All of the Rogers
by Erin Lockwood
Genre: YA Psychological Romance
"How can you love someone so much and need space from them at the same time?"
My alarm goes off at four am. It takes an hour to get to the studio, and then my ballet training begins. I go to school for a few hours, and then it’s back to the studio for more training. Go to bed. Repeat the whole process the next day.
I hate it.
My time at school is a blur, except for biology. I don’t rush through that class, because I get to see Roger Byrnes. He probably doesn’t even know I exist, but my heart beats a little faster when I see him walk through the classroom door with his messy hair and carefree attitude. He has so much energy. But then he stares off into the distance, and I wonder what he’s thinking. It’s the highlight of my day.
I wish I could quit ballet so I could be a normal teenager. Someone who Roger would want to be with. I could use some excitement in my life…I bet Roger could give that to me.
Roger keeps running with me screaming over his shoulder, and I’m getting
seriously worried he’s not going to slow down when he reaches the ice-cold
Pacific Ocean. I can feel the freezing wet splashes on my legs, and as he runs
into deeper water, some of the splashes reach up to my face.
I’ve been playfully kicking and screaming for him to put me down, but now,
I’m gripping his upper back, not wanting him to lower me at all. Don’t let the
turquoise water of Carmel fool you; it’s damn cold, even in the summer. Girls
wear bikinis on the beach, and surfers wear wetsuits all year-round. Even I
“You broke a promise,” he says while his arm grabs me from over his shoulder
and moves me down.
The muscles in my legs bulge, and I clench them around his upper body,
holding myself high up on his shoulder.
“What are you? A cat?” he says, confused, as he tries to figure out what I’m
doing with my body.
I grab on to his head and use it as leverage to clench my thighs together over
his other shoulder. “I never broke a promise,” I say, unashamed. The only
emotion going through me right now is fear of going into the ice cold water. “I
never promised to call you.”
“Oh, that hurts my feelings,” he says dramatically.
He reaches up and tries one more time to pull me off of him, but I’m too
“How the hell are you stronger than me?” he exclaims, clearly frustrated that
he’s tried twice to throw me in the water with no success.
All he’s been able to do is make me slip down his body a little. My one leg is
still draped over his shoulder, and the other is wrapped around his back,
holding on for dear life. My face has moved from over his head to right in front
of his nose.
“Ballerinas are a lot stronger than you think,” I say with a calm, even breath.
I’ve never kissed a boy before, and right now, I’m staring at one’s lips. They’re
so full and colorful; they look as if they’re full of fruit punch. I wonder what it
would taste like and feel like. If I just move my head a few inches closer…
“Maybe so,” he says, matching my even breath. “You might be stronger than
me, but I’m more clever.” He spreads his arms out, as if he’s going to give
someone a huge hug, and slowly, his body weight shifts back.
“No, no, no, no, no!” I scream once I realize there’s no stopping him from
falling back into the water.
Erin Lockwood grew up in Castro Valley, California and attended the University of Oregon, where she graduated in 2003 with a degree in journalism. From there she moved to Denver and spent the next seven years searching for the love of her life and building the family of her dreams.
It wasn’t long until, with children starting preschool and more time on her hands, Erin refocused on her career, beginning with a successful entry into the world of residential real estate as a Realtor. Free time was spent reading book after book (and binge-watching the subsequent films) in the New Adult genre. Feeling hopelessly in love with her husband, she wrote him a short story leading up to their fifth wedding anniversary. That’s when she discovered her tireless passion to share her experience of falling in love through fictional characters. That story evolved into the first novel in the Angles trilogy.
Erin still lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, Phil, and their three children.
When I wrote All of the Rogers, it was an emotional experience for me. It wouldn’t have happened if my teenage boyfriend, Nick, hadn’t posted on social media about his struggle with mental health issues on April 20, 2014. Nick and I’d dated for a few months in high school (for a teenager, that feels like a lifetime - and now it feels like a lifetime ago), but we’d grown apart after graduation. We barely spoke until I joined Facebook. It was there I got to know him better as an adult.
I want to thank him for being brave enough to post openly about his struggles. He expressed ups and downs with his medication and diagnosis. He felt, at times, he was misdiagnosed. His post raised concerns for me. I was worried about him, but I didn’t feel brave enough or feel as if our relationship was strong enough for me to say anything. It’s something I regret because, not much more than a month later, he died.
Not being close with his family, I never knew exactly why he was gone, but I had my guesses. I was only left with my imagination and assumptions, which led to research. For a writer, that can be very powerful. He was, without a doubt, my inspiration for All of the Rogers. At times, while writing, I even drew from personal experiences with him in high school. I brought myself back to being a teenager.
My hope was that my book accurately addressed the issue of early signs of bipolar disorder and how they too often go unnoticed or misdiagnosed. I wanted to address the dangers of misdiagnosis, wrong medications, and refusing medication. But, most of all, I wanted to share how subtle symptoms could seem to a young outsider. I wanted to show the mystery many survivors were left with after a loved one had passed--the puzzle piece left that sometimes didn’t seem to fit together.
I had to put on so many hats while writing All of the Rogers, and “mom” was one of them. There are so many incredible characters and relationships in the book. But one thing I really wanted to touch on is parenting. The main character, Kerri, struggles with her relationship with her mother. There is very little communication in her overbearing ways. Meanwhile her best friend has a much more free-range life with her parents. What I wanted to showcase is, no matter your parenting methods, how important communication is. It’s how Kerri was able to evolve. Roger, coming from a broken home, didn’t have the option of communicating with his parents. Maybe that would have made a difference in his life the way it did for Kerri? Maybe he would have had a mature sounding board to help identify and battle his mental illness?
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