Sayin’ ain’t doin’

Rusty James


Meet Rusty James. The male inspiration for Allie Sheridan.

Here’s the thing. I get asked all the time what my ‘life philosophy’ is. Or what my motto is. My answer is always the same.

‘Sayin’ ain’t doin’.’

It has been my motto since I was 18 years old.

It comes from Rumble Fish, the book by SE Hinton, without whom I believe there might be no young adult genre of books today. She’s a brilliant writer, and she creates beautiful characters. Particularly male characters actually. She really understands teenage boys.

I didn’t discover Rumble Fish through the book, though – I discovered it from the film. If you have never seen Rumble Fish go out right now and watch it. It’s black and white and heartbreaking. The writing is amazing.

And I got my motto from it. From Rusty James. The coolest boy in Oklahoma.

When I first started writing Night School, I imagined Allie as kind of a female version of Rusty. Wounded but strong. Always fighting. Never sure of who she really is. Wanting to be loved.

And always, always sceptical.

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