A Lack of Romance
When I first started writing Elemental, the main character Baltimore, was secretly in love with her best friend. Then I got to thinking, how many times has that been done…to death? Same with the love triangle, the loser & the jock and just about every romantic set-up you can think of.
So then I thought, what if Baltimore wasn’t in love with anyone?
There aren’t many young adult books (or books for that matter) that don’t feature some element of romantic love, so I knew it wouldn’t be an easy sell. But I’d made up my mind. I wanted Baltimore’s experience to be authentic.
Let’s face it, as teenagers, most of us have had crushes (posters of Eddie Furlong and Joey Lawrence inclusive). But we haven’t all had boyfriends. In fact, most of us didn’t have our first real relationship until we reached our twenties.
So I started writing a story without love. No love triangles, no secret crushes (either way). Then I took it a step further. What if Baltimore did have a boyfriend, but he wasn’t perfect? What if he had a serious flaw (or flaws) that would make the reader want him gone?
Enter Toby. The guy we hope our daughters never date and our parents never wanted us to date.
Since he doesn’t get a lot of face time in Elemental, I thought it would be nice interesting for him to join us for a brief interview.
I’ve used questions inspired by Cosmo quiz entitled, Is He Devoted to You? Just to give you a clear idea of what kind boyfriend Toby really is.
Kelbian: How often do you tell Baltimore she’s beautiful?
Toby: Um…she is beautiful. I wouldn’t be dating her otherwise. Besides, if you tell a girl she’s cute everyday, she’ll end up like my last girlfriend. All into herself and no time for you.
Kelbian: Do you ever hang out with her friends?
Toby: Have you met Bridgett?
Kelbian: What do you guys do for fun?
Toby: Well, we live in Miner, so fun’s not really in our vocabulary, and Baltimore doesn’t really go to parties on account of the fact that she doesn’t have many friends. But we like to make out in my car sometimes. If my mom’s not too suspicious we take it to my bedroom. But don’t get the wrong idea. It never goes anywhere. Some days I wonder if it ever will.
Kelbian: Have you ever had dinner at Baltimore’s house?
Toby: (laughs) I’ve never been invited. Not that I’m complaining.
Well, there you have it. You don’t need to add up the numbers to know where he stands. But have no fear. Toby doesn’t last long.
And Baltimore proves not to be the kind of girl who needs a guy like that. Baltimore’s story isn’t about falling in love with a guy. It’s about falling in love with herself.
Still, don’t worry, if you’re craving just a wee bit of romance, stay tuned. Sparks that ignite in book one will burn embers in book two.
She’s doing alright, with a boyfriend who seems to like her just the way she is and an awesome best friend who is fascinated by her lifestyle, but she’s not the most popular girl in her small Utah town. In fact, she’s kind of the town freak.
When her boyfriend’s ex tries to win him back, Baltimore’s emotions get the best of her and she soon realizes her parents’ beliefs aren’t so silly after all–they’re just the beginning.
Decades later, having studied writing in college and pursued it as a career, Kelbian decided it was time to get back to her dream. She started writing again, joined a critique group and wrote two novels. Then in March 2011, along came Elemental. This time life’s distractions couldn’t shake the feeling that the world needed to hear Baltimore’s story. At least those who would listen! A year later, Kelbian is excited to introduce Elemental to the world with hopes someone will love the story as much as she does.
Kelbian lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her two children.