Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Guest: Emma Holly

Please welcome the ever-so-lovely Emma Holly to the convertible today!

Life, Liberty, and the Need to Rebel

So I’m at a conference, my author persona on, chit-chatting with someone I don’t know, and the topic of “toxic moms” comes up - in this case, those Stepford-like, uptight creatures who disapprove of other mothers keeping sexy books in the house.

“And their children are little monsters,” this presumably nontoxic mom says.

Not being the most social animal in the world, and having a tad more adrenaline pumping through me than usual, what pops out of my mouth might not be the most thought-out response I could have come up with.

“Oh, that’s what kids do,” I say. “Whatever their parents are, they want to be the opposite.”

A startled look comes over Nontoxic Mom’s face.

“Not so much in our house,” she retorts stiffly.

Oops, I think, laughing privately to myself, because how do you know? How can you be sure your kids aren’t doing, thinking, or feeling the exact opposite of what you personally approve of? The need to feel free is very basic to human nature, and what better way for a young person to assert that freedom than to be different from the people who have authority over them? People don’t tell jokes about preacher’s daughters duct-taping their knees together, they tell jokes about the opposite. Likewise, I’m sure there are plenty of flower-power, Free Love proponents whose offspring have become staunch conservatives.

We want to be individuals. We need to rebel, if only in the privacy of our heads.

You can probably tell from my lack of horror at this concept that I don’t have kids.

In any case, I understand the rebel point of view, so much so that I might have identified a bit too much with the villains of Kissing Midnight, my recent June 2 release. Vampires Frank and Li-Hua are like adolescents with no sense of their own mortality AND superhuman powers. Their (to them) toxic mom has been keeping them on too tight a rein, and now they’ve banded together to act out in the biggest possible way. To their way of thinking, why should the older generation have everything their way? The world is young, and so are Frank and Li-Hua. They want a chance to be in charge.

So they try to get one, and I so got why, even as I planned their eventual tragic demise. (That’s not really a spoiler, is it? This trilogy is a romance.) My authorial love of drama enjoyed conceiving of the worst way to take them down, but inside I was a little sad. Frank and Li-Hua are my favorite of my villains to date: larger than life and chock-a-block full of crazy kick-ass passion. As awful as they were to my heroes, and as much as I adore the Fitz Clares, I shed a tear for my doomed rebels.

Now here’s my question for you: What’s your favorite rebellion against authority? Is it big or small? Private or public? Do you feel like a kid again when you indulge? You can tell me. I promise not to tattle to your folks!



Playground Monitor said...

Me? Rebel against authority? Surely you jest! I'm too scared of the consequences. I'm 58 years old and got my very first speeding ticket 3 months ago. My first ticket of any kind. I went to driving school to keep the ticket off my insurance, and when they told me I had to show up for class at 5:20 PM or risk being locked out, I showed up at 5:00 just to be safe. Does that sound like someone who rebels?

But if it makes you feel better, I married a preacher's kid and he's rebelled enough for the both of us. ::grin:: He and a friend got caught swimming in the baptistry after church one Sunday. And another time they loosened the caps on the bottles of homemade grape juice one of the parishioners had made for communion. It went hard, and he and his buddy sat in the balcony and watched people's expressions on communion Sunday.

I think my favorite act of rebellion by someone else was Madelyn Murray O'Hair's son converting to Christianity and publicly repudiating his mother who in turn turned her back on him and said he was beyond human forgiveness. It was so bold and public and just out there. I have to give him an "atta boy" for that move.


Betina Krahn said...

Hey, Emma! (Holly!) Welcome back to the convertible!

Marilyn, I'm with you, babe. I've been pretty much a conformist through the first five decades of my life. (Which probably accounts for my unsettling lifestyle choices in recent years!) Some of that is my personality, some of it was really sneaky parenting by my mom and dad. They were wise enough not to come down hard on me; they set high standards and then let me torture myself to meet them! lol!

My biggest rebellion was to choose a "party school" for college and then focus on everything but academics while there. My grades were NOT what the folks expected, but they didn't carp or threaten. I graduated in three years and went into harness as a productive member of society. I learned valuable lessons about myself during that period-- so it worked out for the good.

The hubs and I considered ourselves open-minded and compassionate. . . so our eldest(who avoided teenage drinking, smoking, drugs, and sex--which should have made him the perfect kid, right?) became a major conservative reactionary. An early Rush Limbaugh devotee, he drove us crazy from 15 5o 18 with his right-wing ravings. Did I mention he was a debater in high school? Where did we go wrong?

I blame the sitcom with Michael J Fox as Alex P Keaton. We watched it and laughed. . . until our son turned into him-- tie briefcase and all!

Aghhh. The horror! He repudiated our cherished values in favor of hardline conservative hogwash. We were stunned and hurt. If only he'd have a few beers with the rest of the football team, we thought.

But now that he's 30+ and the father of three-and-one-on-the-way, he's mellowed quite a bit. He's a devoted dad and a hard worker and values education and compassion and public service. He's still a Republican (lol) but he's also loving and thoughtful. I'm thinking that maybe we didn't do such a bad job after all!

Kids do need to rebel. Otherwise it would kill them to leave us. And us to let them go!

Helen Brenna said...

Hi, Emma! Welcome. Good to see you here!

Speeding. I know it's not much, but I'm pretty much a conformist myself.

In reading your post, my brain inserted "heroes" in place of "villains" for Frank and Li-Hau. So as I'm reading "tragic demise" I'm going, "She's killed off her heroes? What!?!? Shows you what kind of heroes I like, huh? I would've shed a tear or two as well, Emma.

Are all 3 books available now?

Emma Holly said...

Playground Monitor - It's clear to me that your act of rebellion was marrying that bad boy! LOL and congrats!

Hey, Betina! Long time, no see! I love your story about your son, but it sounds like he picked up the important stuff you had to teach him. It's funny you say you're a comformist, because I wouldn't think of you that way. An Original, more like. Very distinct in people's minds - and in a good way!

Emma Holly said...

No, no, speeding is good, Helen. (I mean, as far as a rebellion goes, cuz that's rebellion against The Man!)

No heroes were killed off in the making of Kissing Midnight. That would have been really rebellious of me! Not saying I'll never do it though. I think I'd enjoy figuring out a way to bring them back!

Kissing Midnight is out now, Breaking and Saving will pop up in July and Auguest.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Hi, Emma! Welcome to the convertible!

Well, surprise, surprise--I've always been the straight man, the prude, the good girl in the family. But then (40 years ago June 8) I met Clyde. Yep, laid eyes on the alpha male and Cupid zinged me. My parents were flummoxed. When I rebelled, it was big.

I'm still the straight man, the prude, the good girl in the family. But my cowboy has certainly made life interesting.

Congrats on Midnight times 3!

Michele Hauf said...

Every time I write a book I feel like I'm rebelling because I still remember when my mom threw my first attempt at a story away when I was a teenager. :-)

Glad to have you here, Emma! The covers rock! And so does Kissing Midnight! Can't wait to keep reading the rest of them.

Christie Ridgway said...

Hi, Emma! Thanks for joining us. I reviewed Kissing Midnight for my BookPage column and you can read it here:

My 2 rebellions: The first at 17 and my friends and I were caught before the night was out. I was the dumb one who called her parents from the police station to spring us, not realizing that if someone else had made the call =my= parents never would have known!

Second: My career as a romance writer. My accountants-and-teachers family find that almost on par with being a lead singer for rock band.

Debra Dixon said...

Hey, Emma!! One of my fav authors. Glad to have you back in the 'vertible.

My big rebellion was getting engaged very very young. At 17 1/2. My parents were not happy. I couldn't wear the ring until I was 18.

Still married to the same guy.

I like to think I don't rebel so much as ignore the stupid things in life and go my own way.

Of course my standard response to being told I can't do something is, "Hide and watch."

The trilogy looks great! Looking forward to reading it. I'm slow these days, but I'm off to dump more books in my shopping cart and "save for later." I find I have to do that or I forget what I desperately want. (I tend to want a lot. ::sigh::)

lois greiman said...

Hey Holly, welcome! So good to have you here.

I'm still waiting to rebel. Maybe tomorrow.

Cindy Gerard said...

Hi Holly and welcome.
Geez. We're all a bunch of straight laced good girls here, aren't we. and yet - not one among the riders is boring.
My rebellion? Hum. I wear red toenail polish. does that count??
I think I need to go out and do something drastic.

Emma Holly said...

Hi Kathleen! This might surprise you *g*, but I don't think you are a prude. I mean, it's relative, isn't it? You've got that cowboy, and your books. There is some cayenne in there! Plus, sometimes rebellion is simply showing love where others would disapprove. I'd say that thread runs through most everything you do.

Michele - Aww. I'd hug you if you liked that sort of thing *g*. You are definitely a rebel writer, and not just cuz of your mom. I think it's in your bones. And I'm glad you liked KM!

Hi Christie! Thanks for the review. Hm. Lead singer for a rock band. Am I supposed to think that's a bad thing? LOL.

Debra - Engaged at 17 1/2? Still married to the same guy? Sounds like a romance to me! I'm more of a quiet rebel, too. Tell me I can't do something? I start thinking about how I can.

Lois - Doesn't being insanely - yet admirably - stubborn count as rebelling? Love the new title and cover!

Liza said...

If speeding counts, then I'm a rebel. My family feels that I'm a rebel because I vote differently than all of them, but I just feel that it's my right as an American citizen.

I saw Kissing Midnight in B&N the other night, but couldn't figure out if it was the first in the series. Will be back at B&N this weekend to pick it up. From all I've read it sounds wonderful.

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

My biggest rebellion....against anyone and anything that tells me I can' pushes me that much harder.

Dottie :)

Kathleen Eagle said...

Emma, what a quotable quote--Rebellion is showing love where others would disapprove. I like that.

Emma Holly said...

Cindy - maybe you just need red toenail polish with rhinestones . . .

Yup, Liza, Kissing Midnight is the first book in the trilogy. Hope you enjoy it!

I'm with you, Dottie!

Kathleen - Grandpa always said I could write for Hallmark :-)

flchen1 said...

Hmm... my favorite rebellion is a bit embarrassing--I really do like driving fast (not that I do it anymore--it's not something I indulge while driving a mini-van full of kids...) *sigh* Secret dreams of being Danica Patrick? ;)

And uh, no, I don't really feel much like a kid, generally because I usually end up with a speeding ticket. Bleh!

I've switched to sometimes eating dessert first. My kids sometimes protest when I do this (since I don't usually let them indulge)--I figure they can have their own way when they're grownups, too! Mean mommy!

catslady said...

My parents were more on the controlling side so I did everything I was told to do but I always gave my opinion about everything - be it politics, sex or religion - still drives them cracy because they don't think anything like that should be discussed lol.

Caffey said...

Hi Emma! LOL on the kids. No matter their age, as they are young adults now, there's still that rebellion. Its what makes them want to challenge us! I know I had to when I had to wait til I was 16 to have my ears pierced and they had to be done by a doctor. Then I turn around and kept telling my own daughter she was too young to have them done when I did the same thing!! I think my rebellion is cheerios. See I got to have them daily! I remember being at a doc's appt and my hubby was filling out my forms with me and he adds to the meds area 'Cheerios' and it says how many a day and he puts down 'too many' and I tell him don't start with me about that or I'll start with you about...and we are laughing hysterically and he too ended up leaving that on the form! I'm still wondering if the doctor caught that yet, LOL

Emma Holly said...

Yes, you are a mean mommy, flchen, but such things build character :-)

Hey, catslady, sometimes you gotta speak your mind!

Caffey - Cheerios, huh? That's a first!

Thanks, everyone, for chatting. This was fun!

Michele - Will you pick a winner and let me know who it was?