Betty Plum has never been in love. She's never even kissed a boy. But when H.O.T. Toby starts school it's like Betty has been hit with a thousand of Cupid's arrows. It's like a bomb has exploded - a love bomb! More than ever Betty wishes her mum hadn't died when Betty was a baby. She really needs her mum here to ask her advice. And that's when she finds hidden letters for just these moments. Letters about what your first kiss should feel like and what real love is all about . Is Betty ready to fall in love? Will she finally have her first kiss?
Love Bomb was published in the UK by Bloomsbury on March 12th. It's the second book in the Ladybird series and follow up to last year's excellent Flirty Dancing. I'm really looking forward to reading it and am very excited to be part of this blog tour - thanks to Jenny for the below post!
Love (Bomb) Letters
by Jenny McLachlan
Love Bomb, my second book in the Ladybird series is published on 12th March. This time, it’s Betty telling the story. I’ll sum her up in three words: very, crazy, hats. The book opens on her fifteenth birthday when she first sets eyes on the mind-bogglingly attractive Toby. For Betty, gazing at Toby feels like having an electric shock. In a first draft, I was more precise and said it was like being electrocuted by a train, but this was taken out during editing for being too unrealistic. After all, who survives being electrocuted by a train? Me! It actually happened to me, so I can confidently say that massively fancying someone is similar to getting a dangerous electric shock.
Toby’s appearance in Betty’s life, along with a girlfriend for her dad, turns her world upside down. Unsure who to turn to, she discovers secret letters in the attic written from her mum; Betty’s mum died when she was two and these letters were written as a gift to Betty. All stories have a starting point, and Love Bomb began with the idea of these letters.
After I had my first daughter, I decided to write her a letter, just in case anything should ever happen to me. Hormones, sleep deprivation and her tiny fingernails had made me very emotional. I remember staring at the sheet of paper and realising that words couldn’t describe the love I felt for this angry-looking, spotty baby. Around the same time, I watched a documentary about mothers with terminal illnesses who create ‘memory boxes’ for their children. Probably not the best viewing for an already maudlin new mum, but I was struck by the calm, practical and loving way these women went about creating memory boxes for their children. In particular, I remember one mum putting a bottle of her perfume in the box; she needed to be more than a memory for her child – she needed to be a physical presence.
I started to imagine what a mum might write in letters to a daughter she knew she would never watch grow up. What stories would she tell? What messages about life would she want to share? Then I wondered how a teenager might feel reading these letters; I pictured a girl coming downstairs on her fifteenth birthday and seeing just such a letter waiting for her. The girl became Betty and this image developed into Love Bomb.