Hayleigh King is a young lesbian writer from Glasgow, whose first book ‘Tales of a Teenage Heart’ is being published by local press this year. Hayleigh has kindly agreed to tell us a little about her book and her experiences writing it.
My name is Hayleigh King and I am 18 years old. I live at home with my mother and 7 brothers and sisters and my girlfriend of almost 2 years. I have written this book because I wanted to show young people that there is always someone out there who will love and support you no matter what. I believe that stories like these have to be told and I am incredibly passionate about telling them.
I left school with 2 Highers and a college place studying Social Sciences. Everyone thought I had it all together and knew what I wanted but, honestly, I had no clue at all. In the four years previous to leaving school I had wanted to be a Sports Psychologist, go into the Army, a teacher and finally a Politician. I know what you are thinking, I had no clue whatsoever.
So I started college and let everyone believe that I knew what I wanted and I was happy with it. But truthfully I loathed every day of it. Eventually I started skipping college and just walking around town until I was supposed to finish. Until one day, my mum caught me. Her friend saw me walking around town and told her right away. I am by no means condemning skipping class but for me it was the right thing to do because mum agreed to let me leave college as long as I promised to find a job. I searched and searched but I found nothing. I began to give up and stop looking, I was too proud to go sign on and no one was hiring me.
One night I was in my bedroom, bored, with nothing to do so I grabbed my notepad and pen. All of these ideas came rushing to my head and I started to mind map my characters. They were building up in my head from the second I put pen to paper and already I knew I was coming up with something magical. That same night I borrowed my mum’s laptop and started to write.
The first few lines came easily and I let my girlfriend read them. I thought it sounded stupid but she told me she wanted to read more, so I kept writing. Soon enough the first chapter was done. Then the second and third until eventually I had Julia (my girlfriend) and several other people just waiting for the next. Everyone who had read it seemed to love it and that gave me the power and encouragement I needed to keep on going with it. I would lie in bed at night thinking about the characters and wondering what was going to happen next and I know everyone else was doing the same. There was an important story to be told and I was the one doing it. I was helping send the message that there is nothing wrong with being a lesbian, that it was just as normal as being straight.
I knew, I knew as I finished writing “Tales of A Teenage Heart” that I wanted to keep writing, that writing was what I had to do with my life. The final chapter sent people into uproar, some people said they cried, some people said they didn’t want it to end, but the best review was from Julia telling me how perfect it was. I decided myself that I wanted more people to read the story, not just because I had written it but because it was important. The story of Emma and Lucy had to be shared, the love, the passion, the hatred. I knew the story could help people. Much like Harry Potter might do for some people I believed that “Tales Of A Teenage Heart” could send people into their own world where they could enjoy the love shared and become part of the story. A world where they didn’t have to worry about being a lesbian or being gay or a transsexual or bisexual. A world where they could be themselves.
That is why I started writing, because when there is a story that important, I want to be the one to tell it. I believe that written words can reach people more than spoken words I believe that in the book world you can come to the realisation that it isn’t so bad to be yourself, you are amazing, and the moment you realize that, other people will too. So I do encourage other people to start writing, whether it be a book, a blog or even just a journal, somewhere you can create your own private little world, because it will help you and who knows, you may have an important story to tell too.
Thanks for sharing your story Hayleigh! The book hasn’t been released yet but here’s the blurb for ‘Tales of a Teenage Heart’:
Lucy Gilmore is a confused 19 year old college student from New York who is struggling to tell her parents she is a lesbian. Her favourite magazine writer Emma Brandon thinks she has an idea in which her parents, who are traditional Catholics, will find out she is a lesbian and accept it. But will everything go to plan? Or will enlisting the help of openly homosexual Julia Phenderghast, lead singer of Conflicted!, send the family into uproar?
A story for all teenagers who are struggling, like Lucy, to “come out of the closet”, this story will teach people everywhere that it is okay to be different and that no matter how bad it gets there will always be someone there to love and support you. Someone you may not even know right now, but they are out there, just waiting to help you.