Books or Bust
Hello there! Skylar here, ready to chat about my new college age novel Rim Shot. One of the areas that I explored in the novel with Micah’s character was the financial burden of going to college. Maybe I just missed them, but I haven’t read too many NA romances addressing the problem of college and money that plagues so many students. In Rim Shot, Micah is not only paying for his schooling but also struggling over his living situation.
What inspired me was my connection to this issue when I was in school, and my continued concern for young students today who struggle to attend college. Some students are blessed, and their biggest worry is whether to pledge a fraternity or attend a rock concert. My nephew, for example, did not work until he graduated from college. He was free to see his girlfriend, concentrate on his academic, and play sports for fun.
In contrast, my sister and I paid our own way through college with student loans. We had part time jobs, and I often ate cheaply and skipped extracurricular activities. Cup o Noodles and cereal were a staple for me back then. Yet I was lucky. I had family support and encouragement my entire education.
In Rim Shot, Micah lacks this support. He also needs a cheap place to move, and his ex has made his current roommate situation impossible. I wanted to show this side of getting an education. I wanted to explore the real life stress of paying for books and classes and housing.
Even Micah is fortunate in my eyes. I have met some young men and women recently who attend school and are hungry… or even homeless. The idea of having to choose between buying a meal or buying a textbook—that was a level of financial struggle I had never considered and it stunned me.
A strong character is often judged by his muscles. Micah is strong because of his fierce determination. His desire to have his education and his dream of being a doctor gives him inner strength.
Here is a small teaser of Micah on his money problems:
I pulled my scrub top on over my head as soon as I was through the door, dropping my backpack on the unoccupied seat next to me. Job number one would be starting in fifteen minutes, and all I wanted was to go home and pull the covers over me. Only my house was no longer a home. Living there was soul-sucking. And I had nowhere else to go. I was royally screwed.
Unless I got a miracle.
Luckily, Micah gets that chance when he becomes Kyle’s roommate. Falling in love is not in Micah’s plans, of course, but Kyle is too sweet to turn away. Although not rich by any stretch of the imagination, Kyle is comfortable and has an athletic scholarship. One of Kyle’s best traits, though, is he understands that he is lucky. He is sensitive to the fact that Micah’s experiences are vastly different. Kyle’s struggles are not financial, but he does struggle with the social part of college and with his feelings of isolation.
One of my favorite aspects of writing Rim Shot was the conflict between these two felt real. They had to expand their life’s vision in order to connect and understand each other.
And isn’t that what college is for? To explore where you are going? To go beyond where you have been?
It sure was for me.
Can college roommates go from friends to lovers?
Kyle: I’m confident that with hard work, my position as point guard can carry me from rural Indiana to the NBA. I also know I’m attracted to guys, but admitting it might disappoint my father, who is all I have in this world. I have big dreams, so I’ll stay in the closet. As long as my life remains scandal-free, I have a shot.
Micah: My large family can’t spare the money to help with my education, but that won’t stop me from studying medicine. I needed to get out of the house I was sharing with my ex before I went insane. Luckily, I heard about a guy looking for a roommate. Living with a straight jock won’t be easy, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take.
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Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Skylar dreams about spending her days writing her novels, walking along the beach, and making more time for her good friends. On a shoestring budget, Skylar has traveled all over in her early years. Although, lately, the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still loves to chat with people from all around the globe.