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!