Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, a day which brings out as many cynics and sceptics as it does lovers and romantics.
Whichever camp you fall into, there’s no denying that love is a universal emotion. Perhaps not in its expression but certainly it exists in all cultures.
Which brings me to writing about love and sex. Because as a YA author it’s an area I walk through in the same way I would a field seeded with land mines. Teenagers are intense, their bodies are becoming more sexual, as are their thoughts, and they love and hate with all their might. As an adult, I can remember that but it takes effort to remember it without filtering those memories through an adult view point.
For example, I remember loving a boy in my class so much that just sitting next to him during a lesson made my day. I honestly heard bells whenever I saw him (not the school bell). I was insanely jealous of his girlfriend and just waiting out the days until they would break up and he would be available (but still unattainable).
Now that I’m thirty I can laugh at the intensity of my emotions but at the time it WAS NOT funny. Similarly, my friends’ own crushes, loves and infatuations were not funny to them at the time, they were deeply felt and real.
When I write I try to respect that, although my characters are young, their feelings are real, their love is real. Although I know now that the feelings you have as a teenager may not last, I know that my characters don’t know that yet, they can’t and…they shouldn’t. After all, being a teenager is full of highs and lows and one of those highs is the feeling, the rapture and regrets, of your first love.
I hope you all had a happy Valentine’s Day.