Ms. Machinist told me straight out in one of our “Meet the agent” workshops hosted by the Liberty States Fiction Writers that I write Boy Emotion.
When you read my YA novel “Immortal Link” and even my crazy (not for teens) book “The Wiener Diaries,” you notice it right away; boy emotion weaves liberally throughout the plot. As a matter of fact, boys who cry and let their feelings out makes the story more rewarding.
Why shouldn’t males cry, or be sentimental sometimes? Their lives suck just as much as the girls’. You don’t want to hang out with a rock. True, it can be awkward to have a boy break down and you don’t know what to do for him, so just put your arm around his shoulders and let him finish. If nothing else, he is giving you a glimpse into a usually buried realm that nevertheless exists.
When Catholine Kennan listens to her brother Charlie’s tearful confession under the staircase in the middle of the night, she distracts herself with a kitten so she wouldn’t just sit there wondering for both of them whether she should hug him or let him get it out without unnecessary interruption. What he tells her during that intimate moment is what my readers rave about in their fan mail. If I would have Charlie deliver his dilemma via a tough-guy rendition, the effect would be ruined. The key moment would lose its impact.
Same with ueberresponsible Louis who thinks he has to carry his and his siblings problems on his shoulders alone to spare their mother more upset after their father left. When his softer side finally breaks through, it makes him incredibly endearing.
And that’s what I get the fan letters for: The scene under the staircase, Louis’s breakdown, Charlie’s scare on top of the gorge. Oh my gosh, Mrs. Burke, I love Immortal Link. Please write more books! My youngest fan is 12 and doesn’t have a facebook account yet, so she emails me. The funny thing is, I get fan mail from the mothers as well: Couldn’t put your book down, devoured it from cover to cover, Charlie is my favorite, I loved Penny (I let you find out who Penny is), and just wait until you meet Stella…talk about a surprise. I’ve heard of people reading my book in jail, on a flight to China, in Germany, Ireland, and all over the U.S. One is a nun, the other an inmate, and they all rave about it.
But Charlie and Louis, who try to help their younger sister through the aftermath of a rape, are real, red-blooded young men who run the gamut of emotion.
And that’s why my stories dig deep.
You can find “Immortal Link – You hurt me, I’ll hurt you more” by Uta Burke on Amazon.com and Kindle
By the way, isn’t the name Alexandra Machinist so cool? It sounds like a musical or the heroine of a great book.