Good afternoon lovely Arrowheads! Get your seatbelts on as we blast back to the year 2009, the year I began writing my debut novel, Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl!
2009… great Scott! (Sorry, I had to! 😂)
June 2009 was a summer that changed my life, all due to one special gift: my first laptop. Though the first few weeks/months were either spent playing Diner Dash or The Sims 2, or spending hours upon hours on Quizilla posting random poems/stories of my teenagehood (#TheHoboAndThePrep 😂), sometime during that summer, I started writing a novel. This is the story of how it came to be.
To be honest, the way the main character, Riley, was described during her middle school years sprang from my own experience. I had a bad haircut, glasses, and braces (to which the latter two wouldn’t have looked so bad if it wasn’t for #1). I went through a phase where I didn’t want to wear anything but old t-shirts and jeans, and to top it off, for the greater part of my K-8th grade career, I hardly spoke to anyone at school other than through one-word replies or head nods.
Though Riley isn’t that shy in the novel, she experienced a lot of the same things I went through as far as the teasing went, and her “transformation” over summer vacation. My freshman year of high school brought forth a new slate, like Riley’s did when the kids from Grahamwood Jr. High met kids from Corley Creek at Linwood Whaley High. Meeting new friends freshman year helped me break out of my shell, as it helps Riley in the novel.
The differences between Riley and myself are:
1) I’m not as interested in writing poetry
2) I didn’t have a major bully like Hailey Carson
3) I had nowhere near the boy attention, let alone the boy drama, that Riley faces.
I first wrote Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl when I was 15 to 16. At the time, I had never dated anyone. Being a public school student, the idea of dating became a strong desire of mine through observing my classmates, though I didn’t want to “date around” like some of the other girls my age. Instead, I basically wanted a high school sweetheart: a steady boyfriend that I would hopefully end up marrying. (LOL at young Allyson). Thus, the story of how Riley receives her high school sweetheart was born.
Carter embodies everything about my idea of a “dream guy” at that age. And Brett… well, he possibly stemmed from observing guys I didn’t like. 😉
I actually wrote about a certain couple kissing before I received my own first kiss. This made editing the “first kiss” scene a hoot! 😂 However, like a few reviewers have pointed out, I now think that freshman are too young to date, let alone kiss. Back then, I assumed I was “grown” and didn’t know of the temptations that arise from dating/kissing so young. This issue is addressed in a different light in my future releases. 🙂
The whole purpose behind writing the novel, though, was that it was basically me writing how I wish my freshman year had gone in terms of meeting my “dream guy”, though I did not meet him in real life until after high school. (#JoshTheBowler 🎳)
To be honest, I was a much more productive writer way back when. I got invited to go with people to the local football games and I was all, “Nah, I’m gonna stay home and write.” I remember writing a chapter or two in one sitting many a time. Good times, good times.
The Movie Plans (Insert Eye Roll Here)
That’s basically all I can remember about writing the novel, minus the film adaptation I had been dreaming up. 🙄 Here was my preferred cast list:
- Jason Dolley OR Scotty McCreery as Carter
- Ryan from True Jackson, VP as Trent
- Jennette McCurdy (Sam from iCarly) as Riley
😂😂😂 Disney Channel and Nickelodeon peeps for the win!
Talk to Me, Arrowheads!
Well, that’s the tale of how Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl came to be! Want to read the book for yourself? To preview or purchase my debut novel, visit its Amazon page here! 😊
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.