Relationships are fragile, fickle things. They can start like rose petals softly falling to earth, then end like the blast from a live grenade — or vice versa. Perception is everything, when it comes to the life and death of that dangerous thing called love.
That explosive quality is what inspired Girl Meets Boy, a collection of short stories by eleven of the best know writers in YA, and me.
Spark for this creative endeavor came when my eldest daughter broke up with her volatile boyfriend for the first (but not the last) time more than seven years ago. She worked at a bookstore and agreed to watch a movie with her friend and fellow employee after work. Unhappy with her choice, my daughter’s boyfriend kicked down the door and accused her of being “a whore.” She went to watch a video. He came to break up a tryst.
I tried to mediate the misunderstanding, I could not budge either camp. In time, their story ended, as was best, but it got me thinking. How can two people see the very same moment so differently?
I invited eleven other writers to consider that question with me, in short story pairs. The only direction I gave them — and this was long before we had a publisher — was to write two different views of the same chain of events, one from a female point of view and the other from the male point of view, and to tell any story they’d always wanted to tell, unbound — no holds barred.
Cynthia Leitich Smith and Joseph Bruchac, Ellen Wittlinger and James Howe, Terry Trueman and Rita Williams-Garcia, Sara Ryan and Randy Powell, Terry Davis and Rebecca Fjelland Davis joined me and Chris Crutcher to create six powerful scenarios, from he-said, she-said points of view.
Girl Meets Boy was born.
The first draft was finished on spec — no editor or payment in sight. Twice, we came close — prominent editors at big league houses were eager to publish the book — but both times, the contracts were revoked due to a change in publishing leadership. I never lost faith in the project, but I had to take a break to lick the wounds disappointment.
Then I met agent Jill Corcoran when we both spoke at the same SCBWI regional conference. As we sat at the airport, she asked me what I had ready to sell, and I mentioned this anthology. I emailed it to her when my plane landed, and she had it out to a whole list of editors almost immediately.
Chronicle Books fell in love with the project, and finally brought it to life.
Every author in the book crafted original, deeply moving stories of people aching to be seen and loved for exactly who they were. Chronicle recognized the tender thread of truth that tied the stories together. It was the same golden threat that kept me from giving up on the stories, all along. Now that it’s hit bookstore shelves, I’m really glad I didn’t.
Enter to win a copy of Girl Meets Boy, edited by Kelly Milner Halls (Chronicle, 2012) signed by all of the contributing authors! To enter, comment on this post and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. Or email Cynthia directly with “Girl Meets Boy” in the subject line. Publisher sponsored. Eligibility: North America. Deadline: midnight CST Feb. 14.
Don’t miss the Girl Meets Boy discussion guide from Chronicle Books.
- Jan. 30 Chronicle Books
- Jan. 30 The Story Siren
- Jan. 31 Actin’ Up With Books
- Feb. 1 Stiletto Storytime
- Feb. 2 The Book Cellar
- Feb. 3 Page Turner’s Blog
- Feb. 4 Mother Daughter Book Club
- Feb. 5 Flamingnet Teen Book Review
- Feb. 6 A Life Bound By Books
- Feb. 7 I Just Want to Sit Here and Read
- Feb. 8 Addicted to Novels
- Feb. 9 Cynsations
- Feb. 10 The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection
- Feb. 11 365 Days of Reading
- Feb. 12 Shooting Stars Mag
- Feb. 13 Beth Fish Reads
- Feb. 14 Chronicle Books