I distinctly remember the day Michelle* first appeared in the halls of our high school during the Spring of my sophomore year. A natural beauty, the shiny, new brunette immediately turned heads. My testosterone-fueled classmates were less than obvious in their remarks as Michelle's perfect body with perky boobs, a full head of gorgeous hair, and a perfect mouth that framed sparkling white teeth, breezed past us on her way to class. Of course, we girls stared, too. Michelle was a freak of nature, carved from some unnatural combination of drop-dead-gorgeous looks and bubbly personality that made it difficult to dislike her, even after she'd plucked your boyfriend from under your arm while you were home recovering from mono.
I knew early on while writing CLOVER BLUE that although life in a commune would be far from boring, there's nothing like having a stranger arrive to shake up the status quo. Early in the story, a young runaway shows up, guided to Saffron Freedom Community by an estranged former member. The men fawn over the new beauty while the women become overly-protective of her. Despite the free-loving nature of the community, one is never sure if the sisters are more worried about the men seducing this naive young woman or her seducing them with her charming innocence.
What follows is an excerpt from CLOVER BLUE, where young Blue watches as the commune's leader welcomes his newest protege:
The girl stares at her tennis shoes. Other than a smeared dirt hand print on the front of her white pants, she looks like a townie; clean like she just climbed out of a bathtub. She’s so beautiful I can’t stop staring.
Goji puts a finger under the girl’s chin and lifts her face. With his other hand he sweeps the curtain of white-blond hair out of the way and looks directly into her bright eyes. I can tell by the blotches on her light skin that she’s been crying. I can also see that she’s already under Goji’s spell. That’s just the way it is with him.
From the time we're babes, we humans long to feel special in the eyes of those we love. It's no surprise then that when a stranger's light threatens to cast us into their shadow, our first reactions are jealously, fear and resentment. Hopefully, as in the case of my high school friend Michelle, we come to judge that person based upon who they truly are rather than any threat to our perceived ranking among family or peers. In my case, I was fortunate to remain friends with Michelle, long after she traded in my ex-boyfriend for a new one.
I loved creating these ragtag characters and I'm looking forward to introducing you to them one by one in the weeks leading up to the release of CLOVER BLUE. In the meantime, think about a time when a stranger showed up in your life. Do you tend to hold back until you get to know a new person, or are you a virtual Welcome Wagon, embracing newcomers to your circle with open arms?
*Name changed to protect privacy. Sadly, like many bright and beautiful beings, we lost "Michelle" much too soon when her life was cut short by breast cancer. This post is dedicated to her beautiful memory.
CLOVER BLUE is now available for Pre-Order!