Today we have a mini-interview with teenage author and publisher, Bailey J. Thompson! We also have an excerpt from her book Yellow Socks and Blood Spots. The book is about the hard hitting topic of teen pregnancy and abortion. Check out the synopsis:
“Two lines means pregnant, and pregnant is the very last thing seventeen-year-old Isabelle wanted to be. She’s just beginning her senior year, she’s rekindling the respectable relationship she once had with her family and she has finally fallen in love.
Her boyfriend, Jason wants an abortion, while Isabelle wants to give her baby a chance at life, whether that means adoption or raising her baby herself. Her situation raises a question of values, beliefs, rights, societal expectations and personal opinions, and as Isabelle’s friends and family discover the news, they seem to think they know what’s best for her and her baby. Within two weeks of finding out about their beautiful disaster, Isabelle and Jason have to come to a mutual agreement and make a life and death decision.”
Tell us about yourself.
19-years-old. Writer. Workaholic. Author of YA novels, writer of kid's picture books. Photographer. Nature-lover.
Not only are you an author, but you've started your own publishing company! You're definitely following your dreams. What advice do you have for aspiring authors or future publishers out there?
Dream big and don't give up. They say a lot of people give up just as they're about to succeed. So if you're struggling or you've hit a road block, don't let it stop you... chances are success is just around the corner. It's a tough market sometimes, and you really just have to believe!
Your book, Yellow Socks and Blood Spots, takes a hard look at the choices women have when it comes to pregnancy and their bodies. When you began writing was it always a desire to write about hard hitting topics, or was it just about telling your story?
This one was just a story that needed to be told. I think seeing a couple of my peers go through similar situations was eye-opening and really made me want to explore it in a way that could inspire and support other young women that are going through similar situations. Sometimes it's nice just to know you're not alone and books have this remarkable way of showing this.
Excerpt from Yellow Socks and Blood Spots:
Two pink lines.
I rubbed my eyes; hoping to escape the dreamy haze that had come over me. The small bathroom seemed misty, probably from the last person who’d had a shower or possibly because my eyes were still foggy from having woken up just minutes before. Or maybe, much more profoundly, it was because the news was just so surreal.
Two pink lines.
That’s what two pink lines meant.
I pulled up my PJ pants, and washed my hands before glancing back at the long pregnancy test stick that was now balanced like a teeter-totter on the edge of the counter top. The two pink lines, still visible on the small circular screen weren’t faint like I was expecting. They were so obnoxiously obvious, it was impossible to miss either of them.
I’d been expecting a rush of tears, or even a strong feeling of anger, fear or regret to come over me. But I felt nothing, except the sudden urge to climb back into bed, just like every other early morning.
Was there some way that I was supposed to feel? I was seventeen-years-old, in a relationship that had only lasted a few months so far, living under my parent’s roof with nothing for financial support except a part-time job. I imagined I should feel a level of devastation, confusion, tension, stress or sadness, at least something that showed I understood what it meant, but I still felt nothing.
I wiped the mirror with the palm of my hand, making a clear window in the fog.
My long brown hair, which was usually down past my shoulders was up in a messy ponytail. The make-up that I’d worn yesterday, which wasn’t much more than a little brown eyeliner and mascara, was slightly smudged, and my hazel eyes were a little early-morning bloodshot. I was dressed in a black tank top that outlined my figure and fluffy striped PJ bottoms. I looked like the typical teenager who had just woken up, not one who just found out that her life was about to be drastically changed by the possible presence of a child. Not just any child either; my own child. That was a big deal, but so far, even that didn’t faze me, unless my lack of response could just be considered shock.
I decided that the news would hit me later. Maybe once I’d woken up fully, maybe when my parents found out, or maybe I’d have to wait until the first time I could feel the baby kick inside of me to really realize what was happening. Or maybe it would hit me when I had to tell Jason.
I was already picturing his reaction as I confirmed our fears.
The look of love in his deep brown eyes would fade to that of fear and anger, not towards me, but towards himself. His eyebrows would grow firmer, and his mouth would be straight, hiding his perfect smile.
Just thinking about how much it would hurt him and my heart sank. This wasn’t exactly what he needed, and he wasn’t the type of guy that would just walk away from the problem either.
I kind of smiled just thinking about him, feeling relief and comfort from his imaginary presence. Jason wasn’t tall, but he was built. What he didn’t have in height, he made up for in muscle. He had short blackish brown hair that was always either gelled and spiked or concealed with a white Nike hat, and sometimes occasionally free to do what it pleased.
His skin was a gorgeous caramel popcorn colour, softer than a baby‘s bum and overly kissable; always warm to the touch of my lips. He had a well-sculpted nose, an addictive smile and a deep attractive voice.
My mom had always called him a “pretty boy” for being so well groomed with such killer style. Her nickname wasn’t far off either; he was absolutely stunning, but not in the sense that he tried to be, it just came naturally.
Ironically, it had never been his appearance that had caught my attention. Sure he was cute but it was more curiosity that caught me when I realized that there was more than meets the eye when it came to Jason. He certainly wasn’t an open book, and not somebody who you could read just from a glance. Maybe it’s a bit of a bold statement, but I’d say that Jason was rather mysterious.
His reputation said he was full of himself with dollar signs in his eyes and a personality that resembled an idiot. Getting to know Jason revealed the opposite; a down-to-earth, insanely smart guy with humongous dreams, and an even bigger heart. Though, that’s not something he’d admit to just anybody.
It only took a couple months to find out that Jason’s true self and his reputation were complete opposites.
He was undoubtedly in love with himself, but it never seemed to be overbearing or even cocky. It was just an extreme level of confidence or high self-esteem, which soon translated to sheer attractiveness. He came from a well-off family, and had generally led what many would consider to be a spoiled life, but he was grounded. He had good values, and despite having an infatuation for money, he also had an appreciation for some of the real things in life; like sunrises, and long deep conversations. He had good balance.
What I eventually learned about Jason was that he was one-of-a-kind. He was unique. There’s a common theme that happens in every high school, the presence of cliques and then stereotypes. In each class, there is the class clown, the nerd, the jock, the slut, the pretty girl and so on. In each school, everybody fits into a group, there’s the popular group, the nerds, the Goths, the gamers. Of course, our high school was no different. We certainly did have the popular group, the nerds, the athletes, but then on top of all that, there’s Jason.
It’s not that he doesn’t fit in; it’s just that he is a unique individual. He is athletic, but not a jock. He is smart, but wouldn’t fit in with the nerd group even though he gets along with them. He’s witty and funny but definitely not the class clown. His family has money, but he isn’t considered the rich kid. He’s cute, but certainly not a stud. He’s not super-popular, but he’s also not a nobody, because everybody seems to know his name.
He is just an individual and there’s something really intriguing about that.
When I first met him, he told me that he had the personality of a dry leaf, and was generally heartless and unlovable, but he was good for an interesting conversation. I later discovered that not only was he good for an excellent conversation, he had an intricate personality that was hard not to fall in love with.
It took a few months to let go of the Jason that he was perceived to be, and accept the Jason that he really was. That was when I slowly began to admit to myself that maybe… We could be good together.
Although, maybe too good together.
I shoved the pregnancy test and it’s packaging into my sweater pocket, put on a straight face and prepared myself to escape downstairs to my bedroom, avoiding running into anyone in my family since the strange bulge in my sweater could have been questionable.
The house was quiet. I knew that both my parents were in their bedroom getting ready for the day, and both my elementary school brother and high school sister had already left for school. I couldn’t hear any footsteps close to me, so I rushed towards the stairwell and then down the stairs.
I fell to the bed in my bedroom. Well, it wasn’t much of a bedroom. A few weeks before, Jason and I had the bright idea that my plain brown walls could use a splash of colour: specifically lime green. Removing the carpet revealed that the inside of the wall was covered in mould. Tearing down the wall revealed absolutely no clues as to where the mould had come from or whether there was a leak, so I was left without a room until a heavy rain could make a leak apparent if there was one.
Instead, I was huddled on a mattress in the downstairs family room surrounded by my father’s tradeshow booth portable wall for privacy.
At the least, it was in a cozy corner. It wasn’t like what I was used to in my bedroom though; it was missing the neatness, mounds of fluffy pillows, bright light, a couple of picture frames displaying photos of the family pets, or some of the little candle holders or modern decorations I’d picked up over the years. All of the contents of my bedroom were shoved into a disorganized mess in a dusty room downstairs. All I had access to was my mattress, a couple of fuzzy throw pillows, ultra-soft blankets and a mat I had taken from my room just to make my new little abode a little more friendly.
There was even a candle in the corner to keep it familiar, but I didn’t dare light it. Mom hated candles, and considering that you could see my corner from the top of the stairs, I knew I wouldn’t be able to hide it from her. I knew she’d take one glance downstairs, see the flame and grow frantic.
The whole set up was incredibly uncomfortable, but it was the most that I could ask for while my room was going through renovations. Despite the fact that my clothes were shoved in boxes and my belongings were scattered throughout the basement, I kept calm reminding myself that this was only temporary.
The only thing that really bothered me was the lack of privacy. I’d always been a considerably private person who needed plenty of time and room to myself, and this room wasn’t all that private.
Had anyone even wished to get into my things or discover something about me, it wouldn’t have been too difficult. I’d always been a very cautious person when it came to sharing personal details with people, and always grew nervous in moments when I’d unintentionally shared too much with somebody, or they’d somehow stumbled upon something that they shouldn’t have.
At the time of moving into the room, I didn’t have too much of a problem with the lack of privacy considering I didn’t have very much to hide. Overnight, that had changed.
I reached into my pocket for the test, and grew frightened as I realized it wasn’t there. Fear began to race through my spine as I began to wonder if it had fallen out. I couldn’t help but imagine that lonely test laying on the floor of the hallway, and my dad as he walked from his bedroom being forced to step over it. I knew him well enough to know that he wouldn’t just step over it, he’d pick it up and examine it, then he’d call my mom, and together they would figure out their plan of action.
For a moment, I felt sick to my stomach, as though I could cry just from being so careless with the revealing stick. I held my breath for a moment, told myself to calm down, and then reached into my other pocket, only to discover that it was there. I could feel the utter relief cross over me as I stared at the test.
I’d almost forgotten what it had meant, in the moments of thinking that it was lost, but as I stared at the two solid pink lines, the news hit me again.
It was still too early to think about what this meant; too early to register how drastically having a baby would change my life. Too early to realize what a baby would do to my busy lifestyle, or that my part-time, fifteen-hour a week job wasn’t going to cover the cost of a baby.
Too early to consider that I planned on spending my next summer driving to BC, and the year travelling, working, while possibility continuing my studies.
It was far too early to even place myself into the position of raising a child and becoming responsible for another being.
I suspected it hadn’t hit me fully yet because it was still only a possibility or a potential. There was still time to turn around and change the outcome. I hated the thought of that.
I had always thought seeing those two pink lines would resemble a happy time. I could only think of a woman who had been trying for a baby, crying out in joy as the two pink lines appeared in the small circular window. I could see her rushing to tell the baby’s father, who would then smile uncontrollably for days after.
I had even thought about my future self, and how I would tell Jason in a few years time that we were having a child. I could imagine myself fumbling with the test in the bathroom while Jason slept in the adjacent bedroom. I could envision holding my breath to prevent myself from screaming in excitement as the two lines appeared on the stick.
Then, as Jason slept, I would rush downstairs to the kitchen to prepare an omelette, or whatever was Jason’s breakfast preference at that time.
The table would be set with a plate and cutlery for me, another set for him at the end of the table, and across from both of us, I would place a couple baby spoons.
Jason would stumble into the kitchen, his hair a mess and his eyes baggy. He would walk over and kiss me on the cheek. Surprised that I made him breakfast, he would ask if I needed any help before sitting down at the table.
My stomach would be fluttering as he sat down, and I’d watch mesmerized as he would rub his eyes a little more to wake himself up. As his vision got clearer, he would notice the extra setting at the table. He would study it for a minute and then the presence of a bright blue baby spoon would hit him.
He would hop out of his seat, twirl me in the air and kiss me on the nose; “We’re having a baby?!” he’d scream over and over again.
He’d be too excited to eat the food I’d made, but would spend the rest of the morning dancing around the house in excitement as he tried to get ready for his day. And that addictive attractive smile… it would be impossible to wipe off for a very long time.
That was what finding out you were bringing another human being into the world was supposed to be like… happy.
Instead, my body was beginning to quiver with numbing fear.
Bailey J Thompson is a teenage author that resides in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. She has been storytelling since the moment she could talk, and has since developed passions for creative writing, photography, nature and the environment. Yellow Socks and Blood Spots is her debut novel.
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