“A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson
“A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”—Arnold H. Glasow
This week, The Scarlet Omen has finally been released on Amazon and I’m proud to say that I made it to the top 10 on the bestseller list for English young adult fantasy in Germany. Now, there are about 100 books being released a day on Amazon and I know that The Scarlet Omen may not have even smelled the bestseller list if it hadn’t been for my family, friends and students (who have also come to be good friends). Even with my big mouth and sharp elbows, beating my way through the crowd of well-known authors would have been quite a feat. So today’s blog is dedicated to, you’ve guessed it, *trumpets please*...FRIENDS.
To me, a friend is someone who helps you bury the body first and asks questions later (for the more blur readers out there, please don’t go judging my apparent penchant for violence...it was a figure of speech). We grow up with friends, tell them secrets that we wouldn’t dream of telling our families. Friends know about your first crush and walk by their houses a thousand times with you, pretending to be looking for that darn contact lens. They make calls for you which you’re too chicken to make yourself and are the only ones laughing at your stupid jokes. They hold you when that crush breaks your heart by falling for someone else and sit with you at midnight to send evil spells his or her way. They risk certain death by being your alibi when your parents call while you’re actually out on a date. They understand when you’re too busy swimming in a new relationship to discuss their latest crisis and are always there to pick up the pieces of a break up. They believe in you when the rest of the world has kicked you so low that you have to look up to greet a passing earthworm.
What would life be without friends? Mine would be a dreary plain of lonely tears and half smiles. We seldom take the time to stop and see the people in our lives because we’re too busy trying to live. It doesn’t take more than a minute to send a ‘thinking of you’ message, so “Sorry, no time” shouldn’t be the excuse.
In most young adult novels, the protagonist’s friends are the pillars of a story. Think about what Harry Potter would have been like without Ms. Granger and Master Weasley. They buoy the main character during their journey and bring them safely to THE END, throwing in some laughs and more often than not some drama. A lot of a story’s essence lies in the way the characters relate to one another and how they come out of an uncomfortable situation. Young adults live for their friends—their opinions, acceptance and support. They’re all in the same boat, striving to live in a world where they’re old enough to know what they want but are constantly being sent to their rooms for minor misdemeanours because (voice deepens)“As long as you’re living under my roof, young...”.
Many of us writers of young adult fiction have long since stopped taking allowance money from our parents (I did say “many”), so we sometimes forget how it was to live in an adolescent world. I can’t express how important it is to take these relationships and bonds formed between young people into account when writing a novel dedicated specifically to them. I don’t think that my protagonist Anjeli would be able to face a day without her best friend Sabitha, although Sabitha does sometimes give her cause to want to strangle her (yet another exaggeration, my dear literal ones).
So let’s take a minute to remember those who come over with ice cream (or booze for my older readers) and a shoulder to cry on when your life seems like it’s being written by a gremlin banging randomly on a keyboard. Cheers to the best friends a girl could wish for!
Psst! Watch out for July’s author interview: Watcha Doin’ with James W. Lewis, author of Slow Your Prose (A Writing Guide).