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Feature Friday - Guest Post by Nicola Hudson

8 Nov 2013
Feature Friday is a brand new item on Bookish Treasures. Every Friday I will be featuring an author through either an interview or a guest post. If you are interested in taking part please send me an email.

This week I am featuring British YA/NA author Nicola Hudson whose debut novel Curve recently released.

Curve by Nicola Hudson



Synopsis

Never been kissed, never been touched.

CASS JONES is in her final year of high school and looking forward to the life-changing year ahead.  She knows that she isn’t beautiful, isn’t popular, isn’t one of those girls.  But that’s OK.

Until that night.

FLYNN, the brother of her best friend, rescues Cass from public humiliation.  Their relationship develops from nowhere, taking Cass by surprise.  All of a sudden she is feeling everything she has ever read about.

ROB, gorgeous star of the rugby team, loses a bet because of Cass.  He will do anything it takes to taste victory again.  Anything.
One terrible night threatens to destroy Cass.

Will her relationship with Flynn survive?
Will she find herself again?

Try it for yourself! Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Excerpt


By the time we were ready to leave, I started to feel on edge.  It had been a lovely evening but nothing had been said about what we would do once Flynn was back at Uni, and I didn’t want to end up having the conversation whilst sat outside my house.

“Is there anywhere else we can go for a bit? I don’t have to be home until midnight and I don’t want to leave you yet.”

“Do you want to come back to mine?”

I felt horrible when I said, “Not really.  Neve will want to catch up as I've not spoken to her all day and I just want to be with you.”

“I agree.  Umm, let me think.”  As we drove off, he kept his left hand on my thigh, moving it briefly only when he needed to change gears.  A sense of sadness started to trickle through my bones.  I was going to miss his touch.  I was going to miss everything about him.  In just a couple of weeks he had become so important to me. 

He pulled into the multi-storey car park adjacent to the cinema in town.  As he drove up and up, passing empty rows of spaces, I wondered where we were going until we reached the top floor.  Even though there was not another car in sight, he drove to the very end and parked, bonnet facing the low wall.  In front of us lay the illuminated blanket of our town; filled with industrial parks and concrete architecture by day, at night it was almost pretty.  Flynn took off his seatbelt and lifted his arm for me to curl under.  We sat for ages, Muse playing quietly on the stereo, saying nothing, just savouring the feel of being close.

“This is going to be in my top five moments so far,” I sighed. 

“I’m glad there was a ‘so far’ there.” Flynn kissed the top of my head before tipping my chin up and kissing me.  There was no sense of pushing limits tonight.  I explored his mouth as though trying to imprint it on my memory; maybe that was what I was doing.  I made myself take note of the texture of his hair, the smoothness of his skin, the scratch of his stubble. 

I wanted to forget nothing.

“When will you be back home?” Knowing my question would bring the start of the evening’s end, I had put it off until the clock on the dashboard appeared to be taunting me with Cinderella’s fate:  11:06, 11:18, 11:31. 

“I’m in Wales this weekend but can come back the following one.  We’ll make it work, Cass.  I’m only half an hour away and it’s not like I’m in Uni all day, every day.  And you have heard that we now have these marvellous inventions called phones and computers?”

“I know.  It’s just strange, thinking that you won’t be there at your house when I see Neve.”  I didn’t want to fully admit, to him or myself, quite how dependent I had become on seeing him. I had always thought that girls who abandon their lives for their latest boyfriend were stupidly na├»ve, but now I found myself empathising with them.  “I’m going to miss you, handsome.” The smile I threw in his direction was a little wobbly, hiding the fact that I was on the verge of tears.

“Ha.  It’s probably a good thing or you wouldn’t get any work done, fail your A Levels and end up working in the shop forever.  It’ll be OK, Cass,” he reassured me with a final kiss.  “Now, it’s time to get you home.”

I kept my hand on his leg for the whole of the journey back, not wanting the evening to end.  As we turned into my road, Flynn took my hand.

“Get out like it’s just any other day.  Give me a kiss, say ’bye and then wave from your front door.  Don’t make it harder than it needs to be.” And, with that, I knew that he was finding the idea of parting as difficult as me; strangely, it made me feel better.  I squeezed his hand and, as he pulled up outside my house, did as he had asked.

“’Bye.” I smiled and leaned in for a lingering kiss.  When I could feel myself wanting more, I pecked his cheek and got out of the car.  I managed to walk up the path, open my door and blow him a kiss as though it was any other day; but, as he pulled away, and I closed the door, I had no choice but to run to my room and let the tears come. 
 

Keeping it real: writing about sexual violence

The storyline around the sexual violence experienced by Cass developed during the process of writing Curve.  I hadn’t started with anything other than the idea of someone posting pictures of a girl on social media; there had been a number of stories about similar events in the news and it had got me thinking about the impact on those involved.  This was going to be very much a sub-plot behind the romance.  However, as I was writing and Cass developed as a character that I started to care about, the focus of the novel shifted and now, to me at least, how she deals with what happens to her is more important than her relationship with Flynn.
A key moment during the writing was when I researched the statistics about sexual violence in the UK.  These shocked me so much I felt I had to include them as an Author’s Note.  It horrified me that twenty per cent of women will be the victim of a sexual attack as an adult.  Even more worrying was the idea that almost thirty per cent of these crimes are committed by young men between the ages of 16 and 19.  I hope that Curve shows that a typical, average girl can be a victim, even though she has done nothing to put herself at risk.  Through Rob, I wanted to show that sometimes the perpetrators of these crimes can be young men who are popular and successful.  The issue isn’t just about the stereotypical seedy bloke pulling a scantily-clad, drunk girl into a dark alley.
Once the storyline developed, and I was increasingly emotionally involved with Cass, I knew I needed to portray the attack and its investigation with as much honesty and clarity as possible, but without sensationalising it in any way.  This research was the most harrowing part of writing Curve.  Everything that happens to Cass is factually accurate, based on the UK police and legal system.  I hope that the emotional experience is also accurate.  I read a number of blogs written by women who had experienced similar attacks, as well as some forums.  I am deliberately not using the word ‘victims’ here as many of them were writing online as a way of showing their strength in moving forwards after such attacks.  I read much that was upsetting, but much more that was inspiring. 
Flynn’s love for Cass is a part of her learning to move forwards.  I hope that anyone who finds herself in a similar position to Cass also finds that she has someone as loving and loyal to support her afterwards.
 
 
 
 
 

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