I didn’t start out to write about bullying specifically, but I did want to write something that used analogies to show ways to deal with emotions and issues in a teenager’s life. As well as having a teenage daughter, I’m a casual (substitute) teacher in a local high school and I see the kinds of emotional stuff that kids have to deal with on a day to day basis. Often they have no skills to help them negotiate their minefield of emotions, and they suffer a lot more than they need to. All they need are a few tricks to help them see things in perspective and their issues become a lot easier to handle. I’ve used the analogies in the book (eg seeing your life as a movie) very successfully with teens, so I wanted to share them with a wider number of people.
Initially, I planned to write a series of short stories about the same people, but as soon as I took my main character into a school setting, a bully appeared and shoved a fat boy against the wall. Carly, the female lead, decided she had to do something to stop it, but when she stepped in, the bully turned on her. He kept coming back in the following stories and so bullying became the thread that eventually turned the stories into a novella.
I guess the theme came out because I’m very aware that it’s one of the main issues that face kids today. It affects everyone, either as the one doing the bullying, the one being bullied or as a bystander. I can’t stand seeing people being cruel to others, so if there is anything I can do to stop it, I will. I hope this book will encourage bystanders to do their best to stop bullying whenever they see it and also to give both victims and bullies a way to handle the situation in a positive way.
The book follows Carly and her boyfriend’s struggle to deal with a bully, and her triumph shows not only kids but also adults a way that they too can triumph in a similar situation. Although it’s fiction with a magical touch, it offers real solutions to a real problem. It’s the emotional intelligence approach to life—Emotional Intelligence was a term first used by Daniel Goldman in his book of the same name—and I wanted to write a story that showed people actually using this approach because it makes for happier, healthier and emotionally intelligent people.
These ideas are not only for teens; they’re for everyone, because even adults have to deal with bullies, maybe a boss, a spouse, a coach and so on. I wrote about it because it’s something that impacts negatively on a lot of lives and people are looking for solutions.