By: P.L. Jones
You can be whatever you want to be
We hear phrases like that a lot and while a part of us hopes that such a sentiment is true, we also can't help but wonder if it's better to be realistic. The reality, however, is that you really can become whatever you choose. You can become a famous inventor, a billionaire, a member of the royal family, a time-traveler, a superhero... Seriously, I'm not exaggerating!
You really can make all of that happen by becoming a writer!
You really can make all of that happen by becoming a writer!
In fact, Charity West, the author of "The Boyfriend Deal" has done exactly this. Charity's made a career out of putting herself in the shoes of all kinds of interesting people and then chronicling their experiences. Her latest book, "The Boyfriend Deal", centers around a relatable teen named Hadley Ryan whose life gets a little bit crazy after she breaks up with her boyfriend. Let me just say that if you adore high school drama as much as I do, then you're going to love this book. I was beyond thrilled to interview Charity West about writing, life, and high school. Check out her interview below!
What did you want to be when you grew up and why?
I absolutely adored animals (and still do) so I wanted to be a vet. And then my mother explained that in vet school you have to cut animals open so you could learn how to operate and I decided that wasn’t the job for me after all. I wouldn’t even dissect a frog in my 8th grade science class. If I remember right, I was dinged for not doing the actual dissection, but I was given the opportunity to label the parts of a frog in a picture. I definitely wouldn’t have made it through vet school.
Does anyone else in your family write?
My grandmother, who recently passed away, was also a writer. She’d started a romance novel several years ago that she never finished, and I’ve asked my grandfather’s permission to finish the book (whenever he can get the file to me). She also wrote freelance for a local magazine and had many articles published. She used to call me twice a week and ask how the writing was going, what I was working on, how sales were…that kind of thing. She hadn’t been gone a day before I caught myself calling her to give her an update. No one else in my family understands my passion for writing the way she did.
Never give up...There are plenty of times you want to throw in the towel because you get frustrated or you’re convinced what you’ve written is rubbish, but you have to dust yourself off and keep going.
In "The Boyfriend Deal", Hadley Ryan's life turns upside-down when she accidentally kisses one of the most popular guys in school. Have you ever accidentally kissed someone who you had a crush on?
Definitely not. I was always too shy to speak to the guys I liked. Or if they did talk to me, I’d stammer my way through a conversation and end up sounding like an idiot. Guys I didn’t have a crush on weren’t a problem. I actually had more guy friends than girl friends. I didn’t even go on my first date until I was 17 and out of high school (you read that right…I graduated early). It wasn’t until I was 19 that I became more confident in who I was and would approach guys.
What inspired you to write "The Boyfriend Deal?"
The idea for The Boyfriend Deal actually came to me in a dream. At least, bits and pieces of it did. The story came together as I began writing and the characters developed along the way. When I started the story, I had the opening scene in my mind and a vague idea of who my characters were, but it wasn’t until chapter two that everything snapped together.
Some writers say that every time they write a story they learn something new. If this is so in your case, what did you learn from writing Hadley's story?
I’d like to think the more I write the more I grow as a writer. I’m not sure I could pinpoint any one thing. I very seldom have written in first person, and I did learn to watch my tenses. I think my editor probably wanted to smack my hand when I’d switch tenses mid-paragraph. But I worked with a really great team at Evernight Teen and by the time they were finished with the story it sparkled.
"The Boyfriend Deal" takes place in high school. If you could go back in time and offer your fifteen or sixteen year old self a piece of advice, what would you say?
Oh wow. Just one? <grin> I would love to give my younger self tons of advice, but career-wise, I’d tell myself not to stop writing. I used to write a lot in high school and some in college and then it fell by the wayside for about five years. I’d encourage myself to finish those stories I kept starting and take a chance on submitting them somewhere. I can only imagine where I’d be today if I’d started my professional writing journey a lot sooner.
What's the best writing advice you've ever heard?
Never give up. I think that’s probably what every author I’ve ever talked to has said to me. And it’s true. There are plenty of times you want to throw in the towel because you get frustrated or you’re convinced what you’ve written is rubbish, but you have to dust yourself off and keep going. There will be rejections along the way, but you just have to get a thick skin and keep pushing until you reach your goals.
Aside from writing, what other interests do you HAVE ?
I used to ride horses a lot, but I haven’t done that since my daughter was born in 2001. And when I say a lot, I mean I practically lived at the barn. Now, if I’m not writing, I’m usually reading or watching Supernatural. I love that show so much that I’ve probably watched the reruns on Netflix a hundred times. I also like to cuddle with the cats and take the kids out for ice cream.
I guess in the last two years my life has become rather boring to most. I spend a good portion of my day just getting the kids and husband where they need to go and picked back up, going to football or band practice, running errands. I don’t have much time for me and when I do I like to do something quiet like read.
Will you write more YA books and if so, where can we find updates on these?
I have several partials already, but it’s hard to say what will be the next book I finish. I actually started one the night my grandmother died, almost as if she were guiding me. Perhaps it will be the next book I subm_it. I don’t have a newsletter, but I do have a blog that doubles as my website: https://charitywest.wordpress.com You can also go to Amazon and visit my author page (http://www.amazon.com/Charity-West/e/B01BTUV3AA). If you click "Follow" under my picture, you’ll receive an email whenever I have a new book added to the site.
Charity is an incredible writer and you're going to love getting to know Hadley Ryan in "The Boyfriend Deal"! So, visit amazon.com and get your copy today!
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