety stop you from doing the things you want to do!
How did you find making videos about anxiety and panic attacks? From Octavia (member of the Reading Hack young advisors group)
It was a very scary and daunting thing making videos on something so personal to me, but I knew ultimately that it would allow more people to talk openly about mental health, which is something that has such stigma attached to it. I also wanted to encourage people to seek help if they needed it and to feel less alone.
How have you dealt with negative comments you’ve received online? From Talia
At first they really got to me but I’ve grown quite a thick skin over seven years! You will never please everybody, and that’s okay. I also don’t allow the negativity to be soaked in like a sponge anymore, now I know that some comments are just a reflection of the sort of person they are, rather than the person I am. I just keep my chin up, carry on doing everything I want to do and focus on the positive people that want to lift me up instead of tear me down.
Which fictional character do you think represents you best? From Millicent (on Instagram)
This is a really tough question because I’ve read SO many books where there have been certain traits in characters I have been able to relate to, but none fully. This would probably be a better question for my viewers to answer for me! Haha.