Hi. My name is Jenny and I am the world's slowest drafter. I also just finished my first draft of my contemporary YA romance, THE ART OF FALLING, in one month. ONE MONTH.
On December 22, I sent a couple cut scenes to some of my fellow misfits. I hadn't looked them in a while, but I couldn't get the characters out of my head. I left my laptop at home while my family traveled over the holidays and, of course, that's when inspiration struck and I dashed out a quick pitch on my phone:
Bria broke one of the cardinal rules of friendship: she kissed her best friend's brother. It's not like hot, popular, soccer star Ben would ever fall for the self-proclaimed Queen of the Freaks anyway. But when a prank gone wrong puts Ben and Bria on clean up duty together, the sparks between them heat up the SoCal fall. Now she has to decide if it's worth stepping beyond her narrowly defined clique for a boy who might not do the same. Especially if it means losing her best friend.
That concept has been refined and clarified over the last month (soccer swapped for football, the stakes have gone up, the focus has shifted from the brother problem to the jocks-are-lame problem), but the heart remains. THE ART OF FALLING is my first attempt at contemp romance. Not something I normally read, but I love this story. It's kind of like She's All That in reverse, but set in Southern California, so it's a bit like The O.C.
I've had so much fun building this playlist that I had to limit myself to fifteen songs. Apparently most of my iTunes collection is meant for angst-ridden teens...
So here's my top 15 songs, with a little bit about each one.
Big Shot by Kill Hannah. Goth girl romance? Kill Hannah immediately popped into my head (the album is titled Hope for the Hopeless). I could have included just about any song from them, but with her falling for the captain of the football team, Big Shot was just too perfect.
Fatally Yours by Alkaline Trio. Matt Skiba may not be capable of writing a love song, but his love-gone-wrong songs are perfection. Profanity laced, criminally inclined lyrics with the catchiest hooks ever. I just hope my kids never catch me singing along.
Just Watch the Fireworks by Jimmy Eat World. (Confession: this song was playing when I got engaged, so I might be a little biased). This album (Clarity) is full of beautiful love songs, but the opening line sold me on this one: Here, you can be anything, and I think that scares you. Bria's greatest struggle is accepting that she doesn't have to be who people expect her to be. That she can be whoever or whatever she wants to be.
You‘re not ready, you‘re not ready. Please stop acting like you are.
How could I know that everything you say are lies about devotion and desire?
I know the spark inside your eyes was just the match I used to set myself on fire.
Strange Girl by The Airborne Toxic Event. Mikel Jollett is an author as well as a song writer, so I'm never surprised by how much inspiration I find in his music. Strange Girl is Ben's song for Bria. It's the story of wanting something no one else understands.
August In Bethany by The Juliana Theory. If you need inspiration for teen romance, this is the band. SO overdramatic and bordering on (okay, crossing into) whiny. This song captures that push and pull of a fling. To continue or let it go?
Art of War by Anberlin. This is not my favorite song from this album, so I was surprised when it spoke to me like it did. It's that questioning at the end of a relationship, or almost relationship, where you don't know what anything meant to the other person. Was I the greatest or just the latest?
Love is like a role that we play. But I believe in you so much, I could die for the words that you say. This is why I love writing teenage love stories so much. All the questioning and soul searching and everything IS THE END OF THE WORLD.
Loose Ends by Imogen Heap. The line We're kissing without kissing is just too perfect for this story. And I wanted another song from a girl's perspective. I need to get more angsty teen girl music.