Romancing YA - Leslie Connor

by 1:00 PM 6 comments
Welcome to Romancing YA!

Big massive humongous shoutout to Hannah Reads Books for helping me organise such an amazing event! Unfortunately she is having blog problems and couldn't be a part!

Our next stop for the Romancing YA event, on this blog, is Leslie Connor!

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Romancing YA Valentine’s Day

There is a game I play with my characters while I’m getting to know them. It goes like this: I think up a scenario—an everyday thing—and imagine how each character experiences it. I let the words roll out. I end up with mini-sketches of my characters that reveal who they are at heart.
In my upcoming title The Things You Kiss Goodbye (HarperCollins/Tegen Books, Summer, 2014), Bettina Vasilis is navigating two relationships. One is abusive. The other is forbidden. Here are three scenarios and reactions from Bettina, her high school boyfriend Brady, and the older guy she calls Cowboy. See what you think, then try it yourself with characters you know—from fiction or from real life. Be creative. Be poetic. Most of all have a Happy Valentine’s Day.

~A starry night.
Bettina: She cannot take her eyes off that sky. She knows that only the Van Goghs of this world can ever do that justice. Still, she wants to fill a tray of blue watercolors and dip a pen in white ink. Just to give it a try.
Brady: He doesn’t notice the stars until someone else begins to talk about them in slightly dreamy terms. He scoffs, “Poetry fag.”
Cowboy: He sits on the open gate of the truck up at the overlook. He likes how insignificant he feels under a sky so big. He’s cold but he doesn’t bother closing his jacket. She’s the warmest thing he knows. The years that separate them, well, that’s just some cruel trick.

~A glass of wine
Bettina: She sips it and thinks of her mother’s recipe for lamb and grape leaves. The rules are different when you have Old World parents. They don’t know that sixteen-year-olds aren’t supposed to drink wine. Her father poured these two inches for her. But then he won’t let her out with a friend on a Saturday night.
Brady: He wishes this shit were beer but he’ll swig it anyway. Maybe it’ll calm him down. He is pissed about the way the coach chewed on his ass this afternoon. That wasn’t his fault. The forwards were out of position.
Cowboy: The rim of the glass feels fragile—like it could break against your lip, never mind if you were clumsy enough to ping it against a tooth. He likes the taste. He lets it warm before he swallows. And he wonders how much healthier his family would have been if nothing on this earth had ever fermented.

~A dead bird
Bettina: First, there’s a wash of pity. Then helplessness. The feathers look alive in the breeze. But the position of the neck is wrong. The breast is still. She wants to open out its wing so she can see that hidden part—what is it called? The second digit? Is it creepy to want to see something that is always so concealed?
Brady: Stupid bird, he thinks. And why right smack in the path where he has to see it? He walks away saying, “I hate dead shit.”
Cowboy: Damn. Birds sometimes hit the glass sliders at his father’s farmhouse. They land on the deck unconscious, panting. They can come to and fly away again like nothing ever happened. That’s the best. This one is gone. He’ll get the shovel.

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The Things You Kiss Goodbye - Leslie Connor

Released: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegan
SynopsisBettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.

But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.

Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.

When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.

Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love.

~ Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ The Book Depository ~

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The Author...

My life began suddenly (you can even ask my mother) in an antique farmhouse outside of Cleveland, Ohio. I was born right on the family room floor ~ no time to get to the hospital! I swear, I’ve been in a hurry ever since.

When I was in fourth grade we moved to a neighborhood full of kids outside of Schenectady, New York. My Dad worked for a company that sold some of the finest printing papers in all the land. He often brought home big, beautiful, heavy books that pinned me to my chair when I held them in my lap, and I loved to turn the pages, look at the photography and illustrations and smell the ink.

As a kid I took dancing lessons and did gymnastics. I could be found upside-down in odd places like the middle of the stairway, not that I recommend it! My bedroom was a messy nest full of paint sets and paper scraps, embroidery threads and sewing projects. In school I was good at some things and not at all good at others. Still, I found my passions. I went to college, first at SUNY, Cobleskill, where I received an associate’s degree in agriculture, and later at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Ct. where I earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art.

At first, I was interested in children’s books from an illustrator’s point of view. But the writing part surprised me ~ came up from behind and tapped me on the shoulder. I realized that my head and heart were very full of stories and that I should pay attention! My ideas come from everyday life, and I write for readers of all ages.

I live in the Connecticut woods with my husband and three children. (Well, the kids are getting big and they all drive cars now so they come and go a lot these days.) We keep our bird feeders full, do a little gardening and stack a lot of firewood. I hike the trails near my home almost every morning. Then I make a pot of tea and get to work. Usually, my loyal Writing Dogs are right by my side. (Sometimes I even borrow dogs from my neighbors. You can’t have enough dogs.)

I love making artisan pizzas and pots of soup and my favorite treat is dark chocolate. I also love to ride my bike down to the diner to meet my friends for breakfast and more tea. (Hmm...that’s a lot of eating, isn’t it?)

Life is fine!

~ Website ~ Goodreads

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Mad Claire


Reader, Blogger

Twenty-something | book-blogger | tea-drinker | procrastinator | wannabe-writer | student


  1. It depends on the triangles. I love it when the main character has a choice to make that goes beyond the two boys, although of course that's a huge part. Like, if one boy presents one type of life and the other something totally different.

    This is a wonderful post! We got to know everyone like this - the author's little bio is perfect :)

    Thank you:)

  2. I love them!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  3. (This is Darith L)

    Not really, but if it's not the sole focus, then fine by me! :D

  4. I don't mind them, especially when I can tell whis going to win in the end. Lol

  5. I DO love love triangles. Some people may tire of them, but I enjoy them immensely. Go, Leslie!

  6. I actually prefer there to be no love triangles, but sometimes it works out really well! I don't like when characters act extremely possessive though. Thankfully, that's not often. Great post! :D


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