On writing a 21 year old character ...

... and why it's okay that she makes stupid mistakes

As y'all know, I'm working on the final edits for Ruck Me, but it's taking me a bit longer than I had anticipated. You see, it's really hard to write a 21 and 22 year old who are dealing with some pretty emotional situations associated with first love and I'm having to re-work a lot of their reactions and emotions. The problem was I wrote these scenes as if they were reasonable, experienced adults ... and let's be real for a second, there is nothing reasonable or experienced about a person in love for the first time.

Now, as I read through these changes, I find myself shaking my head and thinking they're complete eejits. But the thing is, they're *supposed* to be.

As a 39-year-old woman, I have the gift of experience and wisdom to look at these situations and see how stupid they're behaving. But if I was the 21-year-old me? I'd probably do a lot of the same things Aoife has done in this story because girls that age are *not* rational people. I remember the only time my husband and I ever almost broke up: it was the hottest day of the summer and my apartment didn't have air conditioning. I was miserable, while across town at his apartment so was he. Deciding to do something about it, he and his roommate went to Eat-n-Park so they'd be in air conditioning. Without me. I lost my shit, y'all. Complete and utterly lost it.

Then, another time during that same period, he was back in California visiting his family over the 4th of July. I'd been hanging out at his fraternity house drinking with all of our friends, and got the "brilliant" idea to walk - barefoot - back to my apartment, clear across town. The second I got in, I picked up the phone and called his parents house - while I was completely drunk out of my head in the middle of the afternoon. Stupid, stupid, stupid ... but I missed him and wanted to hear his voice.

And of course there was the time he turned 21 and even though I knew he hated surprises, I decided to throw him a surprise party. Why I did that, I have no clue. I'd told him all week I was taking him to sushi. You should have seen his face when he walked into my house and saw everyone there. And I got mad at his reaction, even though I knew he hated surprises.

Because I was 20 and stupid and that's the sort of reaction a stupid, hurt 20 year old girl has.

So I'm trying to remember that as I edit this manuscript, recall those emotions and those highs and lows and how I thought it was all a great idea at the time. I hope when you're reading Eoin and Aoife's story you remember how young they are, and how inexperienced they really are and why they might be making the stupid, selfish decisions they do.