Why Author Taylor Morris Writes About Failed Middle School Friendships

I’m thrilled to welcome prolific Taylor Morris, author of the five-book (so far–wow) Gorgeous series, and titles such as Total Knockout: Tale of an Ex-Class President and Class Favorite to the Mixed Up Files. To learn more about Taylor go to www.taylormorris.com. In this interview, Taylor speaks about her latest single title, BFF Breakup.

1) What compelled you to write a book about best friends who have split?

I realized, sadly, that adults aren’t immune to splitting with a best friend. For a long time I would have guessed that it was something that only happened in school, to tweens and teenagers, as if we adults are so mature that we could never fight, then greatly (greatly) dislike someone we used to call our best friend. So for any kids who read this, I’m sorry to report that you may not be free of these things once you leave school.

2) Do you feel as if there are any significant issues that you would face in middle school when you lost your best friend?

Being alone. Watching friends take sides. Then, through all that, still having to go to class with them, find someone to sit with at lunch, make weekend plans. As an adult we can more easily avoid certain people (unless we work with them) but when you’re in school you’re stuck seeing them every week day and there’s not a lot you can do about it. Aside from homeschooling, which I don’t know much about but sounds kind of boring.

3) Do you think that middle school is a time when best friends are more likely to break up? If so why?

I don’t necessarily thing they’re more likely to break up. I think in middle school you’re learning to stand your ground more, figuring out who you are and what you’re about and maybe for the first time you’re willing to even stand up to your own best friend. But fights with friends can really happen at any age. Haven’t you seen the Real Housewives franchise? Proof right there that there is no age limit on BFF breakups.

4) Did you learn anything about friendship as you were writing your novel?

One big thing I learned is that you’re responsible for how you treat other people, regardless of what’s happening in your life. If you’re having a bad day or going through something traumatic (like Madeline does) that doesn’t give you license to treat your friends poorly. Even if your life is rotten, you can’t be rotten to the people who most want to help you and expect them to take it. And if you do, you should know enough to apologize.

5) Is there anything that you would like to add about best friends and the pain of moving away from each other?

It never gets easier. Most of us, we love our best friends like we love our siblings. At times we do everything together, share our worst secrets with each other, our wildest, most outrageous dreams, things we would only write in our diaries. When something happens to make that one person your enemy, or someone you can’t trust, it’s devastating. They know everything about you and now they hate you, or suddenly you can’t trust them? That’s hard at any age. But if you’re always honest in your relationships—all of them, with boys, girls, parents—then you’re less likely to have an epic blowout fight. If you do have to face a breakup—if things just can’t be repaired and all trust is lost—at least remember what was good about that person. It’s unlikely they’re straight-up evil, even if you want to believe they are. Something drew you to them in the first place, so try not to vilify them. Most importantly, don’t go smack-talking about them afterward. It doesn’t do any good, makes a bad situation worse, and no one wins by doing it. Try to keep your trap shut.

Hillary Homzie still remembers what it was like to be called someone’s second best friend. Ouch. She likes to read and write about other people’s friendship problems. To learn more about Hillary and her books go to www.hillaryhomzie.com.

Hillary Homzie