"I was raised by a very loving family who home-schooled me through most of high school before I moved on to college and a Creative Writing degree at the University of Washington. I started reading at age four, drawing picture story books at age six, typing stories on the computer at age ten, and I haven’t stopped since. I love Jesus, beauty, art, and truth. When I’m not writing, I enjoy live theater, swing dancing, eating tiramisu, singing, painting, and laughing till my stomach hurts. I crave Dilettante’s chocolate-covered fruit medleys in case you’d like to know how to bribe me. I live in Seattle with my husband."
Stranded in a crowded Halloween party and numb with awkwardness, Lorona immediately heads to the bowl of candy corn because, in the midst of an awkward night, she at least knows how to eat junk food.
This is the scene that opens Moonlight and Oranges.
As a writer, I have to base each character on someone, and Lorona Connelly has a huge dose of yours truly in her DNA.
If you’re anything like me (and her), you know that awkward feeling all too well. She’s dressed up, she’s been dragged out of her comfort zone, and she’s lost control of what’s happening.
But coming to this crazy party is her impetus for change. Lorona’s palms are sweating and yet she’s started to think for herself. She puts her name on the costume contest list, and throws the proverbial dice.
The chain reaction begins with a cruel prank and turns into a romance she would never have expected. All because she’s tired of playing things safe and decides to push herself.
In my own life, I can vividly recall that the times I’ve taken the risks that made me sick in the pit of my stomach have almost always opened my world further and led me to higher possibilities. It wasn’t until I started trying for things that people said were impossible that I realized just how much I was limiting myself.
But painfully shy girls like me and Lorona need to be heartily encouraged. Lorona has enough self-awareness to recognize this. She keeps her free-spirited friend Yuki close by her side because she knows the antidote to her fear: passionate encouragement.
If you’re shy like Lorona, don’t underestimate the life and energy that a bold, adventurous friend can give you. You need those dares to step out of your safe little world. Embrace someone who is different and watch how your weakness is their strength. It’s one of the most beautiful parts of friendship.
If you’re wild like Yuki, remember that the loyalty of a quiet, steady friend is sometimes the greatest comfort when your fast-moving world crashes down around you (chances are this sort of thing will happen more often because of your “action addiction”) and when that happens, the shy gentle friend is worth her weight in gold.
Whether you’re a Lorona or a Yuki, remember just how much your opposite extreme needs you as a friend.
Thank you so much Elise for the guest post, great book, and giveaway!