I never had Valentine’s Day until I was nineteen years old. It’s not due to some glamorous notion my parents had that Valentine’s Day was a “Hallmark Holiday” and chose to buck establishment. The reality was that I grew up in a religion – uhmmm cult — in which all holidays are pagan, therefore evil and (read in a stern, gruff voice) NOT TO BE CELEBRATED. Yes – I was the kid in school who went to the library when the class was celebrating birthdays or singing Christmas songs or exchanging Valentine’s. And no – it didn’t bother me. I never had holidays or birthdays so I didn’t know what I was missing. Most of all, I felt bad for my “misguided” classmates who were “sinning.”
Urrgghh! I cringe just thinking about how judgmental and misguided I was as a kid. I knew deep down that’s not who I wanted to be, it just took me a little while to figure that out for myself. Therein lies a driving force behind my writing. All of my young adult novels feature strong female characters trying to figuring out who they are and finding their place in the world, real or fantasy.
It took awhile for my teenage self to muster the courage to leave un-named religion — but I did. The summer after I turned nineteen I started going out with my first “real” boyfriend. That following February, we celebrated my first Valentine’s Day. I was away at one college and he was at another, so a phone call and a card had to suffice, but I still had a Valentine.
Fast forward to 2013. I’m happily married to my very first Valentine and writing young adult books about kick-ass heroines who fall in love!! Here’s to happily ever after!!