Monday, January 30, 2012

Guest Post by Ivy Adams & Giveaway (The International Kissing Club Blog Tour)

Today we have Ivy Adams/Emily McKay here for a guest post on China! This post is part of The Teen Book Scene's blog tour for The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams. You can find out more about the tour here. Make sure to visit all the other stops of the blog tour if you'd like to know more about The International Kissing Club!

Around the World in 80 Kisses Smooch Stop #63

Feature on China by Emily McKay

The sad truth is, I don’t have much to say about China. Or rather, there’s not much I could say that you couldn’t read dozens (or thousands) of other places on line. China is vast and diverse. It’s practically its own continent. Besides, I’ve never been there. A blog post from me about China, would be like a haiku about War and Peace by Adam Sandler. Just a bad idea all around.

But what I can talk about is Mei and her experience in China.

Occasionally, we have people ask why we decided to write a character who had been adopted and why we chose to have Mei have been adopted from China in particular. (Btw, by “we” I mean Tracy, Shellee and myself, the three friends who wrote IKC.) I don’t remember why we picked China in particular, but I do remember that we decided very early on to have one character who was adopted and searching for her parents.

When we were plotting the book, we started with the title. Although the title was cute and charming, we didn’t want the book to be vapid or frivolous. We knew we wanted one girl to be in it for the kissing, one who was in it for more serious reasons, one who just wanted to get out and one who had to stay at home. If you’re sixteen, what’s more serious than finding out about your birth parents? Than finding out who you are?

When the three of us writers divided up the characters, Mei was the one we all shared. Some of the early chapters were written together. Literally with all three of us huddled around tables at Starbucks while we dictated and debated. Once we got Mei’s voice down, we divvied up chapters by our strengths. Both Shellee and Tracy are great at setting, so they did the chapters when Mei first arrives. (Plus Tracy’s husband travels to China on business, so she had the inside track there.) Shellee writes great heroes, so she got to write Mei and Guiran’s farewell. Tracy writes fabulous kisses, so she wrote the fountain scene. So by default, I ended up writing the scene where Guiran and Mei visit the Social Welfare Institute where Mei lived before being adopted by the Joneses.

I started my research the way I always do, with hours of procrastination. I spent days on end reading blogs of adoption stories. Hundreds of families have posted their stories on line. I gotta tell ya, it was not for the faint of heart. I sat down that first morning with my laptop and cuppa joe. Seven minutes later I was blotting my eyes on my sleeve. It wasn’t long before I was working my way through a box of Klenex. There are amazing stories out there. Heart wrenching stories of love and hope and fear ... all the stuff that makes up parenting of any kind. Looking over and over again at those sweet kids. Knowing they found homes and families. Seeing the siblings who welcomed them into their lives. Man, it gets to you. I dare you to read those blogs without crying. I dare you.

You might wonder why I kept reading them. I did days and days of grueling research. But I never quite found what I needed. I needed pictures. Lots of them. Sure, all the adoption blogs had pictures, but they were mostly of the cute kids. I needed shots of the SWI. The people who worked there. The street the SWI was on. That’s the kind of thing I needed and despite all my efforts (and probably two boxes of Klenex), I just didn’t find it online. I know. Shocking right? Not all research can be done online.

Ultimately, I had to step out of my comfort zone. I had to talk to an actual person.
Luckily, I know several people who have adopted kids from China. I just didn’t know any of them well enough to say, “Hey, can I see all your pictures from this important and intimate time in your life?” But I made myself do it. I asked. People always amaze me with their generosity and openness and this experience was no exception. I got great info from more than one family. I hope I did justice to their generosity.

In the end, I’m so glad I asked for help, but I’m also thankful for all the mom’s online who share their journeys. It was worth the three boxes of Klenex. (Yes, it was three.)


Now tell me the story you’ve read lately that’s had you pull out your hankie in the comments (leave your email so we can contact you) to be entered to win the Around the World In 80 Kisses daily and weekly prize and also become eligible to win the Grand Prize, a Kindle Fire. For a list of all our Smooch Posts you can visit and earn more entries to win, visit us here.

The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams
(Amazon | Goodreads)

The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams is the story of four best friends: Piper, Cassidy, Mei, and Izzy--the misfits of Paris, Texas. Their whole lives, they’ve dreamed of escaping small-town life and seeing the world. So when Piper is the victim of an embarrassing prank that goes viral online, she gets the idea that the girls should escape via the school’s international exchange program, in search of fun, love and internet redemption.

Emily McKay, Shellee Roberts and Tracy Deebs write under the pseudonym Ivy Adams. They shop, gossip and watch movies in Austin, Texas.


  1. Honestly, I try and stay away from stories like that. I have not read anything sad of late but I did have to give my dog up to my exs parents and that had me sobbing for most of the day :(



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