The first time we do anything it’s almost always a bigger, stronger, more intense experience than the times that follow. That’s why we often feel first times so deeply and remember them so clearly. Which makes it strange, to me, that adults are so often dismissive of first love. Grown-ups sometimes seem to think that when the two people involved are young, their feelings are somehow less powerful. I think the opposite is often true. When you are young, you rarely have the reference points and resources that help you to put emotional highs and lows in any kind of context. Everything is heightened – the joy and the pain – precisely because it is fresh and new.
In my Flynn series, River and Flynn fall deeply in love with each other. This isn’t always an easy experience for either of them. All the books are written from River’s point of view and basically provide a record of her obsession with Flynn – how she learns to live with her strong feelings and their consequences. Falling Fast shows them coming together and gradually learning to understand each other. In Burning Bright, the focus is on Flynn’s anger and the impact on River of his outbursts.
Although I was never in a relationship quite like River and Flynn’s as a teenager, I do remember how intense my emotions often were back then. Everything in both Falling Fast and Burning Bright is imagined, but my own experiences definitely inform the books, as do stories I have heard other adults tell about their teenage love lives.
I have been asked if I would ever write a book – or part of one – from Flynn’s point of view. I’ve also been asked, sometimes reproachfully, why I refer to the books as ‘the Flynn series’. The answer to the first question is ‘no, definitely not’, because the whole point of the stories is to explore River’s experiences. Flynn is always seen entirely from her point of view. Sometimes she sees him clearly; sometimes she imagines things that reveal more about her than Flynn himself. This is also why I refer to the stories as ‘the Flynn series’: they are about her experience of him. About first love - and all its hopes and fears.
Falling Fast and Burning Bright are available to buy now.
You can read my reviews for them here