This trilogy tracks Coll’s growing passion for her boyfriend Art, and all the dramas in their relationship. They were the first books I wrote, back at the end of the twentieth century. Since then I think society has grown less coy and prudish about teenagers and sex, but I think we have new problems. So much of the media cheapens and downgrades sex, and apparently the majority of teenage boys learn about sex from downloaded porn.
So what my heroine Coll calls ‘holistic sex’ must be pretty hard to find. This is a huge pity because porn is to holistic sex what fast food is to a four-course dinner with candles, music, wine… To me, good sex isn’t something separate, or dirty, or a calorie burning exercise. It changes a relationship, touches all parts of it, and all parts of your life. It can be emotionally powerful and completely amazing.
I'm delighted that Scholastic have reissued these books, with stunning new covers. I wrote them when it was only rare and privileged teenagers who owned mobile phones (which were the size of house bricks). When I went through the trilogy to take out jarring, outdated things (like faxes) I wondered how today’s teens would respond to a love affair run without mobiles. Would they find it very alien? And then it struck me that the real things – love, hate, longing, desire, jealousy, misery, joy – are timeless. With superficial changes, Coll and Art could have fallen in love a hundred years ago, or yesterday.
Art's Story is the fourth book in the Diving In series. I wrote it in Art's voice, from his point of view, because I think it's fascinating that the same relationship can quite literally be a different event for the boy - which is why you have to talk to each other, and listen! Art's Story took a long time to get finished. When I sent the first 7,000 words to my old publishers, they wouldn't give me a contract to finish it. They said Art was too dark and negative, too much of a threat to Coll. Later, I posted those 7,000 words up on this site and I got a lot of lovely emails telling me to finish it. People wanted to know if Coll and Art finally work it out or split up for good.
In the end, I finished Art's Story, and I enjoyed writing it enormously. I liked getting inside his head and watching him change, and the effect Coll has on him. Then I decided to publish it myself, trusting to the buzz on the web. It's now up as an e-book - just click on the link below.
Coll loves to swim – diving into the clear blue water makes her feel free. Much freer than it’s possible at home, with her larger-than-life mother and her mother’s needy friends cluttering up the kitchen table.
There’s also the boy Coll keeps seeing at the pool – he’s gorgeous and swims like a shark. She knows she doesn’t stand a chance but there’s no harm in fantasizing about him, what it would be like to be with him…
Then, one chlorine-filled Thursday night, it happens. He asks her out. And so begins a passionate love-affair which finds Coll well and truly in at the deep end…
Coll has just about forgiven Art for assuming that she’ll sleep with him. He’s promised her that they can take things slowly, that the time has to be right for her. But just when is “the right time”? And how will their relationship change afterwards?
There’s only one way to find out. Coll is about to plunge into the first truly passionate relationship of her life and she’s excited, scared, exhilarated… But will she sink, or swim?
Everyone keeps telling Coll she should be over Art by now. However passionate the relationship, however devastating the split – it’s time to move on. Sick of suffering, Coll sets out to make a real change in her life.
And just as she does – Art comes back. Tell her he wants to be “friends”. What game is he playing with her? Coll knows he wants more, and when she’s around him, she does too. It’s anger versus attraction, logic versus longing – and Coll must make her choice.
While Coll's passion for Art is growing – what's he feeling? What does he think of her, how does he see her? And why is he so cut off and cruel sometimes?
And when Coll comes back form Canada, can Art change enough to keep them together?