Monday, August 29, 2011

MAKE IT LAST FOREVER: CONFESSIONS OF A PROM QUEEN


You wouldn’t know it from this unflattering photo, but I was the prom queen. For real, y’all. And while senior prom wasn’t the best night of my entire life, it was pretty frickin’ awesome, and the memories of that evening always bring a smile to my lips.

See that cute blond boy with his arms wrapped around my waist? That’s Pete, and we were going to be 2gether4ever! The idea of parting from him after graduation had me in tears. Literally. I cried the through the whole last dance.

Why the waterworks? Because I graduated from a teeny-tiny school for military brats in Munich, Germany, in itself a fairytale-esque setting, and I was surrounded by dozens of great friends and a boy I adored. Put it all together, and that was a high school experience I didn’t want to relinquish. This wasn’t your typical town where kids could drive home from college on the weekends and reconnect. We were headed off to universities from Texas to Timbuktu, never to see each other again.

I was happy in that moment, and I wanted to "make it last forever"…just like our prom theme.

Now, don’t get me wrong—I’m not one of those schmucks who peaked in high school, and I love my life exactly as it turned out, especially my fantabulous husband. But I remember the good ‘ol days quite fondly, not to mention the heartbreak of letting go, and it’s shaped how I write romance for teens. Heck, for adults, too.

For example, if you’re reading one of my books, (which you can, in the fall of 2012), there’s a 100% happily-ever-after guarantee, and first loves last a lifetime, unrealistic as that may sound. Because I remember how intense those romantic feelings were during my teenage years, and I know that when you’re in the throes of young love, you want to make it last forever, even if it can’t.

By the way, Pete’s a musician now. Check out his band, The Thousands, here and here. J


On the porch swing, rockin' the tiara!

In addition to YA, Melissa Landers writes adult contemporary romance under the name Macy Beckett. "Macy's" debut novel is coming September of 2012 from Sourcebooks.

For more information, visit Melissa's author page.

YOUR TURN! What about you, gentle readers? Was saying "goodbye" after prom bittersweet for you, or were you happy to get the hell outta Dodge?



Monday, August 22, 2011

WHAT ABOUT PROM, BLAINE? WHAT ABOUT PROM?

I get to kick off HONESTLY YA and the first round of posts with the topic TEENAGE RITES OF PASSAGE. Caps and gowns, bonfires, summer flings, first loves, and fancy dresses. Of all the quintessential high school experiences, what leaps to my mind is prom.
So, for most people prom falls into one of two categories: BEST or WORST night of your life. For me, definitely one of the worst. My mom was adamant. “You’ll regret it if you don’t go.” But I would’ve rather been home sneaking wine coolers and rereading Les Miserables or out piercing something on a whim.

Wait—rewind.

If I’m being truly honest, at seventeen I never would’ve had the courage to pierce absolutely anything on impulse. Despite the five holes in my ears and my predilection for boys in colored mohawks (BTW-green is still my fav), I didn’t find the courage to pierce things on a whim until after college—well into adulthood. But I digress…

So prom…my mom and her guilt trip…blah, blah, blah. One problem, I was a total LOSER. No one asked me to prom and I didn’t have a boyfriend. Honestly, I’d never had a real boyfriend (random lip locking doesn’t count). I asked a junior to prom—no offense to the fantastic friend who deigned to be my date—I wasn’t into him like that. But still, It was PROM and I expected…magic.

Prom was dubbed “The Time of Our Lives” and held at the beautiful Sir Francis Drake hotel in San Francisco, about an hour from my hometown of Vacaville, California. Now, I don’t want to knock those who loved their prom and had the time of their life, but it wasn’t my experience. I remember seeing all these kids, dressed up and Wang Chung-ing it, or something—it was the late 80’s, after all—and the profound feeling of being an outsider. All I wanted to do was wander the darkened city streets in my dyed-to-match teal silk pumps and have a John Hughes-worthy angst fest.

The real tragedy of the night—and I blame this squarely on the adolescently attuned shoulders of Mr. Hughes—is that no boy stepped forward to rescue me.

Jake Ryan
Duckie
Where was my Jake Ryan, leaning oh-so-casually against his sports car? Or the ever-gallant Duckie sporting his bolo tie and super stylish shoes just for me? For three years, I’d been crushing on a boy who didn’t know I was alive.

Shouldn’t the cosmos have aligned and whispered in his ear to enable the appropriate prom epiphany?

But the boy never came. My date danced the last dance of the night with another girl and then we made the long drive back home. The teal lace monstrosity of a gown and the matching shoes resided in my closet as gaudy reminders of disappointed hopes.

In my book, THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN, the main character, Alex, wouldn’t be caught dead at a dance. She and her Scooby gang skip homecoming for some big screen zombie mayhem. But when Gabriel, her first love, asks her to the spring dance, she agrees—against her better judgment. When she walks in, she has this completely foreign moment where she’d rather be anywhere else. Yep, you could say I channeled that from *ahem* personal experience.

So back to my prom…

Eventually I recovered, but Prom memories will forever be shrouded in darkness. In college, I did get asked out on dates. And as I matured, I learned to make my own magic…and pierce things.
Thanks to the Vaca High class of '88 who sent me pictures of Prom!
Author Lara Zielin's new book THE IMPLOSION OF AGGIE WINCHESTER has a promcentric theme. In a recent post, readers were invited to share their prom stories. Some are just plain hilarious! Read them here.



Visit my author page for more info
THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN is the first young adult novel by Carey Corp.
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Your turn: PROM...BEST or WORST night of your life? And why?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Welcome to Honestly YA!

We're a group of six authors, banding together to discuss what we love, particularly the personal experiences from our past that shape our fiction.