Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Can You Be Best Friends with Your Boyfriend? With Betsy Cornwell

Please welcome today’s YA Author, Betsy Cornwell, author of the delicious new novel, TIDES which releases June 3, 2013.

 TIDES by Betsy Cornwell
When high-school senior Noah Gallagher and his adopted teenage sister, Lo, go to live with their grandmother in her island cottage for the summer, they don’t expect much in the way of adventure. Noah has landed a marine biology internship, and Lo wants to draw and paint, perhaps even to vanquish her struggles with bulimia. But then things take a dramatic turn for them both when Noah mistakenly tries to save a mysterious girl from drowning. This dreamlike, suspenseful story—deftly told from multiple points of view—dives deeply into selkie folklore while examining the fluid nature of love and family.

Um. Yes please.  Add this to your to read pile pronto!!
Tides by Betsy Cornwell

Thanks for playing Betsy, so right to it, did you have a best friend in high school? If you did, are you still in touch?
Betsy and her best friend!

My best friend in high school was my boyfriend—it might sound like a cliché, but it’s true. We’d been best friends since we were twelve, when he showed up as a new seventh-grade student at my school. We were immediately inseparable…even though we harboured top-secret crushes on each other at various times over our middle school best-friendship.

Those times finally matched up in tenth grade, when we had our first kiss under a maple tree outside of the high school and decided to be boyfriend and girlfriend. But our relationship didn’t change that much (other than the kissing and, uh, such!) because we already spent all the time we could together when we were ‘just friends.’

We dated for seven years, all through college, but eventually broke up after graduation when we realized our lives were headed in different directions. We also both came to see that we were really friends, not true-loves, at heart. It was devastating at the time, but now we’re both happy and even relieved that things turned out the way they did. (Don’t tell my high school self that, though—she’d probably kill you!)
While, true to our predictions, our lives have taken very different directions, we still talk occasionally and are definitely on good terms. We’re also both happy in other relationships, and have other best friends now.

Wow. Now that is a cool story. I am FASCINATED by couples who are together so young and stay together, and more so for going from friends to more, back to friends. Good on you. What do you miss most about him?

The funny thing is, as fond as I still am of him, I don’t really miss my high school BF/BFF. However, I think the thing I most valued about our friendship *and* our relationship is how steadfast and supportive he was. We were both dealing with pretty tough family situations in high school, and he was always, always there for me if I needed to cry or vent or just watch movies all day and not think about anything. I’m really glad I was able to be there for him and support him in the things he was dealing with, too. We basically became parts of each other’s families in high school, and that was something we both really needed.
I have a wonderful best friend and a wonderful boyfriend now who both give me so much support and love—so while I don’t “miss” that, I am very, very grateful to have had it at one of the times I needed it most.

You sound well grounded!! He was there when you needed him, and that’s so wonderful. Did you ever have a big fight? What was it about? How did you resolve it?

You know, we never really fought that much at all—we were both sort of passive by nature, and both still figuring out how to be assertive enough to fight with someone in the first place! We went that whole seven years without a single ‘break’ or break-up or even a big fight. In fact, we always had more of a steady, quiet friendship than a passionate romance. While that was really stabilizing for both of us at the time, it was also part of what made us eventually realize we were more friends than, erm, lovahs.
My current boyfriend and I certainly fight sometimes, but now I think that’s a good thing! It’s good to disagree, even vehemently, and to let yourself be angry or upset without feeling like you’re jeopardizing your relationship. That’s a lesson it took me a really long time to learn…but I know the bump-free relationship I had in high school was something I really needed then.

Good golly Miss Molly, your maturity at a young age impresses me. So, what’s something your best friend did for you, that probably no other person would do.

I think I’ve sort of covered this in previous questions—he was always there for me, even more than my other (completely awesome) high school friends were. However, one thing that definitely sticks out was that he went backpacking with me in Europe, something I’d been desperate to do for years and had long begged him to do with me. He’d never traveled outside of the country before, and he had a hard time convincing his mom to let him go, but we both saved up our money, flew over together, and had an amazing, and even slightly life-changing, time.

I love you and hate you at the same time, does that make me evil?? So, did you have a favorite song, or a favorite place where you hung out?

Mike Doughty’s album Haughty Melodic was what we listened to, and thought of each other to, whenever we had to be apart—especially “I Hear the Bells.” (Definitely worth a listen if you haven’t heard it, or haven’t seen season two of Veronica Mars…)

Our favourite place to hang out was downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a great little seaside town with yummy (and cheap!) restaurants, a fantastic record store called Bull Moose, a beautiful park and harbour, and lots of quirky side streets—the perfect setting for high school date nights.

Veronica Mars! Oh how I loved that show. What did you and your best friend most love to do?

We both did theater tech, and we loved sitting in the booth at the top of the auditorium with the other techies and working the sound and lights for school plays and assemblies. We were also both aspiring movie buffs and could spend whole days and evenings, as long as our parents would let us stay, watching one movie after another.
Yeah, we were nerds. Still are—and I hold no regrets on that score!

So what did you learn from your best teen friend?

You learn a lot in seven years! He was my first serious boyfriend, so I definitely learned plenty about how to be in a romantic relationship—and some things that I learned *not* to do in future ones. But I think the most important thing that I learned from him was the idea I now think of as ‘found family’—that your family isn’t just the one you were born into or raised with, but all the wonderful people you come to love over the course of your life. When I thank my family in the acknowledgments page for Tides, my first book, I’m not just talking about my biological one, but all the family I’ve found, too.

So amazing! So happy for you! Family is family, wherever you find them.  So, are your relationships with friends different at this stage in your life? How?

When I was a teenager, my whole world was wrapped up in high school. I had one small circle of good friends, and one best friend/boyfriend. Now, I have friends from high school, college, grad school, work, traveling…and probably some other things, too! The world is much bigger for me now, and my friendships have gotten bigger and more diverse along with it. But in a lot of ways, my relationships with friends are the same now as they were then. I’m still not a social butterfly—I prefer to have a small number of close friends, and the idea of a big party or even a night at a club or bar is kind of exhausting. My best friends are people I can really talk to, whose ideas and passions I admire, and who are totally happy spending an evening watching movies and eating ice cream. And most of my friends are still aspiring movie buffs and total nerds…as am I. As far as that goes, nothing’s changed a bit.

 I know my teen self would be sad to hear that I didn’t end up with my high school boyfriend—but if she saw what I’m doing now (Published author! Living abroad! Teaching at the summer camp I so adored! …with a dreamy Irish boyfriend in the mix, too) she’d get pretty excited about her future. And the thing is, her best friend/boyfriend would, too—because he always wanted what was best for me, and I will always be grateful for that.

 I know that our teen selves sometimes envision a different future, but things usually happen the way they should. And a dreamy Irish boyfriend and the published author thing sound pretty good to me!!

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your unique and touching story about your teenage boyfriend/best friend!


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