What I Learned About Romance from my High School Crush.
I can remember avoiding (nicely, I swear) two or three boys who were interested in me while I was in high school. It wasn’t that I thought I was too good for them, and it wasn’t even that I was scared of boys. Instead, the moment a boy started to like me, I was suddenly convinced there was something deathly wrong with him, otherwise, why the heck would he like me?
So to compensate for my lack of dating, I perfected the talent of crushing on a boy from a far. One particular boy, in fact. We were friendly, but not friends. I was subtle. But while it definitely didn’t help my social skills, my crush did teach me a few key concepts that I’ve used when writing romance.
- Good heroes aren’t cookie cutters.
My crush was a total cliché—my high school quarterback. I know, eyes rolling already. But that was the thing. He wasn’t just that. He was also in all the AP classes our school offered. He was sweet and unfailingly polite. He helped out with his family business.
Your hero might start off as an archetype, but don’t leave him that way! When I wrote my hero for A Secret in Her Kiss, Bennett may have been a battle-weary army major, but he also tried to enter a poetry contest when he was twelve. He has a younger sister he’ll do anything to protect. He has a weakness for dares. He finds solace behind doing his duty rather than chafing against it.
- Details make them real.
So I swear I wasn’t more of a stalker than any fifteen year old girl, but I did notice a lot of things about my crush. He chewed his pencil erasers. His front teeth were a little crooked. He had a five o’clock shadow all the other high school boys envied. He was broad shouldered but a touch too short to go on and play at a higher level. He never slouched in his chair—not once.
Bennett might be tall, blond, and handsome, but he has a hand scarred from powder burns and a finger callused from pulling the trigger. His eyes are a solid, honest blue, no flecks, no swirls. He has rather girly eyelashes. He wears his uniform even in the Ottoman heat.
- It’s the personal moments that seal the deal.
My crush knew my name. He’d nod to me in the hallway, but the thing that enthralled me completely? When we started racing on our AP History questions. Our History teacher would put up essay questions on the overhead every week, and we’d write them down in our notebooks to take home. Apparently, I was a fast writer. I never really paid attention to that until one time I looked up and saw my crush grinning at me and shaking his hand as he tried to keep up with me. From then on, every time the teacher put up the questions, we would lock eyes and go for it.
One of the first times, Bennett and Mari really connect is when he walks into her rooms and sees the intricate frescoes she’s painted all over her walls. In his astonishment, he compliments her and lets a poetic phrase escape. He immediately backtracks and tries to cover it up, but it’s too late. She’s intrigued and that first crack has been made in her indifference.
So readers, what lessons did you learn from your first crush/love? Once lucky commenter will win a copy of A Secret in Her Kiss! (Open to US residents only. Winner selected randomly. Void where prohibited. Please leave your email address so we can contact the winner.
Blurb for A SECRET IN HER KISS:
A rare beauty, raised in the exotic heart of the Ottoman Empire, Mari Sinclair knows it’s time to end her career as a British spy when she narrowly avoids a brush with death. Unfortunately her employers think otherwise—and they are not above using blackmail to keep Mari in the Game.
Saddled with a handsome, duty-obsessed “minder” to ensure that she completes—and survives—one last mission, Mari is incensed…for her guardian, Major Bennett Prestwood, is simply too dedicated, too unbending, and too disarmingly attractive. But in the face of dark secrets and deadly treacheries, as the true peril to Mari is slowly revealed, loyal soldier Bennett realizes that, to save and win this extraordinary woman, he will have to do the unthinkable and break the rules—rules that passion and desire have suddenly, irrevocably changed.
Anna lives with her family in Southern California. She writes sultry, adventurous Regency romances for Avon. Her debut novel, A Secret In Her Kiss, is set in Constantinople and earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, who called it a “...masterful debut…[that] spins a tale replete with mystery, espionage, and memorable romance.” When she’s not plotting fun, sexy storylines, Anna’s usually eating dark chocolate, having wild dance parties with her kids in the living room, or remodeling her house one ill-planned project at a time. She loves hearing from readers at her website www.AnnaRandol.com or on Twitter at @AnnaRandol!
Thank you Anna for stopping by!!!