When I started to write my books, I wanted to stay away from steamy love scenes and characters with substance abuse problems for a few practical reasons. First, writing steamy love scenes embarrasses me. I don’t want to write about graphic details like genitals and condoms. Second, I'm tired of characters with substance abuse problems who drive the plots of books.
That's not to say that I'm writing a squeaky clean teen book with no sex or drugs. There is definitely kissing and there may be some sex in a later book. And, some characters will drink alcohol. They might even get drunk.
To exclude this from my books would be unrealistic. Girls today are more aware of sex at a younger age. Clearly, most teens don't live the extremes of the characters in Gossip Girl or the narrator of Pure. I’m writing about more moderate situations in which the characters have relationships, good or bad, and learn from them.
So there will be situations where Sarah (my main character) kisses boys. She may even have some beer. But this is not what my books are about. I am writing about what leads to the kiss or the drink and why it’s important to Sarah.