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Illustration of two boys standing together smiling while one is holding up a dog.


Comic excerpt showing one boy asking the other if he would go out with someone who wasn't a girl.


Cover illustration of two boys with backpacks. The title reads "Heartstopper".
Cover illustration of two boys laying on the ground together. The title reads "Heartstopper".
Cover illustration of two boys looking at a map while holding hands. The title reads "Heartstopper".

all images belong to Alice Oseman

An Interview with:

Illustration of two boys smiling and saying "hi" to each other.

Before Heartstopper, you published the YA novel Solitaire, in which Nick and Charlie feature as side characters; what made you want to explore their story more, and why through a webcomic instead of a novel or a traditionally published graphic novel?

In Solitaire, Nick and Charlie are in a solid, loving relationship, but we don’t learn anything about their story, such as how they met and got together. I knew as soon as I finished Solitaire that I wanted to tell that story, and for many years I tried to plan it out as a novel… to little success. Eventually, I realised that their story needed to be episodic. And the perfect format for that? A serialised webcomic!

Coming from a traditional academic background, what are some of the challenges in writing a webcomic that you weren’t expecting?

I actually think webcomics and graphic novels strongly play into my strengths as a writer, despite not having had any sort of comic background, and I find writing Heartstopper a lot easier than writing my prose novels. The main challenge has been pacing and trying to fit lots of plot into a very short space—there’s much less space for things to happen in comics!

What strengths do you think being a multimedia author (having written both prose novels and comics) bring to your writing?

I get to combine both my best skills—writing and drawing—into one output, which is very fun and satisfying. I think being the writer and artist allows me an enormous freedom when crafting the pages of the comic!

Now that Heartstopper is getting published in volumes, do you think more about page layouts in your process, or do you still lay it out as you used to before?

In some ways, yes! I have to be much more wary of page count and not let scenes run on too long—the books can only be a certain length before they become impossible to print.

When you published the novellas This Winter, and Nick and Charlie, what made you want to add to the story of Heartstopper but now in prose?

This Winter and Nick and Charlie were actually published originally in 2015 as ebooks, long before Heartstopper began. After Solitaire came out, I wanted to find ways to explore Nick and Charlie’s personalities and lives, and those novellas were one way I did that!

Your books are all somewhat loosely connected through recurring characters and some mentions here and there—like the appearance of Aled from Radio Silence in Charlie’s friend group from Heartstopper. Was this all a master plan you crafted from the start? Or did your stories accidentally bleed into each other to the point of an “Osemanverse” timeline in your website?

It wasn’t really a master plan, but I do enjoy bringing characters from my other works into my newer stories. It’s a fun easter egg for readers, and we get to see a little more of characters that we might otherwise never hear from again!

Are there any weird/quirky rituals you do, or any specific places you like to go to before you start writing something new?

I don’t think I do anything weird or quirky! I just need a very quiet, solitary space, a cold drink, and somewhere comfy to sit.

In your books you talk a lot about mental illness, growing up, and, especially, the very challenging time between the end of high school and the start of university. What is something that you know now that you would like to tell to a younger Alice?

I’d probably just tell her that I get it. I totally understand how you’re feeling.

As an author, what are the five books, graphic novels and/or webcomics that you think are a MUST READ for any aspiring writer?

I wouldn’t say these are all for ‘any’ aspiring writer—everyone has different tastes! But here are five of my faves:

Spinning by Tillie Walden

Long Exposure by Mars (

Given by Natsuki Kizu

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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