It’s easy for an author to lean hard on stereotypes when crafting a story, especially one about teens. Overcoming those stereotypes requires rethinking how to set up the novel. Instead of the outwardly perfect nuclear family, an author should look to how the world is really populated. Don’t keep your characters strictly along the lines of any one model. Mix up their heritage, their living situation, and mostly how they adapt to those situations.
Trea Jones has always known the bitterness of bigotry and abject poverty. Her half-Cherokee daddy disappeared thirteen years ago on the pretense of getting milk. Mama has done nothing but mourn his loss, and she blames Trea for that. Now that she’s starting her senior year of high school, Trea hopes for something better, but she doesn’t hold out much hope.
She loosens up on some of her rules. Her guy, Dave, proves to her that she is worthy of everything the others have. The last day of classes prior to the winter break, she’s ready to share some stupendous news with Dave, but tragedy intervenes when her daddy texts while driving a bus. Trea is left wondering if she can ever be free of a curse that heaps a lot of bad luck on her whenever good things happen to her.
“I want to get on Facebook!” Mama screeches. “It’s my turn to use it!”
I race into the living room, the four steps seeming to take forever. My eyes widen in horror as I watch the laptop I’ve used since sixth grade swing back and forth between her and Granny. All three hundred pounds of my mama is putting up a darned good fight. Granny isn’t giving up, either, despite swaying and nearly stumbling as she tries to reclaim the computer that is supposed to be mine.
“Ya ain’t gonna take up all our time tonight,” Granny squalls. “Give me that computer. All my friends are awaitin’ for me to show up for our nightly chat.”
Dare I say something? Can I take control, and reassert ownership of the computer. Its banged and dinged case gives testament to the nightly arguments by these two women. They claim they raised me as best they can, despite our family having the worst reputation in town, and they have the right to take whatever I have for their own enjoyment.
Remember the last time. It took me a week to get the laptop working again.
The warning has no effect. Tonight is special in several ways.
A lot of my life can be defined by the expression “the way it is.” The first is my looks, from my daddy. His half-Cherokee blood popped out real good in me, from my mid-back length inky black hair, to my always tan skin. This leads to the worst kind of nastiness not only from more than a few people in town, but also from Mama when she’s in a foul mood.
Can’t they stop being hateful for just one night?
About the K.C. Sprayberry
Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.
She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Those who know her best will tell you that nothing is safe or sacred when she is observing real life. In fact, she considers any situation she witnesses as fair game when plotting a new story.
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