Reader Girl was kind enough to contact me, to say how much she enjoyed reading The ABC’s of Kissing Boys. Which delights me, of course! And got me to thinking about the elements I enjoyed most about writing it. And while that answer might differ depending upon my mood (a-hem), today my thoughts returned to the character who made the book come alive, and brought me some of my favorite moments.
I need to backtrack and explain that while I had the idea, the theme, the setting, the main character and her family for the book early on, the “hero” eluded me for quite some time. I kept plopping in characters (I call it “auditioning”) but nothing worked...and I was at the point of scrapping the whole book...until the morning my 15 year-old freshman strutted onto the scene...
His name is Tristan Murphy. And I must say, he is not your average high school freshman. Already over six feet, he’s buff from years of playing water polo, has water cooler blue eyes--and a man-sized crush on the two-grades-ahead Parker Stanhope. Who, I am sorry to say, does not seem to notice that he is alive.
But one day, circumstances occur in which she lowers herself to speak to him. And she incidentally discovers that he’s an expert in the one area of schooling where she seriously needs tutoring: kissing.
You see, Parker’s in a curious and serious jam. Her soccer teammate-friends got promoted to varsity without her, and the only way she can finagle her way onto varsity involves giving the prom king the kiss of a lifetime at the sports fair kissing booth. Yes, it's far-fetched, but it could work.
Which happens to be what Tristan studied at summer camp, wiling away the evenings with the other counselors. He learned about butterfly kisses and steam kisses and caterpillar kisses, and played games like Spin the Bottle and unwrapping Starburst candies in his tongue.
But that was just for fun. And with girls he didn’t care much about. Now this is Parker, the girl of his dreams. Who is giving him this one chance. Who is expecting him to be cool and smooth and in charge...
Can he do it?
The morning of their first lesson, he showers, changes his shirt three times, puts on aftershave (even though he hasn’t had to shave yet this month). Only to find her in an oversized T-shirt and ponytail. Is this all she thinks of him? Tucking under his arm the playbook he'd hastily penned, he’s tempted to run for his life. I mean, who is he to teach the beautiful Parker anything?
But she rocks his world by making the first move. A big one, smack on the lips. She says she wanted to cut the tension, to get the first kiss over with so they could relax. Which makes him realize, in astonishment, that she’s nervous, too.
So he decides that yeah, he could go through with this. Crazy as it seems, he’ll be her kissing coach, and help her get she wants. And then maybe, just maybe, it’ll lead to what he wants, too: her respect. And maybe more...
Okay, I’ll stop now. I have a tendency to go on and on about these characters--like book length on and on!
Thanks to Reader Girl for this chance to blab about my boy, Tristan, and if anyone has any questions, be sure to leave them in the comments.