Last week my second book, Crush, was published.
This was important for me for a few reasons:
1) It was my second book. I wanted to prove I could write something else; that my writing was still valid.
2) It was a difficult book. I had to write it during a period of grief and I went through a difficult period of not being able to write at all.
3) The theme of crush - toxic love - was something I wanted to write about for a very long time.
I guess we all have it in us, a story that we've always wanted to tell. The one that has bugged and bothered us for such a long time and for me it was this. Destructive and toxic love. Love gone wrong. A love that can crush you.
As a teen I saw two of my closest friends change overnight due to bad relationships. As an adult I've seen a male relation go through hell in a same sex relationship that controlled and isolated him. As an employee I saw my students swept up in bad kinds of love that they accepted as 'ok'.
Now I can tell Anna's story. A vulnerable, young girl who meets a charismatic older boy. At first things seem perfect. But then we see Will's true character emerge, his controlling and destructive ways. And through Will's short narrative, perhaps we can understand why these traits have developed.
Crush is important to me because it is telling a story that I've seen repeated so many times. It is showing how easy it is to fall under a toxic spell and then become trapped. I hope, through this novel, we can open up more discussions about what a healthy relationship actually is.
And more importantly, why the first person you need to love is yourself.