When writing The Quiet is Loud, it was important to me that Freya develops a close friendship with someone she could theoretically have romantic feelings for, but doesn’t.
I’ve had many friendships like this, where there was never any hint of something romantic developing. We spent lots of time together, we got to know each other very well, we had vulnerable life discussions and silly moments, and often laughed until we cried. They were some of the most important friends of my life. Yet when I say I loved them dearly, I usually have to qualify it with a “but not that way.” Because for some reason, society still tells us if romantic love is a possibility for two people, platonic love cannot happen instead. And if there’s one thing that drives me absolutely up the wall, it’s this idea that a woman in books or films has to have a love interest, or be one herself.
From my online journal, 2002: “I got an email from a dear old friend, possibly the dearest old friend that I have. I haven’t even replied to his email yet, but I will, but right now there’s just me thinking of myself at fifteen and him at eighteen and how he just completely changed me. One of two people in my entire life to pick me up and set me down and then I was someone else. I wonder if he knows that. ”
Javi practically wrote himself in this book. In him I could so easily summon those dear old friends, and writing his friendship with Freya felt effortless. People have told me that Javi is their favourite character, and this makes me endlessly happy. For maybe obvious reasons, he’s mine too.