Thursday, November 13, 2014

Teen Drama

My most recent—okay, my very first—Harlequin Superromance is a romance for my main characters Nina Spencer and her long-ago sweetheart, Mack Finley. That’s the main drama that I brainstormed, the characters who clamored for me to tell their story. I’m happy with them. I loved their romance.

But the interesting thing about Superromance is that there is so much more going on than just a primary love story. I am currently writing my third title for this long, complex series, and I’m still marveling at all the story threads I can weave into the books. It’s fun and rewarding.
And in my books for Super, it’s also a lot of teen drama.

You see, the secondary characters who walked on the scene for PROMISES UNDER THE PEACH TREE weren’t just the heroine’s best friend or the hero’s buddies from his hometown. The characters that demanded the most attention were the teens in the tiny town of Heartache, Tennessee. My secondary heroine, Ally, stole my heart with her storyline. On the surface, her family sees a quiet, sweet girl getting straight As and doing everything right. Sure, she might be upset because her parents’ marriage is going downhill fast, but Ally is still a very good girl.

But, as we get inside Ally’s head, we learn how much is NOT right in her world and how much it’s costing her to hold herself together through the inevitable drama of teen years.

I’m fascinated by this the longer that I write and the more I look back at my youth. I wrote some Young Adult books recently with my sister in law (Karen Rock under our pen name J.K. Rock (check out Camp Forget Me Not, currently an Amazon bestseller in YA Contemporary romance!). To study up on the genre, I read lots of books that have been released in the last five years. And oh, did I love that!


YA is very appealing for the teen drama and I’ve decided it’s because we were all teens once. Who can’t relate to the sense of being shunned and feeling awkward in high school? It’s a universal story. Show me the person who was well-adjusted in high school and I’ll show you someone who put on a good act! Truly, we all had those years when it felt like the world was against us. It makes it fun to read YA and realize—wow, it wasn’t just me. Everyone else was holding on by their fingernails during that time, too.

That doesn’t make the teen experiences any less real. I wouldn’t go back in time to those high school days for anything, not even to see my pre-baby body or touch that silky, never-been-colored hair again! High school is a hard time and no matter how well adjusted the teens in your life might seem, they’re having whole years of hardship, whole battles you don’t know anything about. As a parent, that’s really daunting to think about. But as a former teen—you know what I mean.


What was your favorite part of high school? The friends? The dances? The first kiss? Share with me on the forum and I’ll give one random poster a copy of my sister in law’s most recent Harlequin Heartwarming, SOMEONE LIKE YOU!

22 comments:

Vickie Raynor said...

My favorite part was definitely the friends.

Laurie G said...

I made many wonderful friends with whom I still stay in touch. I loved girl sports. I had some fantastic teachers. I also had my first date and my first boyfriend.

Agatha Townsend said...

My favorite part of high school was graduating . I am 63 years old and there was bullying back then couldn't wait to get out. Sorry I am speaking honestly. Agatha P. Townsend Even the name Agatha was shorten to Aggie_baggie called out in hallways. I don't mind if you don't post this. Agatha

Tammy Yenalavitch said...

My daughter is in high school now and I feel her pain. She wants the boys she likes to ask her out. I told her that only the boys I did not like asked me out when I was in school. The ones I really liked never did. The best part was my friends. I am still friends with that group today.

Joanne Vincenti said...

My favorite part of high school was of course hanging out with my friends but also the math classes - that's my nerdy side coming out I guess!

Joanne Rock said...

Agatha, you speak to my point so well! I had a hard time in high school too. There were bright spots, but so many parts I *didn't* like. I felt trapped, for sure, and eager to be done with that time. College was fun and so much nicer for me. My husband loved his high school years though and made a lot of close friendships.

Joanne Rock said...

Math classes... Joanne, your ntoe made me laugh ;-). I fell asleep in math class a few times and my teacher asked me to stay after class after one snoozing incident. I was so worried what he would say and embarrassed I'd fallen asleep again. But he was so, so nice about it and asked me all about my diet-- was I eating well? Getting enough rest? I guess that was a bright spot, realizing that people do pay attention and care ;-).

Irma Jurejevčič said...

Oh, I definetly loved the friends part of it. But also being away from my parents, doing what I wanted and with whom I wanted. I was behaving, don't worry :)
Now, when I look back at those days, I wish I had more fun. But I believe that's how it had to be. Oh, all those problems that we had back than - they were so inocent but SO important. I remember the flirting part :) ˝You think he likes me and will take me out on a date˝ kind of thing... Lovely times.

joye said...

I am so glad there are these kinds of stories for teens. Wish they had been around when I was young teenager.
jwisley8@me.com

Joanne Rock said...

Irma, if I had a nickel for every time I've ever heard "do you think he likes me" in one form or another... oy! It's sure a topic girls talk about. Even now, when I sit in the bleachers and watch my sons play sports, I hear the girls buzzing all around me in their small circles saying "You think he likes me" and "I think he likes X..." . Lots of drama!

Colleen C. said...

Hmmm, fav part of high school... finding out that I was able to sign up for a program that let me go to college in my senior year of high school...

tina clayton said...

my favorite part will probably be surprising. History/World Civ class. I LOVE history. preferably not the US History LOL

Joanne Rock said...

Tina, I love history too! Maybe less surprising for me since I write some historicals :-). But I found it all fascinating. I went on to pick up a Renaissance history class in college because I was just *interested* and it turns out I wasn't great at writing papers for history (too much flair? Personal voice? ) but I didn't care that I didn't get an A. Was just so fascinated to listen to the teacher spin tales of court intrigue every day in class!

Fedora said...

I loved my friends, and actually enjoyed a bunch of my classes. But honestly? If offered the chance for a redo? No thanks!!! :) Thanks for such great stories, Joanne!

Tammy Yenalavitch said...

I am back - I was kind of nerd in school. On the honor roll. Straight A student, Loved my classes and teachers too. History and English were my favorite subjects. We also had a great basketball team and I loved going to games with my friends. Not sure i would want to relive all the teenage drama again. But, I do have some great memories.

Mary Preston said...

I had a great group of friends at high school. All so different, but I think that's what made it work. Respect.

Shamona Hagan said...

I think my favorite part were my cooking classes. They were great. I miss school, not really the drama though, but I did love hanging out with my friends without all the responsibility of adulthood.

Joanne Rock said...

Thank you for the kind words, Fedora! I love sharing stories ;-). And Colleen... I would have loved the early college option. I'm hoping my youngest will do dual enrollment when he's old enough!

penney said...

The best thing about high school for me would be the cooking class and my best friend we took the cooking class together, we had a lot of fun in that class.
Penney

Joanne Rock said...

Hi Penney! I liked the cooking class too. Although it was half cooking, half sewing and my sewing was not very good! But I did like learning to make things. It's nice when school can teach you practical life skills...

Joanne Rock said...

Tammy, I empathize with your daughter! And we sure do feel the hurts they feel like they were our own, don't we? I've noticed that a lot of kids don't date as much a we used to... less pairs dating, more group events. Which probably isn't a bad thing. Although if your heart is romantically inclined, maybe not quite a fun :-).

Joanne Rock said...

***WINNER*** Congratulations to your thread winner, Ms. Agatha Townsend!! I will be in touch with you so I can get a mailing address, or if you read this first, just email me at jrock008@gmail.com with where you'd like me to send a copy of Karen Rock's SOMEONE LIKE YOU.

Thank you to all for visiting and posting this week! I had fun and hope you did too :-).

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