The Making of Always Anthony

Ah, unexpected pairings. Aren’t they the best? Not just true of romantic relationships, but of friendships, too. I’ve experienced both, and it’s never dull. For example, my marriage is quite the yin-yang mash-up. My husband Mike is a very math-oriented, logical/practical, sci-fi-y dude, whereas I…am not. Okay, I can be practical, but I think that’s partially a product of his influence.

(Yin and Yang, 1996)

ALWAYS ANTHONY features the unexpected friendship of two total opposites…or so it seems. There’s popular, cool-as-a-cucumber Anthony Randall…

(not an actual representation)

…and timid-but-brainy Leah Ruben.

They are paired up because Anthony (kinda like my hubs) is great at science and math but has a harder time with writing. The English teacher, Mrs. Winn, has asked Leah to tutor Anthony to help raise his Language Arts grade. Along the way, Anthony and Leah discover they do have a lot in common, and they develop a blossoming friendship.

Surprises and obstacles ensue. Among them is a bullying incident they both witness which may threaten their budding friendship. You’ll just have to read the book to see what happens.

(Anthony imagines one of the bullies as a hungry bear)

Ultimately, what I really enjoyed about writing this story (like most of my others) was shoving two “opposites” together to see how they’d interact. Although Anthony and Leah are more opposite than most of my pairings, I love all the commonalities that emerge and how they help each other navigate so much along the way…like crushes, passion projects, and – ultimately — how to express their feelings (in different ways).

I do think people in the most enduring “unlikely” relationships end up having unexpected similarities. As I mentioned, my husband and I appear to have little in common on the surface. But over the years, we’ve found that we, in fact, have LOTS in common: values, sensibilities, a habit of eating way too fast (argh), and so much more (I won’t get into our shared workaholic tendencies).

And, thanks to two grown kids, a dog, and almost 28 years of marriage, we also have tons of shared history.

I don’t know if Anthony and Leah will be friends that long, but I do know one thing: if their friendship is meant to be, they’ll find more and more commonalities along the way.

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