Hi, I’m C.M. Lievens, author of A Good Enough Reason.
I’m often asked how I work, how much I manage to write a day, things like that. Readers seem fascinated by the writing process. To be honest, I myself enjoy reading about how other authors work.
There’s no right or wrong when you write, just right or wrong for you. I write novellas and novels differently. I don’t plan novellas much, except for a general concept, but novels like A Good Enough Reason are different. They’re longer, so it’s harder to keep everything under control as I write. I’m a bit of a control freak, so generally my first drafts are very close to what will be the finished novel because I need to have everything ready before I start writing.
I always begin with a phrase, a character, a scene, whatever sparks the idea. In the case of A Good Enough Reason, my characters came first. Mark, Ellis’s bully, was the first to appear, followed by my two main characters, Ellis and Dale. I had a pretty good idea of them as soon as they appeared in my mind, so it was easy to know how they would react to the things I’d put them through.
I already had some scenes in mind that I knew had to happen, like the scene where Dale kisses Ellis for the first time. I couldn’t start from there, though, because I’m a linear writer. I can’t seem to write out of order, and I also need to do all my research and plan all the details before I start writing. If I don’t, I get blocked while writing, and it’s harder to start writing again.
So I started making a list of scenes I knew had to happen, all in notebooks, because I plot better when I write by hand. Once I had those, I added scenes that would link the scenes I already had together, and scenes that would help readers get to know my boys and the people in their lives. Some of the scenes I’d planned consisted in just a line, for example Ellis is home with his parents, some had snippets of conversation that came to me as I planned, some had precise descriptions of what happened during the scene.
Then I started writing.
I didn’t follow my scene list too closely—some scenes were cancelled as I wrote, others were added. Some scenes were moved around. But I knew the general plan, and the final result is A Good Enough Reason.
Author Name: C.M. Lievens
Book Title: A Good Enough Reason
Release Date: May 23, 2016
Length: 68441 words/220 pages
Categories: Contemporary, New Adult
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover artist: Bree Archer
High school seniors Ellis and Dale are as different as day and night, or so Ellis believes. Ellis loves to write, while Dale loves soccer. Ellis has only a handful of friends, and Dale is Mr. Popularity. But when they’re partnered up for an AP English project, Ellis learns different can be good. Really good.
Dale Stephens has it all: friends, a hot girlfriend, mad soccer skills—and a secret. He’s bisexual, but because he’s never been in love with a boy, it’s always been easier to keep that part of himself hidden. Until Ellis changes everything.
As their love grows, Dale realizes it’s Ellis he wants to be with—only he’s not ready for the world to know about them, especially after the way his mom reacts to the news.
But when they are outed by a bully who has made a career out of tormenting Ellis, Dale and Ellis must face down their fears and try to stay together. What will happen when the bully goes too far? Will Ellis come out of it unscathed?
The locker door slammed closed, and Ellis jumped away from it. He didn’t need to look to know who’d done it. It was Mark, always Mark.
Mark was already walking away, and Ellis let out a relieved sigh. He never knew how to react when Mark decided to target him. If he talked back, it would only make things worse, but then so would staying silent. There wasn’t a right way to stand up to Mark, and Ellis’s only way to avoid the bullying was to stay away from him in the first place.
He opened his locker again and quickly exchanged the books in his backpack with those he needed for his next class.
No one ever said anything to Mark. It was like he became invisible as soon as he started insulting Ellis, not that Ellis actually expected anyone to say something. It would have been nice if they’d tried, but no one wanted to become Mark’s new target. Ellis understood that. He wouldn’t want that for his worst enemy, who, ironically, was Mark.
“Sooo… are you going to help me write my essay?”
Ellis turned to face his best friend, Anna. Well, second best friend. Matthew, Ellis’s best friend since they were in diapers, had moved right after the end of the previous school year. “What, not even a hello?”
“Oh, hello, El. Now, are you going to help me write my essay or not?”
“I reminded you to do it yesterday evening, but did you even listen to me?”
Anna stuck her tongue out. “You’re such a nerd.”
“Yeah, but this nerd won’t help you with the essay.”
“Aww, come on. Please?”
“You should know batting your lashes at me won’t work.” Ellis knew he would cave in eventually. It wouldn’t be the first lunch break he’d spent helping Anna do her homework, and it wouldn’t be the last either. “You know, you could have done it yesterday if you hadn’t spent so much time on the phone with Rick.”
Anna pushed Ellis with her shoulder. “You’re just jealous because you don’t have a boyfriend.”
Ellis snorted. “As if. I don’t need any more problems right now.”
“A boyfriend wouldn’t be a problem. Everyone needs romance. It’s what makes life bearable.”
“It’s not. My life is nice and completely bearable as it is, thank you very much.”
“Your life is boring.”
“Don’t care.” Ellis closed his locker and shouldered his bag. “We’re going to be late.”
“Ugh, I hate chemistry.”
“You hate every class.”
“It’s because I’m not a nerd like you.”
“Having good grades doesn’t make me a nerd.”
“Nope, but loving Star Trek and The Lord of the Rings and all that other crap does, especially since you also read fan fiction.”
Ellis blushed. “Can we talk about something else? Besides, you love fan fiction and The Lord of the Rings as much as I do!”
“But I don’t write about Legolas and Aragorn having sex!”
“Shhh!” It wasn’t that Ellis didn’t want people to know about what he wrote. Okay, maybe he didn’t want them to, and school was the last place he should be talking about it. It wasn’t safe, especially not in the middle of the mostly full hallways. “Mark just passed by.”
The transformation was incredible. Anna went from playful to serious in seconds flat. “Did he do something to you? Did he hurt you?”
“No, he just pushed me around, nothing much.”
“You should tell someone.”
“Yeah, right, so I can be singled out as the school’s tattletale? No, thanks.”
Oh, Ellis knew Anna was right. He knew Mark wouldn’t stop, but telling on him would only make things worse. Even if, thanks to some miracle, Mark ever stopped, he would immediately be replaced by another bully. It was the nerd circle of life, as Ellis saw it, and at least he knew what to expect with Mark.
Review by Elaine White
Book – A Good Enough Reason
Author – C.M. Lievens
Star rating – ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 200
Cover – So Cute!
POV – 3rd person, past tense, dual POV
Would I read it again – Yes! In a heartbeat!
Genre – Young Adult (for the characters ages and experiences), Contemporary, High School, 18+ (for the explicit content)
** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **
*Though I’d never want to spoil this book for readers, there are topics I have to discuss – *cough* praise – so THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD*
Trigger Warnings: rape attempt, bullying, stalking, coming out
WOW! I’m in love with this book. Totally, helplessly, madly in love.
Hallelujah! My book slump is over, thanks to this incredible, witty, lovely book. It’s been a while since I’ve started a book and become so excited about where the plot might go, what might happen to the characters and literally begging for a happy ending.
I’ll admit, I’ve missed the YA genre so much. This one is a perfect example of why – awkward teenagers, high school situations that send me back to being 16-18 years old, coming out problems and the whole jock vs geek dilemma. There wasn’t anything in this that I wanted and didn’t get.
I loved everything about this book. The characterization was incredible, the plot frighteningly believable and the tough subjects – bullying, coming out, attempted rape, stalking, dealing with being secretly gay/bisexual – were all handled with such tact, sensitivity, and realism that I felt like I became an 18-year-old again, for a few hours. I felt like I was back in high school, reliving all the awkward moments while rooting for a gay best friend to finally get their happily ever after.
First off, let me just say that Lievens had me at the Platform 9 ¾ t-shirt! I was probably partly sold by that point, but that hooked me and made sure I couldn’t let go.
Dale is so right when he says that Ellis feisty. He’s funny, smart and a total geek – everything I love in a main character. At the same time, Dale is witty, strong and dependable. They had such chemistry together that I never once doubted why they were the main couple of the book or if they should be together.
As for the second characters, I loved them ALL – Ellis’ mum and dad, Dale’s parents (though his mum even less), Connor, Damian and especially Matt and Seth. I didn’t take too well to Anna; she’s a bit too flaky for my liking and she didn’t take it seriously when Ellis was hurt by the bullying – though I give her props for being the first and only person to suggest reporting it. I also didn’t like the emphasis that everyone put on Ellis finding a boyfriend, but that’s just a personal preference thing since he kept saying he didn’t want one and no one was listening.
When it comes to emotions, this was a rollercoaster for me. I’m so glad that I decided to read it while alone in the house, because I laughed out loud, cried and did those ridiculous snorting-while-trying-not-to-laugh-too-loud noises.
My favourite moments were:
For laughter – when both dads did the “birds and the bees” talk; any phone call with Matt; and most scenes with Seth.
For tears – the talk between Connor and Ellis, for sure; the first and second bathroom scenes between Ellis and Mark; both coming out scenes; when a teacher blatantly ignores Mark bullying Ellis and he’s all alone.
I can’t say much more than that without giving it all away.
Now, I have to talk about some of the tougher subjects in detail. The way Lievens tackled the issue of bullying is second to none, in my opinion. I’ve never read a more realistic and heartbreaking portrayal of just how hard it can be and how dangerous – especially in a young adult novel!
It was so sad to see how hard Ellis tried to be strong, throughout the entire book, even when he’s hurting and the teachers just ignore the bullying that is going on so blatantly in front of them. It’s so horribly real. The way he thinks about it, trying to stay under the radar, to keep his distance and not let it affect him, is so adorable but also so devastating at the same time. Yes, he’s trying to protect himself, but it’s not going to make it stop, either.
The best way she described the dangers and fear of bullying is in this quote and I can only say Thank You for it, because it really is the basis of everything that a person thinks when they’re being bullied.
“Mark wasn’t doing anything. He didn’t even talk to Ellis now, but it didn’t mean Ellis didn’t feel threatened.”
If anything, this book shows your the terrifying truth of how quickly and easily bullying can escalate when it goes unreported. Though Ellis’ fear is totally understandable, it’s also frightening to think of what could have happened if he’d stayed silent any longer.
And can I just say add another thank you to the author for portraying a positive gay teacher as a role model. It’s so good to see that Ellis has someone he can turn to, but also someone providing a positive outlook on the future.
“Yeah, I never had a good enough reason to do it, but now, well. You are.” ← This. So many times THIS!! Learning the meaning of the title just made me love it all the more.
This book will be going in my Forever Favourites pile and I will now be eager to gobble up anything Lievens puts into print. I want it all!
Lastly, I really loved Seth and Matt. I’m totally shipping them as Sett all the way (because Meth or Math are just too weird!). They’re the perfect GFY couple, though I’m still very firmly on Team Dallas. So…can there be a sequel? Can we see Matt getting his HEA? With Seth, please? PLEASE??? Make my dreams come true…
I had a few, so just feel lucky I’m not writing out the entire book.
“Sexy senior needs gay date for prom. Date has to be reasonably cute and able to keep up a conversation on books. Only serious offers.”
“I thought I’d meet some hot cowboy when I moved here, but they’re all so painfully straight.”
“Besides, Harry Potter is as good a basis for friendship as anything, if not better.”
““Once it became obvious you’d bring home a bee someday.”
Ellis frowned. “A bee?”
“You know, the birds and bees thing.””
“Ellis could think of very few other things that could mortify him as much as having to watch his dad put a condom on a banana.”
C.M. Lievens is a penname Catherine Lievens uses when she writes stories with little to no sex, and more specifically, Young Adult ones.
She lives in Italy with her husband, three cats, and her son, who luckily isn’t going to be a young adult for many years to come, because Catherine is not prepared for that just yet. She loves to write about different people and situations, hence the need for a penname.
When she’s not putting pen to paper to plot her next story, writing while avoiding her kid’s questions (he’s way too curious for his own good), or talking to her cats, she can be found hiding in the bathroom, because that’s the only place where she can read in peace.
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/CM-Lievens-1659898224299254/