Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Guest post from author Elana Johnson

Join me as I welcome Elana Johnson, author of Possession and its sequel, Surrender! Elana has a guest post on relationships (and just maybe a giveaway, too!)--enjoy!

Relationships in YA—they don’t all have to be romantic! How I crafted the best friends Cannon and Raine in SURRENDER
A guest post by Elana Johnson

Okay, so it’s no secret that I like a little kissing in books. All books. If there’s no kissing, I want there to at least be the kindling of a flame. The hint of future kissing. Ha!
But, I will say that not every relationship needs to be romantic. Because how unrealistic would that be? 
I’ll admit that non-romantic relationships are hard for me to write. They take much more control, and careful planning, and a whole heckuva lot of backstory that probably won’t even make it into the novel. Enough history has to be established, but not too much.
So when I was working on SURRENDER, I needed to insert bits of history, years worth of best friend relationship between Raine Hightower and her match, Cannon Lichen, without bogging the reader down too much. 
This can be a tricksy thing to do. I think one of the keys is to make their relationship feel like home. For Raine, the narrating character in SURRENDER, Cannon is the only person in the world to soothe her fears. He’s the only one who knows her secrets. He’s the one who’s always been there.
A platonic, best friend relationship that isn’t going to develop into something else has to feel authentic. Moments have to be inserted in the right places. Sometimes words have to go unsaid, because after all, these people have been friends for a long time. They know each other well enough to know when to speak and when not to. 
So crafting a best friend relationship has to mostly happen off the page, inside the author’s own head. They have to know a lot more about the relationship than the reader sees on the page. Otherwise, it can come off feeling shallow and cheap, and we don’t want to read books like that.
What books have you read with perfectly developed best friends? One of my favorite examples is Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. I also loved the relationship between a girl and boy best friends in Tera Elan McVoy’s BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS, a fabulous YA contemporary novel. 
Share some of your favorites!
This week’s giveaway has everything to do with characters. Participate in any of the blog discussions this week and you could win one of three books with complex characters I loved. VARIANT by Rob Wells. THE LIMIT by Kristen Landon. THE DROWNED CITIES by Paolo Bacigalupi. All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter widget below for a chance to win.

Thanks for stopping by, Elana! For more information about Elana or her books, please check out these links:

Enjoy your reading!


  1. I LOVED the friendship between Raine and Cannon, it was one of my favorite parts of "Surrender". I think it's really hard to do the boy-girl best friendship without readers immediately assuming there's more to it, but Elana absolutely pulled it off.

    I love the Harry and Ron and Harry and Hermione friendship so much. I think JK Rowling also did an excellent job of showcasing to boy-girl best friend possibility.

    -Sarah @ Breaking the Binding

  2. I agree with you about needing to have at least some kissing in a book for me to really enjoy it, but the friendships are important too and I think you did a great job with Cannon and Raine.

  3. I'm a huge fan of making kissing and relationships happen in books. Of course, you stole my favorite friendship, Ron and Harry, though I do think all of the friendships in Harry Potter are perfectly crafted.

    ~Gina Blechman

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  5. I like the relationship between Clary and Jacee. And Hermoine and Harry. I always think kissing is good in books. :)

  6. I loved Harry and Hermione in the Harry Potter series. Although I still wish they would've ended up together!

  7. I'm reading the Blackout by Mira Grant which is the third in a trilogy. The relationship between the two main characters, Shaun and Georgia Mason is just incredible. One of my favorites of all time.


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