Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Memories of High School You - Lora Rivera

As a young adult writer, the foundation for most of my writing starts with my own teenage experience.  Times, fashion and music have changed but that overall quest-for-self is still the same.  So in that spirt, I share these bi-monthly interviews:  Memories of High School You.  Fellow MG and YA authors will share their own spin on the hallowed halls.  If you're interested in participating just drop me a line in the comments.

This week, fellow #wipmadness participant, Blogfest buddy, and Blogger at her Lora Rivera blog shares with us her own high school experience. Lora is another writer I've gotten to know not only on-line but through her words - expect great things! Without further ado, here's high school Lora:

Tell us about your high school, public or private, size, demographic, location?
I attended a small Christian high school in Daytona Beach, FL. My graduating class was 42 strong. Small. You couldn’t get away with too many secrets there.

Were there cliques at your high school?  What were they?  Who did you hang with?
Yes, absolutely. First, there was a divide between those who identified as Christian and those who were merely going to a Christian school. Then from those two groups, the cliques stratified in the usual way, each group having its share of athletes and band geeks, choir kids and outsiders, upstarts, etc.

I was an outsider for most of my high school experience, with few friends though I took part in many clique-forming activities--band, choir, sports, praise team (yeah, that’s right.)
J.Ro here - Praise team? I mean, okay that could be cool, I wouldn't mind a praise team - "Oh Lora, you're so awesome. Your hair is perfect today. Great jeans." Have a hunch that's not what you mean :0)
Did you have a memorable teacher?  Good or bad?  How did they influence you?
My English teacher. Won’t name her. TERRIBLE. We read Christian cul-de-sac soft  romance collections in place of classics. She couldn’t pronounce the word “mix,” always saying “mex.” “Mexed” up “sit” and “set” continually. I think the fact that an educator could be so incapable spurred me to strive for excellence in my own writing.

Did you have an inkling as a teenager that you would become a writer?
Yeah. That or an aerospace engineer :) Wasn’t sure.

What book had the biggest impact on you as a high school student?  How?
Honestly, and this is going to sound cheesy, but it might’ve been Harry Potter. First off, we weren’t supposed to read those books. They were bad, evil, demonic, Satan books, after all. I remember going over to my BFF’s house one night to watch Smallville. I noticed her brooding, disaster-prone goth little brother (he went to the neighboring public school), reading the first HP. I asked him about it and was horrified. Witches?? Wizards?? MAGIC??? This boy’s going straight to H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks.  

And then, oh, and then! . . . I borrowed it. And oh if there’s a heaven on Earth, I was in it.
Sounds like a classic preacher's kid story :0) Not that I want to get preachy, but really? Really?
What band could you not get enough of in high school?  Were you an album or a CD kid?  Cover art you remember?
I’m the biggest nerd in history. I loved Broadway musicals. In high school, I could’ve performed the whole Les Mis or Phantom without missing a beat.

What was the fashion rage - the one article of clothing you either got, or didn’t get that rocked your world?
We wore uniforms :<  BUT. Because we wore neutral-gender trousers that fastened practically at our armpits, girls would buy larger sizes and wear them unzipped and folded down so they sat snug at the hips. That and hair ribbons...
At my uniform school, shoes were the tell.
What hobbies, activities, sports were you involved in that influence your writing today?
I think the religious experience overall has influenced my writing the most. But that’s a topic for another discussion.

Good kid or wild child or a little of both?  Details? (Mwaahaa)
SOOOO embarrassingly good. My hot surfer boyfriend, srsly hottest guy in school with washboard abs, broke up with me because--get this--he went to a party where there’d be drinking and didn’t tell me because he knew I wouldn’t want to go. (Drinking, even off campus,  was an expulsion-worthy offense, along with smoking, drugs, sex . . .) When I found out, I was mad and disappointed and told my mom, cuz we were buddies and all, and she (unbeknownst to me) called his mother. This story does not have a happy ending.
Did you have a favorite phrase or slang word?
Frick (which was a euphemism and would still land you in detention)

Who was your bestie?  Your frenemy?  Your sworn enemy?  Did you ever have one that switched to another?  Why?
Bestie was the girl I took to Napa and SF a few weeks ago :)
Sworn enemy was this gorgeous other outsider girl who was uber-Christian just like me, Drum Major, just like me, singer, um, like me, competing with me for top of the class along with every single one of my boyfriends. And better than me at almost all of the above. I think we were just too similar.

If you could say one thing to your high school you, what would you say?
It’s okay not to be yourself. That’s way too hard right now. Besides, you’re still finding out who you are. So relax, and if you can’t relax, that’s okay too.

How do we find you now?
Twitter: @lroseriver


  1. Great interview, Jaye and Lora! We all have memories from high school, good and bad. It was fun to hear yours, Lora. I agree that it's okay to for the youth to try new things and find out who they are. Discovery of oneself is synonymous with high school.

  2. These are really interesting. I think it focuses in so well on everyone's individual circumstances and personalities, but also provides common ground for people as well.

  3. Harry Potter, devil books? Maybe if you count the fact that they make me want to ignore doing good things, like sleep, for instance. LOL

    Great interview!

  4. So E.R., Jenna, and Lydia - when can I interview you?

  5. Wow, such a cool interview! You had such a different experience than most, Lora! And that's so cool that your bestie is still a bestie. :-)

  6. Who knew? We're such a diverse group, aren't we? Thanks for sharing, Lora.

  7. Great interview, Lora. Waaaay different than my HS experience. I laughed at the Harry Potter anecdote - and at that mishap with the boyfriend, though it sounds like he brought it on himself. ;)

  8. It's fascinating how just about everybody has high school in common, but the experiences can be really different, too.

  9. Awww, poor little high school self. I cringe for you. :)

    Thanks for your lovely preamble, Jaye, and for having me on the blogroll.

    It really is fascinating how different we writers are, yet still coming from the same general backgrounds. Guess our MCs aren't too different, in that respect....

  10. Love this! Thanks for posting Jaye Robin, and great interview, Lora!


Hey, do you ever wonder why they call it 'your two cents?'