Read Around the Rainbow: Story Characters as Teenagers at High School

What a happy coincidence that this month’s Read Around the Rainbow topic, suggested by the lovely Addison Albright, was the perfect fit for some of the characters in a couple of my upcoming stories.

Of course, since I write MM Historical Romance, high school (as we know it) wasn’t invented in the periods where my stories are set, but coming of age during teenage years is a similar experience in any era.

In my June Hugs and Kisses story for JMS Books, Luke and Jem, my main characters and central couple, are inseparable life-long companions who have grown up together in rural seventeenth-century Oxfordshire and shared their schooldays supervised by a strict schoolmaster. Outside the classroom, fearless Jem has always been the leader in all their boyhood adventures, but struggling with what we would now call dyslexia, he doesn’t excel at his studies.

On the other hand, Luke is a keen student with a passion for learning, especially literature, an interest he shares with their teacher. Luke covers for Jem in class, giving him his work to painstakingly copy out while the schoolmaster’s back is turned, to spare Jem from inevitable punishment.

The experience of their schooldays reflects how these two relate to each other. They are opposites in so many ways but fit together as a unit, their differing qualities complementing the other. Of course, growing up is not always easy, especially when friendship deepens to first love. As these two mature beyond their school years, with geographical distance and differing experiences, cracks appear to threaten their lifelong bond, which is where my story begins.

It was also fun to imagine the schooldays of Jo and Ben from my July story Twelve Letters for JMS Books’ Twelfth Anniversary submission call. In this London set Regency romance, these two are not a couple but have been friends since school and now in adult life, they have each other’s interests at heart.

In my story, easygoing Jo tries to persuade irascible Ben that he would be better off romancing rather than attempting to kill young Edward Stephens in a duel, whereas Ben is scathing of Jo’s choice of the spoiled and pampered Percy Havilland, an initial love interest before Jo comes to his senses.

In my mind’s eye, I can see the two of them at boarding school, even meeting on the first day, with outspoken, no-nonsense Ben drawn to Jo’s easy-going tolerance, and vice versa. I can imagine them becoming firm friends as they go through school, with Ben squaring up to anyone taking advantage of  Jo’s good nature. At the same time, Jo’s more diplomatic approach to life would help pugnacious Ben avoid getting into frequent fisticuffs or even expelled!

It’s been such fun to think of these four at school, and I’m so looking forward to reading about everyone else’s characters and their high school experiences.

My post will be linked on the last Friday of every month with posts from fellow blog ring members. There are a few other writers blogging in the Read Around the Rainbow Webring this month… find their posts about their characters during their high school days!

Nell Iris, Addison Albright, A.L. Lester and Kristin Noone.

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