Thomas Locke

Romantic Twists in ‘Recruits’

Recruits by Thomas LockeIn Recruits, my upcoming sci-fi novel for young adults, 17-year-old twins fall in love. There are three issues at work in this scenario.

First, everybody loves a good romantic angle. Well, okay. I love a great romance. I love how it spices up even the taut friction of a solid thriller.

Second, it was two guys, both trying to work out who they were. The romance of Dillon, who came to it first, is a means of solidifying the personality of the more vulnerable twin.

Dillon is the fighter. But he’s also the guy who doesn’t quite know how to express himself, or think about himself. He’s lonely, he’s hurting, and he’s not complete. The romance becomes the mirror he needs.

The thinker of the twins, Sean, is never lonelier than when Dillon finds a girl and he does not.

Sean is cast into the impossible role of needing to be happy and support his brother, when he is hungry to have the same type of relationship that Dillon has.

He yearns for Dillon’s girlfriend, and wishes she had a twin. It is an impossible situation, and yet Sean grows through it.

The third issue has two segments:

Every early relationship is THE relationship. There are no casual first loves. They don’t come in half measures. If they do, it’s because of an internal wounded state that creates havoc when the young person first encounters deep emotional feelings for the opposite sex.

That is not my opinion. This is a core component of counseling for teens.

And here’s the kicker… A basic rule of psychiatric studies is this:

The strongest friendships within marriages are generally forged between two people who meet young, marry young, and manage to stay in love.

My favorite scene from Recruits

There is a moment when Sean, the man, is revealed for the first time. He has returned to the class where they are being trained as interstellar travelers.

It is a very hard moment for him. His brother is in love. Their lives are being torn apart and reshaped, much of it good and much of it very hard. Sean is as alone as he has ever been in his entire life.

Then his newfound girlfriend arrives. Up to this point, he has been the fumbling teen. He speaks well with her, better than he ever has with a girl. But it is all superficial.

And then, in that moment, they have their first argument. It really doesn’t mean much as a quarrel, except that Sean is forced to admit that he has no idea what is going on. He can’t handle all this, he can’t even define it; his emotions are a whirlwind…

And she comforts him.

Sean has never known this before. Not the vulnerability required to arrive at this juncture, nor the gift of caring at such a soul-deep level.

I found myself caring so much for them at this point. I hope it comes through with the readers as well.

Pre-Order Recruits

Recruits releases February 14, 2017 (Valentine’s Day. Ironic?). Click here to pre-order your copy from your favorite online bookseller.

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