It is my absolute pleasure to share today’s guest post written by fellow Arizona author, Ginger Scott. I met Ginger at a recent author convention, Phoenix ARC, and we became quick friends. At the convention, I picked up her book “This is Falling” which sounds fabulous and is next on my to-be-read list. Now that I’ve read her guest post, which I invite you to enjoy below, I am even more anxious to read the series. Ginger’s writing offers “real” characters to Young Adult literature which is not only refreshing from the mundane, cookie-cutter sort of characters often found in books, but also very much needed in a world where teenagers are faced with exploding media filled with faces of unrealistically beautiful and perfect models and actors. My thanks goes out to Ginger Scott for providing today’s guest post. After the article you will find links to the books she mentions as well as her social media links so that you can continue to follow her.
My 2014 Writing Challenge – Shedding Light on Differences and Disabilities
Ginger Scott – New Adult Author of THIS IS FALLING and YOU AND EVERYTHING AFTER
I wrote a hero who can’t walk, and he quickly became my favorite character. Tyson Preeter, the main H in book 2 in my Falling Series (You And Everything After), is a paraplegic. But he is also so much more. He’s a character I have wanted to write for a long time—one that intimidated the hell out of me, and one I feared I wasn’t strong enough to be able to put into words.
Before I get into that, let me back up a little and give you the mini version of my method and the building blocks of my writing. Before I got the courage to share my fiction with the world, I spent years working in journalism, a career that also served as a mighty powerful boot camp when it comes to writing things that are real. I approach my novels with the same sense of reporting and fact gathering as I do my journalism, and writing characters that feel real, say things that seem natural, and sometimes a little ugly, is probably my biggest goal with everything I write.
My first series, Waiting on the Sidelines, was very real. Teen love is painful and sloppy and selfish and full of wrong choices. I wanted to make sure my Waiting series showed a good dose of it all. And when I finished it, I had this amazing feeling of pride for how true it was to the life of a teenager. Capturing that, and giving readers the ugly along with the happily ever after was scary.
Finishing the Waiting series also left me with a hunger to test myself, to see if I could reach for more of those real characters we find in life. This is when Ty’s character first popped into my head. I wasn’t sure where he’d fit, or what he’d be, but I started keeping some notes, started asking questions of a close friend with limited use of his legs and started thinking about the things I really noticed about
him. Perhaps most interesting was the fact that I rarely noticed his disability. Partly because I knew him, but also because of the way he made certain things seem effortless even though when I thought about it, I knew they weren’t.
In the meantime, I challenged myself with a different story—one that shed light on what it means to be different in another way, touching on a cause that is very near and dear to my heart.
I’ve volunteered for an autism organization in Arizona for years. I have family and many close friends who are affected by a diagnosis of this disorder. Telling its story, and telling it accurately, was important to me. I started with what I knew—a meltdown. I’ve been through many, watched them play out for friends and colleagues, and I’ve heard the stories from those I’ve interviewed, stories that years later could still cause tears.
The end result was a book I published in June, HOW WE DEAL WITH GRAVITY. It’s a steamy love story, yes. But it’s also a glimpse into the life of a single parent of a child with autism. I’m tremendously proud of it, and it helped me prove to myself that I could write a story about something delicate.
Ty…he was delicate. This character growing in a notebook of mine needed a home. He needed a brother. And when I got the idea for THIS IS FALLING, I found where he fit. Tyson Preeter is first a side character in the Falling Series book 1. He’s arrogant, obnoxiously charming, witty, older, smart and sexy. Oh, and he can’t walk.
I wasn’t convinced that THIS IS FALLING would be a series until somewhere around the thirty percent mark. And book 2 is entirely Tyson’s fault. I got to explore him in pieces; showing hints of who he was, how he was more than a disability—how he challenged the very idea of being disabled. And then I realized something, I loved this guy he was becoming on the pages, and the fact that he
couldn’t walk…well, that was just something written in his character.
Writing him—a story focused on him—that still scared me. But the more of FALLING that I got under my belt, the more I got inside Ty’s head, the more I wanted to be there. I began to believe that I could do his character justice, and tell the story of someone with a disability in a dignified way.
Oh, it still scared me, but the challenge excited me even more. This is about the time I decided Ty’s love interest, Cass, would have multiple sclerosis. And unlike Ty, she wouldn’t be so bold in the face of her obstacles. She would challenge them, but silently, and her disease would give her pause at times.
This is where I get back to my promise to always write things that feel real. I tapped a good friend who has grown up with the same type of MS Cass has, and I learned about episodes, what causes them, steroid infusions, risk factors, fears and the truth of life with MS as a teenager.
And then I put these two characters together and waited to watch their sparks fly. And fly they did.
I think more than any couple I’ve written, Ty and Cass just fit. They are strength for one another’s weaknesses, and they are a celebration of what it means to be different. They were my biggest creative leap, one I’m so grateful to have made. And one I want to make again.
Tyson Preeter is my favorite character of mine, and he raised the bar—just like the beautiful, sexy, arrogant bastard he is.
** Ginger Scott writes young and new adult romance. She lives in Peoria, Arizona with her husband and son. Her books include Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling and You And Everything After.
She is working on a new standalone YA romance, Wild Reckless, which will release early this spring, as well as the final book in the Falling Series, The Girl I Was Before.
You can find her at http://www.littlemisswrite.com as well as @TheGingerScott on Twitter
and https://www.facebook.com/GingerScottAuthor on Facebook. She loves talking to readers, and feels weird writing about herself as if she isn’t the one writing this bio.