I have an admission. This is the first time someone has asked me to write a guest post for a blog. Honestly, I have no idea if this is how it works, but this is how I’m writing it, LOL. Our host suggested I tell you about what writing for today’s young adult readers means to me. But, to do that, I need to tell you a few things about myself first.
I was raised in a religious home and still hold those values. It’s tough to be a teenager with a moral compass. It’s not considered very cool. I was able to stand up for what I believed in without too much grief because I was cute and a little popular. Even then, my friends teased me in good nature when I used goofy replacements for swear words. Some thought it was flat out weird that I didn’t drink or watch rated R movies. Many thought I was nuts for saving sex until marriage.
But, for the most part, people respected my values and choices. Often, kids chose less vulgar language in my presence or apologized when the f-word slipped out. If I went to a party and was offered a drink by someone who didn’t know me, others would get offended on my behalf. I had a boyfriend for two years who respected me so much, that he went off to college a virgin (though it was definitely not hispreference). Once I made my choices clear, peer pressure basically stopped. I’m not naïve enough to think that every teen will have the same type of experiences. The point is, that I wasn’t ashamed to be me. I didn’t preach to everyone, I just practiced my beliefs. At the end of the day, people didn’t like me any less than they would have if I’d compromised my standards.
What does this have to do with my writing? A lot. I have a goal to write books for teens (and adults) that address typical issues, without all the junk. People are bombarded every day with vulgarity and immorality on every side and in every form. That includes many of the books they read. I’m not trying to push an agenda or religious message. I just want people to know when they purchase one of my books, that it will be fun and safe.
I’ve been careful in my writing to make the characters feel like actual teenagers without all the sex and explicit language they hear about in everyday life. My books aren’t squeaky clean, because I want them to feel real, but I’ll never write anything I wouldn’t let my own teenagers read. For me, the bottom line is this—if I can provide today’s YA readers with a clean, healthy way to escape, that pulls a laugh from their mouth or puts a smile on their face, I’ve done my job.
Summer vacation is Levi London’s favorite time of the year. Each summer, he and his brothers are shipped off to Florida to stay with their grandparents. For ten weeks everything is perfect. He has freedom, fun, and Summer West—the cute and spunky girl across the street—for whom he’s planned to confess his giant crush. Right before the London boys are scheduled to leave, a scandalous family situation causes their mom to accompany them on vacation. Not only does Levi’s fun quotient promise to take a nose dive, but all the drama has him feeling less than his normal happy self. Summer decides that Levi needs a distraction, in the form of a prank war. But he gets more than he bargains for when his older brother Lucas is both better at pranking and determined to date Summer too. Levi is a peacekeeper, but he isn’t sure he can mediate his family’s struggles or strike the right balance between mischief and romance. Especially when Lucas keeps reminding him that all is fair in love and war.
“So, your birthday is coming up soon. The big 1-6. We need to do something epic. I’m thinking a huge party…” I trailed off, knowing she’d shoot me down. There’s only one thing she’s ever wanted to do for her sixteenth birthday. That was to go on her first date.
Summer’s parents only had one formal rule—that I knew of, at least. No dating until you’re sixteen. I was surprised the first time I heard it, because her parents never seemed to care that I was always in her bedroom. I mean, we didn’t shut the door or do anything dodgy, but still. Hunter broke that rule all the time, but Summer had stayed obedient. She’d yet to go on an official date. I think the reason she didn’t push it the way Hunter did was because she was scared and a little naïve. But, regardless of the reason, the waiting had built up a lot of anticipation for her sixteenth birthday.
“You know me better than that by now.” Summer smiled. “I don’t want a party.”
I winked at her. “I know you don’t. The real question is, who do you want to take you on your very first date?” I tried to play it off like I didn’t care, but I already knew the answer. “Let me guess, you want me to pull some strings so my dopey older brother will ask you out?”
“Don’t be ridiculous, that’s never going to happen.” She waved me off, then got quiet, like she was nervous. Summer looked down at the stuffed animal she was holding. “Actually, I was hoping you’d take me on my first date.”
“Me?” I was beyond surprised.
Summer grinned and said, “Yes, you. Who else would I want to take me?”
Something exploded in my chest, and my body got warm and tingly. I’d been out on plenty of dates, kissed my share of girls, too. But the thought of doing either of those things with Summer made my emotions do a happy dance. She wanted me to take her on her first date. Maybe by default because she didn’t think Lucas was an option, but I’d take it. This would be the perfect opportunity to show her why Lucas sucked and I should be the man of her dreams.
“I’d be honored,” I replied coolly, trying to hide how giddy I was. I didn’t want to look like a desperate chump. “Do you have anything specific that you want to do?”
“Nope. I trust you to make it amazing and unforgettable.”
“Geez, no pressure or anything.”
Summer laughed. “Of course not. No pressure at all. I’ve only got a full page reserved for the event in my scrapbook.”
“Do you really?”
“What do you think?” she countered, but I couldn’t tell if she was being serious or not. Forget one page. Honestly, I could see her making a whole “first date scrapbook”.
“I’m invoking my right to plead the Fifth Amendment on this matter.”
“I think you’re smarter than Lucas gives you credit for,” she replied.
About the Author
Robin Daniels is married to an amazing guy and has five equally amazing but crazy kids. When she’s not chasing children or writing books, she’s probably coaching volleyball or working with her church youth group. She tries to read as much as possible, especially if she’s got housework to do. And if she’s not home during the day, you’ll likely find her hanging out at her sister’s house—where they mostly talk about writing and reading books. Robin loves long naps, yummy food, Diet Coke and being outside in the Arizona winters.
Runs now through Sunday December 10, 2017 at midnight. Winner receives a signed copy of each book in the Perfect Series along with a Christmas/Holiday card containing a $20 Amazon gift card. Winner can keep it for themselves or choose to gift the prize. If gifting, I will wrap and mail directly to the recipient upon request— hopefully in time for Christmas.