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July 17, 2015

Guest Post by Kris Dinnison --- YOU AND ME AND HIM

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Author Kris Dinnison certainly didn't have the easiest time when she was 14 and she and her best friends got into a large fight. Though the incident is now well in the past, its influence has stayed with her to this day. In part, these feelings of confusion, hurt and betrayal helped inspire her new novel, YOU AND ME AND HIM. In this blog post, she discusses how her past experience affected the story and how her characters grapple with very real-life issues.

 
When I started writing YOU AND ME AND HIM, one of the questions I asked myself was “What happens when we really screw up in a friendship? Is it possible to repair things when we make a big, epic mistake?” 
 
When I was 14, my three best friends all got mad at me at the same time. I wasn’t really sure what I’d done wrong at first, but knowing I’d done something to hurt the three most important friends I had was painful and confusing. I was angry, too. I felt like they’d ganged up on me, like they’d been talking about me behind my back, and that was a lonely, isolating feeling.
 
It took a long time to sort out all the ways the four of us hurt each other and to make things right in our friendships. And things were never quite right with one of those friends; neither of us seemed to be able to fully patch up the damage we’d done during that time. Now it’s hard to remember what the fight was about, but I’ll never forget the gut-wrenching moment when I realized I’d mistreated my friends. And even now I can call up that feeling of being wounded by someone I thought had my back.
 
Maggie and Nash, the two main characters in YOU AND ME AND HIM, are the best of friends. They are absolutely there for each other in a deep way and have been since they were very young. But they make some mistakes in this book, and they hurt each other in ways that they don’t intend to. 
 
Finding a path through those kinds of choices is one of the main challenges the characters face in the story, but it’s also an ongoing challenge in my own life. Sometimes the path is clear; I know what’s right for myself and for the greater good. But sometimes it’s muddy and I make gigantic mistakes that I don’t know how to make right. I won’t tell you whether or not Maggie and Nash are able to find their way through, but writing their story has made it a little easier for me to know what to do when I face these kinds of choices.

Kris Dinnison learned to read when she was five years old. She grew up reading books nobody else had read and listening to music nobody else had heard of and thinking she was weird, which she kind of was. She spent nearly two decades as a teacher and librarian working with students from kindergarten to graduate school. The bulk of that time she spent teaching High School English while dreaming of becoming a writer. Nowadays, when she’s not writing, she helps run her family’s retail and café businesses.  She lives and writes in Spokane, Washington.