Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as thirty-nine authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Laurie Elizabeth Flynn writes contemporary fiction for young adults. Her debut, Firsts, is out now with Thomas Dunne Books / St Martin’s Press.

Laurie went to school for Journalism, where the most important thing she learned was that she would rather write made-up stories than report the news. She also worked as a model, a job that took her overseas to Tokyo, Athens, and Paris.

Laurie now lives in London, Ontario with her husband Steve, who is very understanding when she would rather spend time with the people in her head. Laurie can mostly be found writing happily at her desk, with the world’s most spoiled Chihuahua on her lap. Laurie drinks way too much coffee, snorts when she laughs, and times herself when she does crossword puzzles.

Laurie is represented by the amazing Kathleen Rushall of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

As a teen, I read voraciously. If you wanted to find me, chances were high that I’d be parked somewhere and not even notice you, because I was fully absorbed in a book. Chances were especially high that you would find me with a well-worn (not kidding, the cover is missing) copy of one book in particular: Gone With The Wind.

I fell in love with Scarlett O’Hara from the first line: “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.” This was a girl who wasn’t perfect and didn’t pretend to be. She wasn’t going to be the annoyingly flawless, demure heroine I was tired of reading in books, the kind of girl who never made mistakes and when bad things happened, it was never her fault. With that girl, bad things happened to her, but never because of her.

Scarlett O’Hara is not that girl.

Scarlett O’Hara isn’t a passive character. She steers her own action and makes plenty of her own giant mistakes. She schemes and dreams and lies and connives – and survives. She’s bold and vain and impetuous, passionate and brave, sometimes cruel and selfish. And as a teenager reading the book, I thought, that’s me.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s not like I was a Southern belle dealing with war and death and sorrow and poverty. I was just a regular teenager, but I was just a regular teenager who got lost in the pages of books, who felt less alone reading characters’ big messes and epic screw-ups. I saw myself in Scarlett because myself was far from perfect, and myself wasn’t even consistent most of the time. Some days, I felt unconquerable, invincible. Some days, I felt pretty. But a lot of days, I felt shy and lost and confused and so uncomfortable in my skin. I tried hard not to let anybody see that side of me. Not the bullies at school or people who thought I was weird and talked behind my back. Confidence was a perpetual struggle.

But in reading Gone With The Wind, I learned the art of channeling my inner Scarlett. I pictured the scene where she has to show up at Melanie’s surprise party for Ashley — Melanie’s husband and the man Scarlett pined after for years and was caught embracing. Most wouldn’t have had the nerve to show up, but when Scarlett wasn’t given a choice, she not only showed up, but showed up in style. She owned it and didn’t let anybody know she was scared of what people would say or do to her.

I still channel my inner Scarlett when I’m not feeling confident. And of all the books I’ve read, Gone With The Wind has probably inspired my writing the most. I want to create characters like Scarlett, girls who are flawed and real and a mess of emotions. Girls who sometimes shove the messes they make under the rug and proclaim that tomorrow is another day. Girls who don’t always get a neat, tidy, happy ending.

(Fun fact: In Firsts, Mercedes has green eyes, just like Scarlett O’Hara. That was not a coincidence!)

Title Firsts
Author Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Pages 320 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Published January 5th, 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time – the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy – so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn – or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, Firsts is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

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Hi! I’m Jen! I’m a thirty-something introvert who loves nothing more than the cozy comfort of home and snuggling my two rescue cats, Pepper and Pancakes. I also enjoy running, jigsaw puzzles, baking and everything Disney. Few things bring me more joy than helping a reader find the right book for them!