(Or: Writing a Christmas Teenage Pregnancy Story without Cliche)
The problem with writing is that eventually you realise that every single story has been done before. The thing you’ve got to cling to is that (hopefully) no-one else has done it with your voice.
I’ve blogged before about how certain topics come with a level of responsibility to the reader, to not appear one-sided or judgemental. When I write about sex, I try and write about safe sex, about mutual, consensual, crazy-about-you sorta sex. There is never going to be a moment where I write ‘don’t worry about the condom’. Yes, I know it happens in real life, but I want my characters, whilst fallible, to be working towards something positive.
So when I decided to write a pregnant teenager, I was faced with the same situation. Pregnancy happens. There’s meant to be a new romantic comedy movie coming out soon where the story is about a girl getting an abortion. The reason there aren’t often movies or books (or romantic comedies) about that response to pregnancy is that there is no story after that. I mean, unless she falls in love with the nurse, or meets a guy in the waiting room, that isn’t the beginning of a story. So whilst I’m pro-choice, I had to be sure there was a reason Megan would keep her baby. There is a part in the book where Megan discusses her own views, and why she feels like a hypocrite. Writing about pregnancy is a really big thing! You want to show that young mothers can do amazing things, but you also don’t want to make it seem easy. Raising kids is never easy.
It’s way too easy to get bogged down in the ‘what’s my message’ feeling of a book, when, really, you just need to let your characters get on with what they want to get on with. They’re human. Or they’re meant to be. The majority of real life people are motivated by their thoughts, beliefs, feelings and desires. Not by what other people think. So...I wrote a story about a young girl who was trying to please everyone else, and protect everyone, and was lonely and sad, and made a couple of bad choices. But the book is about how even when you’ve done an amazing job, when you’ve ‘made good’ and you’re living the best life you possibly can, you can still be scared that you’ll be defined by that one mistake, even if it turned out to be a great decision.
Megan McAllister is home for Christmas…whether she likes it or not!
Christmas is about family…and for Megan family means two people: herself, and her daughter Skye. It doesn’t mean her parents who, ten years ago, saw her pregnancy as anything but a miracle. And it definitely doesn’t include her irresistible ex-boyfriend Lucas Bright.
So ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ has never been top of Megan’s festive playlist. But for Skye, she knows she needs to spend the holiday season with the people she’s left behind. She can do this. Even if the thought of meeting Lucas under the mistletoe still has her feeling like she’s drunk one-too-many Snowballs!
But somewhere between the hanging of stockings and the crackle of wrapping paper, Christmas starts to sparkle. And Megan begins to wonder if family could be bigger than her and Skye after all…Pop the buck’s fizz, stoke the fire and prepare to giggle the festive season away with AL Michael!
Amazon UK ¦ US
Kobo ¦ WHSmith
Nook UK ¦ Barnes & Noble
BlinkBox (Tesco) ¦ Sainsbury
To win a Driving Home for Christmas goodie bag, including merchandise, festive treats and a £10 Amazon giftcard!