Good Morning! My name is KC Sprayberry. Margo Bond Collins of Words, Words, Words has let me hijack her blog today. The purpose is to tease all of her very dedicated readers with information about my soon-to-be-released YA coming of age novel, Take Chances.
Military Brats – Teens Who Only Want to Fit In
One life experience I will never regret is the eleven years I spent in the Air Force. Moving around the country, even around Europe, gave me experiences I’ll never forget.
My children also had those experiences, many of which I planned so they could learn something about the country we were in, but there were drawbacks I had no idea how handle as I settled into a new base.
How would my child fit in with other children who had been friends since long before kindergarten? No teen wants to stand out in their new hometown. They want to be part of the in-crowd, to blend in rather than stick out. Their deepest desire is to be the moth drawn to the flame.
Reality, however is very different.
A teenage military brat is often the flame, with all those other teens fluttering around their brightness, only to fly away without ever getting close to the new kid.
In Take Chances, Julie Bond is close to graduating from high school. She has never started and finished the same school in her life, until she and her mom moved to her parents hometown. Now she has that chance, and she wants it so badly that she’ll do anything to make everything perfect.
My children were never in high school during our many moves in the military, but they did experience what Julie did in that they moved during elementary school a couple of times. Their experiences mirror hers in most ways, as they tried to find their place in those worlds, often times coming up short and always being the “new kid.”
I discovered that I couldn’t help with this important issue after our last move to where my husband grew up. My children had just landed in the South – the area of sweet tea, fried chicken, Krystal burgers, and friendships forged long before a child entered school. They were on their own, and they made sure I understood from the first day we moved into our new home that they would adjust in their own way.
Like Julie, my kids got involved in school. Two of my sons went into the band during middle school, one playing the trombone and the other the saxophone. A daughter dove into the chorus, realizing her dream of singing with her classmates. Those were halcyon days after they found their place, but still not without some bumps in the road.
Some of the kids they befriended backed off after hearing of my children touring Dachau in Germany, or seeing the original Disneyland castle – Neu Schwanstein. The idea that we as a family often packed everyone into our Toyota minivan and traveled to Volksmarches – organized walks of anywhere from 10 to 40 kilometers long – was so strange as to make my children different.
Slowly, my kids stopped talking about their formative years in Europe, the better to fit in with their peers. They never forgot that time, though. My wonderful children now live through those memories and talk of returning to Germany or Spain or Italy to see the countries as adults, to experience what they did as children from a different perspective. They’re comfortable now with their nomadic childhood.
Julie learns late in Take Chances that she’s happy with her permanent home in a small Southern town, but she also loves wandering and making new discoveries. Talking to other military parents, I’ve found out this isn’t unusual. Our children are determined to explore the universe, to make their place one that isn’t permanent, but is also full of wonder.
About the Author
KC Sprayberry started writing young, with a diary followed by an interest in English. Her first experience with publication came when she placed third in a Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge contest while in the Air Force, but her dedication to writing came after she had her youngest child, now a in his senior year of high school.
Her family lives in Northwest Georgia where she spends her days creating stories about life in the south, and far beyond. More than a dozen of her short stories have appeared in several magazines. Five anthologies feature other short stories, and her young adult novel Softly Say Goodbye, released in 2012. During 2013, more young adult stories have been released: The Ghost Catcher, Who Am I?, Family Curse … Times Two, and Amazon Best Seller, Canoples Investigations Tackles Space Pirates.
Julie Bond grew up in Europe as a military brat. She found her very first permanent home in Landry, GA as a teen going into high school. Almost four years later, she’s having pre-graduation jitters and flashing back to an incident of school violence she experienced in Europe. She attempts to convince herself that it can never happen again, but continually finds herself flashing back to that day no matter how hard she tries.
The people around her present any number of problems for Julie, and she’s hard put to keep from drowning under all the issues. Then Michael–a cool guy she’s had a crush on for the last three years—returns from traveling the US as a photographer, and Julie now has one more thing to distract her as she prepares to leave high school. One thing she firmly believes in: no one will ever invade her classroom with violence again.
Once again, the impossible happens. Once again, she’s in a classroom with a madman holding a gun. Once again, she must survive.
The thud of something hitting the floor brings me back to the present. A stick-thin woman with a nose resembling a buzzard’s beak fluffs her jet-black hair. She tugs at her flower print dress and stares right at me.
“Si content pour avoir votre attention, Juliette.”
Grrrr! Doesn’t she get how much I hate that name!
Stick around for the full tour. Why? On September 26 through September 29, 2013, you can pick up my other YA coming of age books, Softly Say Goodbye and Who Am I? free on Amazon:
Thank you Margo Bond Collins of Words, Words, Words for hosting me today. Tomorrow you find the next Teaser Tour on Penny Estelle’s Penny’s Tales!