Thursday, February 13, 2020

Celebrating Bookish Friendships on Galentine's Day: Why I Write Stories Where Female Friendships Are as Important as the Romance

Every single one of my books has some element of friendship in it, but my last four books have had themes of friendship that are arguably as important as the story’s romance. Mistletoe Kiss, Only You, and Maybe You are interconnected standalones featuring a group of friends; it was so much fun to write about Bridget, Ivy, Meredith, Celia, and Piper. When I wrote Mistletoe Kiss, I expected it to be a standalone - a sweet, super fluffy Christmas novella to get people in the holiday spirit. I can’t remember at what point Bridget’s best friend Ivy appeared in my mind, but she kind of took over and became a bigger part of the story than I anticipated. I had countless readers tell me they wanted a best friend like Ivy...and they also wanted more of Ivy.  

And so Only You was born. With this being a full-length novel, I got to play around with the friendships a bit more. You get to see more of Bridget and Ivy, but you also get to experience a budding new friendship between Ivy and Meredith. I worked hard to make the friendships realistic and relatable; Bridget and Ivy were still best friends, but things were changing between them as Bridget became busier with her promotion at work, plus a lot of her free time was spent with her new boyfriend. I’ve gone through this myself and I have many friends who have experienced it too. Even when you’re happy for your friend, it can be hard not to feel like you’re being left behind or even forgotten. I think a lot of people assume that as you get older you’ve finished ‘growing up’, but part of the human experience is dealing with growing pains and learning hard lessons, no matter how old you get. It’s also difficult to make new friends the older you get, as Ivy points out when she meets Meredith. 
One of the weird lessons I’ve learned since my college days is how hard it is to make friends as an adult. Other than Bridget, I haven’t made any close friends in years. Some of that is my own fault, between being an introvert and feeling fulfilled by my close bond with Bridget. The other part of it is trying to find things in others to connect with, especially since a lot of people my age are already married and starting families. Meredith seems different, though. I’m cautiously optimistic I’m in the process of making a new friend. ~ Ivy in Only You

I loved getting to play with friendships both old and new in Only You, as well as the ups and downs, misunderstandings and miscommunications, and the deep love and affection between friends.

I continued exploring friendships in Meredith’s book, Maybe You. She and Ivy became even closer, and she also befriended Bridget and another of Ivy’s friends. There’s also a platonic male-female friendship in Maybe You that I loved writing. I tend to write about ride-or-die female friendships, but I absolutely loved the relationship between Meredith and Hugh. They loved each other deeply and always had each other’s backs. I’d love to see more platonic opposite-sex friendships in books.

And finally, there’s my newest release, Hung Up on You. Julia and Dee became friends in college and have been inseparable since. Neither of them has much family, so they became each other’s family, and I loved exploring that dynamic. 
Getting Dee as a roommate was like winning the lottery; she drives me crazy sometimes and can exasperate me beyond belief, but I love her like a sister and she’s always made me feel like part of her family. ~ Julia in Hung Up on You

Dee knows how to push every last one of Julia’s buttons, and although Julia gets frustrated at times, she knows Dee does everything from a place of love. To be completely honest, Dee is the type of person who would drive me bonkers in real life - overbearing, outspoken, meddlesome - but she sure was fun to write about and I feel like she and Julia made an amazing duo.

There’s so much to explore when it comes to friendships, and I love writing about the different dynamics. I weave in things I’ve observed over the years, as well as my own friendships. This was especially true in Only You which, in a way, was like a love letter to my best friend of thirty years. A lot of our (mis)adventures, conversations, and inside jokes got worked into that book, which is why I dedicated it to her.
“Now I feel weird around him. We cleared the air last night at the bar, but when he dropped me off, we had a…I wouldn’t call it a moment, but close enough.” 
I expect her to ask me to elaborate, but she probably thinks we’re running out of time before Hugh arrives. Instead, she nods and says, “So now you’re all awkward penguin.” 
I scoff. I don’t remember the origin of the term ‘awkward penguin’, but it’s been one of our many inside jokes for years. When I start to like a guy—whether it’s a new attraction or a sudden crush on someone I’ve known for awhile—I have a tendency to become awkward. I try not to let it happen, but I can’t seem to control it. “Doesn’t apply in this case, Bridge. I only go awkward penguin on guys I have a crush on. I don’t even know Hugh.” ~ Ivy and Bridget in Only You

I think it’s safe to say I’ll always include friendships in my books. I love romantic relationships and watching characters falling in love, but there’s nothing quite like friendship. Not everyone has the opportunity to fall in love or experience grand romance like we read about in books, but friendship is something that's more universal, something most people can relate to. It's important to see all kinds of friendships reflected in books - strong ones, casual ones, online ones, forever ones, broken ones.

If you’d like to read about the fictional friends I’ve mentioned, all four of these books are available on Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, and Nook. Only You and Maybe You are currently on sale for just 99 cents each in honour of Galentine’s Day. The price will return to $2.99 on February 19th, so hurry if you want to snag these deals!  

Buy Mistletoe Kiss (99 cents) 
Buy Only You ( currently 99 cents, regularly $2.99) 
Buy Maybe You ( currently 99 cents, regularly $2.99)
Buy Hung Up on You ($2.99)

Who are some of your favourite fictional friend duos or groups?

*Please note I'm an Amazon affiliate, and some of the links in this review are affiliate links. All income made through affiliate sales goes directly back into maintaining Ramblings of a Daydreamer. Thank you for your support!  

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