Neely’s family trip to Mexico started out as one last hurrah before college. She’s determined to make this her trip, in spite of the fact that her parent’s are celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary, and that her sister is back from college. But her trip turns into love at first sight with a young man who is attracted to Neely’s old-fashioned sentimentalism and love for the disadvantaged people of his country. Another guy, desperate for her attention, stalks her. At first it seems innocent, but his stunts become more serious, even dangerous at times. The worst incident changes her fear into courage, and she is forced to take action. Now that Neely has had the trip of her life, she must leave the beautiful beaches of Mexico, a guy she’ll never forget, and impoverished people that she’s determined to help. How can she leave this all behind?
Beth will be our guest blogger next week so I thought it would be fun to get to know her and find out about her fabulous new book at the same time. Welcome, Beth!The setting of your book sounds fascinating. Have you been to Mexico?
The idea for Love at First Flight came about after I took two trips to Mexico. One to a resort and the other a mission trip. The contrast of the two made me pause. I took in the way my teenage daughter dealt with the two different situations and the story just unfolded. And for us adults it's looking back on those days of first loves. This story brings up all those memories for us again. It's a great read, with laughter, coming of age, and the romantic setting of Mexico.Tell us about Neely, your heroine.
The character arc for Neely is drastic by the end of the story. She starts out as a spoiled teenager on a vacation at a luxury resort, expecting a week of pampering. What she doesn't expect is love at first sight with a local young man who shows her the struggles of the impoverished people there. She thinks of this trip as one last hurrah before college and she is determined to make this her trip, in spite of the fact that her parent’s are celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary, and that her sister is back from college. But her trip turns into much more when she meets Angelo, a dancer at the resort who shows her the third world area of his country. Through this experience Neely looks beyond herself and closer to the needy people living in Mexico, and of course, ends up with Angelo.Sounds romantic! Why do you write YA?
What inspires you? Where do you get your story ideas?
Looking back on those days of first loves and the possibilities that the attraction promises is the reason I write YA. And this story stirs up all those feelings in just the right way. I loved capturing Neely's youth--that age where she's just about to step into adulthood. She's a great character--and Angelo is scrumptious too!
Teens that have read the book say they liked this story because it was really interesting and put them in Mexico and that it was like they were watching the characters and walking with them. I was able to describe the location well after visiting both a city dump in Juarez and a resort in Playa-Del-Carmen. Making Angelo a perfect guy, so respectful of Neely and protecting her gets to teens girls every time and sets a good standard that they should have for the guys they date.
Love at First Flight is like a perfect summer vacation, full of sun, surf, and a sweet romance. Who doesn’t dream of going on a trip to an exotic location and finding love? Neely is a likable and engaging narrator, and girls will enjoy tagging along in her
suitcase for this fantasy trip to Mexico, which is touched with just enough realism to make the happy ending quite satisfying.
I didn't start writing until 2003, and I was never one of those kids who hid under the covers at night to read after bedtime, or started writing my first novel at age five! No, I began writing articles for inspirational magazines because I thought I had something to say and wanted to share with others. An author friend of mine read my articles and encouraged me to write a book. That book was, Love at First Flight, yep, my very first manuscript. Then came the memories of my social work years and, A Case of the Heart, was created, and I've written 7 more. For me, writing is all about life experiences on steroids. Each situation, conversation or feeling is heightened to give everyday situations a fun, new kick:)What kind of books did you like to read when you were Neely's age?
I was a Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys fan. That dates me a little but those stories are ageless, so I can get away with it.
Any fabulous adventures (like Neely's) the summer after you graduated from high school?
Actually my spunky grandmother took me and my favorite cousin to San Francisco for a week. It was great fun going to China Town to eat, plays downtown and spending our days on the beach. It was a graduation present I'll never forget:)
Thanks for chatting with me, Beth! I'm looking forward to your posts next week!