Friday, March 10, 2017

"Five Dates in Room 405" ~ All the Time in the World

When I hear stories about how my friends grew up and what their families taught them, I often feel extremely fortunate. I realise that my grandparents afforded me a great deal of personal freedom, and ensured that I never felt obligated to do anything by a certain age past be able to look after myself.

One thing I never got -- ever -- was a behest to get a boyfriend. I don't date much. I have had four boyfriends in my entire life (the longest relationship lasting eight months and being largely long-distance) and gone on one casual date outside of that. If and when the time comes, I'm sure there will be chances. But I was never, ever, ever told that I only had a certain amount of time, or a certain amount of chances.

Well, guys I turned down would tell me that. But my family, and my friends who cared about me, never told me that.

Date Night is Zimbell House Publishing's latest anthology, and it asked for... well, what you see on the tin. I can't remember what was on my mind at the time, but I immediately thought of high-school kids who had it drilled into them that your chances were few and far between.

"Five Dates in Room 405" is a story like that -- and also not like that. Our heroine is off to prom, largely because prom is what you do and her parents insist that she needs to get used to the idea of dating. And she does... but in an unexpected way.

I don't want to give too much away. Suffice to say it's a story of a realization not everyone gets to have early: that there will be chances every single day. There will be some you want and some you don't. There will be some you have to take yourself and some that fall into your lap. But the overly romantic idea that if you don't ask That Person Over There out now, or if you don't say yes to the person you're unsure about, you may have lost your shot forever... only flies in fairy tales at best.

It's also a fairly clear message I want to send to young readers, especially young women: you'll know when you're ready. No one can tell you when you're ready but yourself. And listen to that voice.

Date Night is now available from Zimbell House Publishing.