Mercy. I thought humans - and perhaps gorillas or chimps - were the only ones to engage in bullying behavior.
I had my share. As a kid I was so different. While the other kids were just goofing around on weekends and during the summer, I had dance classes, pageants to go to (think Dance Moms and Toddlers & Tiaras). I also modeled. Was it fun? No. Did I enjoy it? Not at all.
Didn't matter to the neighborhood kids. To them, I was as strange as a Martian and as appealing. Unfortunately, my mom didn't make it any better. She bragged and bragged and bragged. One mother and grandmother down the street would come outside when I was walking to school and shout "Movie star!" and then they'd laugh and shout how ugly and stupid I was.
I wanted to die.
Even if I took a different route, it wasn't much better. There was always some kid who wanted to trip me or make fun. They didn't understand how awful it was to be in a dance competition or a pageant and not win - or worse - to be criticized by the judges for not smiling enough or saying the right thing or pirhouetting properly or whatever.
I'd always been shy. All of the negative attention only made it worse. If it hadn't been for reading and being able to escape into a library from time to time, I don't know how I might have turned out.
Because bullying was so painful for me, as I'm certain it is for those poor kids in those reality TV shows, I wanted to incorporate it into my latest release Sinfully Wicked.
Although the story is erotic romance and is certainly hot, I wanted to bring depth to all the characters, especially Mitch and Connor. They know what bullying was like. Nikki, the woman who loves them both, knows how she had a hand in it.
Thankfully, we're not kids forever. Hopefully, we can forgive as Mitch and Connor do, and teach our children to do better by their peers.
More info on Sinfully Wicked: http://www.tinadonahue.com/books/sinfully-wicked/