Eight weeks after sixteen-year-old Andie Hamilton gives her virginity to her best friend, “the stick” says she’s pregnant.
Her friends treat her like she’s carrying the plague, her classmates torture and ridicule her, and the boy she thought loved her doesn’t even care. Afraid to experience the next seven months alone, she turns to her ex-boyfriend, Neil Donaghue, a dark-haired, blue-eyed player. With him, she finds comfort and the support she desperately needs to make the hardest decision of her life: whether or not to keep the baby.
Then a tragic accident leads Andie to discover Neil’s keeping a secret that could dramatically alter their lives, and she’s forced to make a choice. But after hearing her son’s heartbeat for the first time, she doesn’t know how she’ll ever be able to let go.
Tori Rigby was kind enough to answer some interview questions about the writing process, the challenges facing young love, and of course, her advice for young writers:
What was the inspiration for writing BECAUSE I LOVE YOU?
BECAUSE I LOVE YOU was originally supposed to be a story about adoption, but as I started writing it, I realized I didn’t have much of a story to tell! So, I asked myself how could I make this more unique? What could happen in my main character’s life that would make being adopted more profound? So, then I took the pregnancy spin on it, and from there, the story was born!
From one cross-genre writer to another, I am very interested in the different thought processes that go into writing different kinds of storylines. What are some of the pleasures of writing across genre?
I like that writing in multiple genres means you can tell more stories. I struggle to pigeonhole myself as a certain kind of author; I have too many ideas! So, it’s freeing to be able to write stories in multiple genres. There’s also a challenge involved in writing in different genres. Each one is unique, so each presents new learning experiences.
I’m interested if you were thinking about the challenges regarding love and relationships unique to being young when you wrote BECAUSE I LOVE YOU. Teen pregnancy is a very intense situation for a character to be faced with. What are some of the challenges your MC is dealing with in her particular world?
Well, in her particular world, Andie has to deal with the results of being a pregnant teen. Ridicule, judgment. She has to grow up super fast, and all of her dreams seem to go out the window. Teenagers already struggle with body image issues, but for a pregnant teenager, those issues are often intensified. Emotionally, things are difficult for Andie!
As a world traveler and adventurer, can you tell us how your writing has been affected by what you’ve seen and experienced on your travels?
I can pinpoint a few instances in which what I saw on vacation appeared in my novels. Like in my YA fantasy, CATCH ME WHEN I FALL (written under my alternate pen name, Vicki Leigh), there’s an instance where there’s a man dressed as an elf, begging for tips on the streets of Rome. That was inspired by a real person I saw when I was in Rome! So, it’s been kind of fun pulling on my own experiences to create more vivid worlds.
There are many students and young writers who follow this blog. Any words of advice for someone just starting out?
Don’t give up! The publishing industry is a tough one to break into, but if you make the commitment to keep improving your writing, and if you continue to put yourself out there, your odds of achieving success grow. Tell the stories you were meant to tell—someone out there wants to read them!
Looking forward to the release of Because I Love You. Thank you, Tori Rigby for appearing on my blog. Happy writing!