Laurie Elizabeth Flynn writes contemporary fiction for young adults. Her debut, Firsts, is out now with Thomas Dunne Books/St Martin’s Press.
Laurie went to school for Journalism, where the most important thing she learned was that she would rather write made-up stories than report the news. She also worked as a model, a job that took her overseas to Tokyo, Athens, and Paris.
Laurie now lives in London, Ontario with her husband Steve, who is very understanding when she would rather spend time with the people in her head. Laurie can mostly be found writing happily at her desk, with the world’s most spoiled Chihuahua on her lap. Laurie drinks way too much coffee, snorts when she laughs, and times herself when she does crossword puzzles.
Laurie is represented by the amazing Kathleen Rushall of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Connect with the Author:Sometimes, the only way to find out what a place means to you is to not be in it anymore.
In my debut novel, Firsts, Mercedes can’t wait to get out of her Southern California suburb. She desperately wants to attend MIT and start the next chapter in her life. But her desire to move away isn’t just about embarking on the college experience. She also wants to escape—her frivolous, shallow mother, the traumatic events in her past, and the mess she’s making in her present. In the second chapter, she says, “I can’t wait to get out, and this particular morning marks the start of my last six months here.”
Mercedes is not based on me in any way, but maybe some of her need for flight was inspired subconsciously by my own urge to be somewhere else—not just one place, but a lot of somewhere elses. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t want to get out of Canada. It’s not that I didn’t love the country I was born and raised in—it was that I always felt like to be accomplishing something, I had to be moving and experiencing new things far from home. I had to be in a constant state of flux, living out of a suitcase, without any roots.
And experience new things I did. I lived in Paris, less than five minutes from the gorgeous Sacré Coeur church in Montmartre. I celebrated my birthday in Tokyo on a day that involved both an earthquake and a fireworks show. I learned how to take public transit in Athens and visited some seriously stunning beaches. I camped in the Okavango Delta in Botswana and hiked Victoria Falls in Zambia. I went zip lining and waterfall rappelling in Costa Rica.
But after all of those adventures, there was still one place I wanted to get back to. Canada.
Last summer, I was lucky enough to see more of my own country. I took a road trip and explored Alberta, British Columbia, the Yukon, and even the Northwest Territories, briefly. I drank tea overlooking Lake Louise and drove to the top of a mountain in remote Keno City, where I felt like I was literally on top of the world. I visited famous Canadian author Jack London’s cabin in Dawson City. I saw bears and bison and wolverines and bald eagles. I was able to fully realize how vast and amazing this country is—and how much of it I still haven’t seen.
They say home is where the heart is. Many places have had my heart, but none more so than Canada. I love the wild land and open spaces, the mountains and lakes, the poutine and ketchup chips, the ice wine, the famous maple syrup. I still want to see as much as I can of the world, but I no longer feel like I have to leave home to accomplish anything. I’m perfectly content in my own tiny piece of Canadian paradise—my backyard—with my Chihuahua on my lap and an open Word document in front of me.
And no matter where my travels take me, I’ll always end up right back here where I belong. I hope that Mercedes finds that place too—even if it’s where she least expects it.
Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.
Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.
When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.
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