The Power of Online Friendships by Siobhan Curham
Dear Dylan is the story of a 14 year-old girl called Georgie who starts emailing her favourite actor when she becomes really unhappy at home. The novel is made up entirely of emails as it charts the development of the resulting online friendship. Before I started writing it I was very aware of the negative press surrounding teenagers and the dangers of online friendships. But, as the mother of a teenager, I am also aware of what a vital role the internet plays in the social lives of young adults and I wanted to focus on this, more positive, aspect.
When I was writing Dear Dylan I really enjoyed the way in which the characters could open up to each other through their emails. I imagined that the fact that they weren’t face to face actually enabled them to open up to each other much quicker. And, one of the loveliest things to have happened to me since finishing the book is that I’ve had a chance to find this out for myself.
Last year I went to a screenwriters’ workshop. While I was there I got chatting to another writer and we exchanged email addresses. Initially this was because he was going to send me some tips on formatting a script, but, after a few token emails about work, our emails started becoming more personal. Pretty soon we were exchanging daily emails in which we would talk about life, the universe and everything. These emails have now become a favourite part of my daily routine. He always emails me late at night, before he goes to bed, and I usually read and reply the following morning on the train into work. Within a few weeks I was thinking of him as a friend rather than an acquaintance – and yet we had only met once. And then it hit me, I was getting to experience what I had imagined for my characters in Dear Dylan – and it was so heartening to see that I’d been right – that there is something about the unique combination of distance and intimacy that makes email the perfect channel for the development of a friendship.
And of course the joy of an email friendship is that it doesn’t matter where you are in the world. Just like the characters in Dear Dylan, my email friend and I live in different parts of the UK but, as we have i-phones, this doesn’t matter a bit. And, even when we travel, our friendship stretches across the globe like an invisible chord. On Thanksgiving Day last year, when I was 4,000 miles away with my family in South Carolina, my online friend sent me an email saying that, in light of what day it was, he wanted to thank me for my friendship and how much it meant to him. It was the perfect Thanksgiving gift and I too, am so thankful for this wonderful example of life imitating art.
Thanks so much Siobhan Curham! Guys, you should browse other blog participating on this tour by checking out the blogs on the banner. I really wish you all will love the book as well. Check out also my review of the book (please click siobhan curham on labels).
About the Author
Siobhan Curham is an award-winning author, writing workshop leader and life coach. She runs the YA book-lovers site, The Faded Bookmark and is co-founder of the young person’s writing organisation Write Club. Siobhan is represented by literary agent Erzsi Deak of the Hen & Ink Literary Studio.