I couldn’t let this blog tour happen without talking about the deep, resonating pain of writing childhood. So let’s get to that!
I’ve been applying myself to the task of writing creatively for about half my life now. In the past five years that I’ve been publishing with Dreamspinner Press I’ve written a whole range of different stories, but I’ve never really ventured into the topic of childhood.
And with good reason. I really hate writing kids.
That’s not to say I don’t like real-life kids—I do. And when I can dip in and out of scenes with children that can be fun too, probably because I can put the child aside at any time and move on to grown up conversations again!
In this novel, I knew I would have to go to the point in time when Evan and Scott first meet and start the friendship that would last their whole lives. I know some people meet those lifelong friends in college, or even later in life, but for this story it was inevitable that I would revisit the summer of1994.
As in the rest of the novel, this section is told from Evan’s point-of-view, so I had to get into the head of a seven year old American boy, which for a thirty year old English woman isn’t that easy. I think I probably did more research for this one section of the book than I did for anything else! I wanted to know what shows the boys would be watching on TV, what games they’d be playing, what was the most popular Christmas gift the year before. Not all of that made it into the story, but all those little tidbits of information helped me find that all-important mindset.
There’s something undeniably special about the bonds of friendship that are formed in childhood. I think it has something to do with knowing that person has seen you change in fundamental ways, and they still like you afterwards. If you can survive puberty, High School, going to college and coming back again, and still love each other? That’s something to hold onto. And something I really wanted to make a central theme of ‘Five Times’.
Here’s a little excerpt of the boys as kids – I hope you enjoy it!
“Mom!” Evan yelled as he ran into the house. “Mom, Mom, Moooooomm!”
“Yes, darling,” she said, appearing from the kitchen with an apron around her waist, floury hands, and an exasperated expression.
Evan skidded to a stop and frowned. “What are you making?”
“You had a question for me?”
“Oh. Yeah. Can I go to Scott’s?”
Evan’s mom turned around and walked back into the kitchen.
He followed her, hoping the floury hands meant she’d been making cookies. On the counter, a pie was cooling. Even better.
“Is that peach pie?” he asked hopefully.
“Evan King,” she admonished. “One thing at a time. Who is Scott?”
“He’s my best friend,” Evan said.
“Uh-huh. Andy was your best friend last week.”
“He’s my second best friend now.”
“Is that so,” she said in a way that wasn’t a question.
Without waiting to be asked, Evan went to the kitchen sink and washed his hands. He’d been playing outside and knew his mom wouldn’t let him have pie unless he washed up.
“Scott has a whole bunch of action figures,” Evan said, drying his hands on his shorts. There wasn’t a towel anywhere he could see. “And he let me play Hulk even though Hulk is his favorite too. He’s got loads of them. Wolverine and Punisher and Iron Man and Spider- Man and Captain America and—”
“Would you like some pie, Evan?”
“Yes, please. Then can I go to Scott’s? His mom said it was okay.”
“Where does Scott live?” she asked as she cut a nice-sized piece of pie—it was peach—and put it in his favorite dish.
“Okay. Where did you meet him? At the playground?”
“Yep.” Evan hopped up onto one of the tall stools in the kitchen so he could eat. “The one I’m allowed to go to. He said I could go home with him and his mom then, but I said I had to ask you first.”
“Good boy,” she said and ruffled his hair. “Tell you what, when you go over to the playground tomorrow, I’ll walk with you and see if Scott’s mom is there. Then we can arrange for you to go over some time.”
Evan nodded, his mouth full of pie. “Okay.”
When you realize you want to marry your best friend at age six, life should follow a pretty predictable path, right? Maybe not.
As a kid, Evan King thought Scott Sparrow was the most amazing person he’d ever met. At seventeen, his crush runs a little deeper, and nothing seems simple anymore. Scott is more interested in football and girls than playing superheroes, and Evan’s attention is focused on getting into art school. A late-night drunken kiss is something to be forgotten, not obsessed over for the next ten years.
When life suddenly brings them back together, it doesn’t take much for the flame Evan carried for Scott nearly all his life to come roaring back, and Evan discovers that life sometimes has a strange way of coming full circle.
Book buy links
Social Media links
Anna Martin Biography
Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the south- west of England and now lives in the slightly arty, slightly quirky city of Bristol. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English Literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.
Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, baking weird and wonderful sweets, learning to play the ukulele, and Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.
Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, pre-reading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.