Terra E. McVoy’s Pure: Digging for Deeper Meanings
By Stephanie Kjelgaard ’10
St. Andrews’ alumni can be found in a variety of professions, lending unique skills and perspectives that St. Andrews is known for. Terra McVoy ’96 has found her own niche in Atlanta, Ga., where she was able to write her first book, Pure.
Pure is a young adult fiction book published this year by Simon & Schuster. One of the linking motifs in Pure is the subject of purity rings, a ring worn on the left hand by many teenagers as a physical symbol of abstinence. However, the book is not as much about purity rings and abstinence as the title might lead one to believe.
McVoy wanted to write a story that would be relevant to today’s teenage girls and the drama of the teen years- anything from driving, pimples, curfews and boys to situations that test faith and friendship.
“When I found out about purity rings, that gave me the central conflict for the rest to fit around,” McVoy said.
Pure centers around a group of girls who have made a vow abstinence together. The vow links these girls and gives them a support system. That system is shaken when one of the girls breaks her vow. The book quickly turns into a conflict of trust, friendship, and the tests of faith teenage girls face in high school. The book relays many emotions teenagers feel during high school, and Pure gives girls silent advice on the subject.
“I think one of the biggest themes of Pure is tolerance and forgiveness,” McVoy said.
The book is dedicated to the Glam Girls Book Group, a great inspiration for McVoy. The faces of the young ladies of the Glam Girls Group shined and their cheerful voices chimed in McVoy’s mind while she wrote Pure. McVoy wants her book to resonate with all the girls who are dealing with the same kinds of questions and issues seen in Pure.
While the contradictory emotions of the human condition can provide a challenge to the most adept writers, McVoy finds writing about how people interact with one another and the world of great interest.
“I am interested in playing with the deeper reasons behind things,” McVoy said. “I am most curious about the real value of human feeling, and what it can teach us.”
Even though Pure holds Christian aspects such as purity rings, McVoy hopes that her theme of choosing your own morality will speak through all the words of Pure and other coming books.
While McVoy “ended (Pure) exactly where I wanted to end it, with the future of these girls to be in the reader’s imagination,” McVoy has written her next book, After the Kiss, which is scheduled for release in May 2010.
This next book will center around two girls who do not know one another but have some level of relationship with the same boy- a love triangle of a kind.
“It’s easy to forget that all three people in a love triangle are all human,” McVoy said. “They have their reasons for doing things that might not be what it looks like on the surface.”
According to McVoy, this book will take the reader “on a journey through human aspects we all see every day.”
“One may see a cheating boyfriend, think the other woman must be a total slut . . . attacking complete strangers on limited information,” McVoy said.
McVoy believes that her time at St. Andrews helped her in the development of her books. Professors across disciplines helped McVoy’s writing and perspective on the world as a thinker and contributor. St. Andrews aided McVoy in becoming an outstanding, cheerful person with the interaction and relationships between professors, classmates, and colleagues. Having been given a chance to explore herself throughout college and her life thereafter, McVoy is now able to guide others who are just beginning to explore themselves with books like Pure and After the Kiss.