Semi-Rambling Answers

(Warning: This post is a bit spoilery if you haven't read Between the Lines.)

I'd like to answer three questions from readers about Between the Lines.

One: Why Reid's POV?

My first draft of Between the Lines was Emma's POV only. This caused Reid's motivations to remain unclear throughout most of the book. I couldn't convey them to the reader through Emma's eyes, because he was very good at hiding his true self. Accordingly, the reality of him was a huge shock and seemed forced or tacked on when it was anything but.

At some point, I knew that what Emma thought she knew about Reid needed to be balanced with actual Reid. I had to let the reader into his head. And once I let him loose to think out loud, boy did he.

When I saw actor Alex Pettyfer in commercials for I Am Number Four and Beastly a couple of months ago, I was shocked at how much he looked like the Reid I'd pictured in my mind's eye while writing him. Then I saw him on Ellen and thought he seemed kind of sweet.

And then I read an interview with him that included a conversation about some of his tattoos, one of which is located just above his crotch and says, "Thank you." When asked why he chose that particular phrase, he allegedly smirked and said:  "Well, I forget to say it sometimes." Oh, dude. Really?

I had to laugh, because I hadn't expected him to actually be Reid. (Though I like to think Reid would be smart enough not to give that explanation to a reporter.) I also felt vindicated. Are young, hot Hollywood celebrities as arrogant and sexually corrupt as I'd shown Reid to be? Yeah, some are. Unapologetically so.

Two: But why not Graham's POV instead?

What did you believe about Graham as you read? What did you think he might be feeling? What did you worry he was doing or hiding? Or doing and hiding?

If I'd let readers into Graham's head, all his behind-the-scenes goings-on would have been revealed early on. It felt imperative to keep his secrets and let the reader learn them along with Emma, so I never once seriously considered writing Graham's POV.

Three: Why all the cursing and drinking and sexual escapades in a YA book?

As I sat eating lunch near a group of gangly boys in the university food court a couple of years ago, I thought my hair would catch on fire from some of the subjects they discussed and they way they discussed them. The talk about drinking and partying was typical and the language was atrocious (nothing I've written has come near it), but these were nothing compared to their objectifying analysis of the opposite gender. I would have loved to have recorded that conversation so I could show it to every girl who ever attends Freshman Orientation.