I’m so excited to be back at Writerspace today to celebrate the release of my Young Adult debut, CAMP BOYFRIEND. This is a project I penned with my super sister-in-law, Karen, and we took a joint pen name as J.K. Rock, which is pretty darn close to each of our real names anyhow.
If you haven’t read a Young Adult book lately, I can tell you that it’s fun to put yourself back in those teenage shoes again. We’ve all been there—those months and years of your life when you feel like NO ONE gets it. The teen experience feels so isolating, yet looking back, we can see how universal the feeling of isolation really was. Prom queen or chess champ—each of us felt misunderstood for some reason or another. That’s what makes YA fiction so relatable no matter how old you are when you read it. Pick up a YA, and I guarantee you will relate!
Anyway, I’m really drawn to YA fiction and was excited to work with Karen on a book. When we tossed around ideas for plots and settings, I really wanted to do a “summer” story. As a teen, summer is a time of great change. You go on vacations or take summer jobs and get out of the ordinary routine. Summer can take us away from our everyday peer groups and teach us something. In debating possible summer ideas, someone mentioned “camp.” Then someone mentioned boys and summer relationships. Then- and I distinctly remember this someone was Karen- the name “Camp Boyfriend” came up.
Immediately, we wanted to write that story. When we shared the idea for the book, or even just the title with friends, people would smile and say… “I had a camp boyfriend.” Or at very least, they would say that summer camp sounded fun. It’s a world we really wanted to bring alive.
For those of you who’ve never been, summer camp for teens involves new friends and new friend drama. There are hikes and volleyball tournaments, campfire songs and marshmallows. There is bug juice and gorp, s’mores and breakfast cereal in tiny boxes you can turn into a bowl (though we don’t recommend it). Summer camp means friendship bracelets and matching t-shirts, cut-offs and mosquito bites. But most of all, summer camp changes you.
Time is more intense at camp. Friendships are made quickly when you’re hauling a buddy through the water for a water rescue drill or if you have to rely on others to catch you on a challenging ropes course. Long days spent together forces the need for good conflict resolution. It’s tough to hold a grudge when you share a set of bunks. Camp is about trust and friendship and fun. And sometimes… when you’re a teen… it means romance.
We hope you’ll give Camp Boyfriend a try this summer and enjoy a trip back to those teenage years that are drama filled and so memorable. We’d like to invite you on the Camping Out Blog Tour where you can win lots of prizes (see here for stops and dates) and we encourage you to check out some of the amazing prize packages we have available on contests going on at Pinterest (Camp Crushes Countdown – re-pin your favorite guy) and Tumblr (reblog the contest to win). Happy Camping!