Today we are so pleased to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for Fault Line by C. Desir — a book that touches on some very serious and important issues for today’s readers. Thanks to Christa for stopping by today for this Q&A!
Well, I have worked as a rape victim advocate for years in hospital ERs and I’ve always been deeply involved in this issue. Recent studies indicate that 7-13% of adult women were raped before the age of 18. That number is really appalling to me. And as 85% of rape is perpetrated by someone the victim knows or is acquainted with, I felt it was even more important to take on the issue for teens. I wrote this book before a lot of the recent news things (Steubenville, the Rolling Stone article, etc) but I’m sadly not surprised that these things are starting to come out more. Especially with the existence of social media. But mostly, I wanted to write a book about rape that teen boys could read and identify with. I wanted them to have a character who wasn’t a perpetrator who they could say, “Yeah, he does some dumb things, but he has good intentions and I’d be that dude.”
It’s tough to balance a book about a serious issue like this without making it sound like an after school special. How did you manage to pull it off?
Ha. This is a lot about having a good editor. Because I was an advocate, I’m a huge proponent for counseling, etc. But my editor had me pull way back on it every time the counselor was in the story. She said, “if this sounds message-y, we’ll lose readers” and she was right, of course. I didn’t want to take the advocate out all together because I like helpers in books and I honestly don’t believe Ben would’ve stayed if he didn’t have anyone to talk to. But I also thought really hard about what a 17yo boy would think of this advocate and I made her pretty unhelpful to him. This is the thing about people who are “in the movement” but can’t get in and speak a language that others understand. Teens are surrounded by adults who want to help but can’t seem to figure out how to do it in a non-didactic or preachy way. That’s why I had Ben call the counselor/advocate out on her platitudes and social work “speak”. The counselor had the best intentions but she couldn’t connect with either Ani or Ben because she couldn’t offer anything real.
Discussing issues like rape can be very difficult, especially for teens. But I think books like FAULT LINE can help open up those types of discussions. What sort of advice would you have for teens/parents/teachers/etc. looking to use your book as a jumping off point for these discussions?
First, I think we actually need to talk about the issue a lot more than we do, even when it makes us uncomfortable. I have heard from SO many people who didn’t tell anyone what happened to them for years. I didn’t, my best friend in high school didn’t, we perpetuated this silence and lived in shame. I wrote a book to start a conversation. I wrote a book so that people would tell their stories or talk about the stories of their friends and start a dialogue around how to stop this from happening in the future. When I’ve presented to teens in the past, the first thing we talk about is, “how could this have gone differently?” So much work is being done around bystander involvement, actively having the back of the people around you. I want that to continue, but more, I want guys to be included in this conversation when it comes to sexual violence. I don’t want girls to just be taught to protect themselves, I want guys to be taught how to keep an eye on the people around them so that they can help. I want teens to talk more about the issue of consent and the definition of rape. I can’t tell you how many teens have no clue what legally constitutes rape, nor have they heard of enthusiastic consent (yes means yes). I want that dialogue to happen. I hope my books helps in that area.
You’re working on a couple other books right now. What can you tell us about them?
I just finished copy edits on my second book BLEED LIKE ME which is the story of a very dysfunctional couple who spiral into dangerous codependence. This comes out in fall 2014. I also have a third book I’ve written with my collaboration partner Jolene Perry called LOVE BLIND which is a sort of messed-up story about two friends who can’t get their act together to love each other at the same time. News on that one soon. And most recently, I finished a relentlessly brutal story about an angry girl trying to escape a horrifying situation at home. This one is sitting in my agent’s inbox.
Thanks so much for these great questions!!!
Ben could date anyone he wants, but he only has eyes for the new girl — sarcastic free-spirit, Ani. Luckily for Ben, Ani wants him too. She’s everything Ben could ever imagine. Everything he could ever want.
But that all changes after the party. The one Ben misses. The one Ani goes to alone.
Now Ani isn’t the girl she used to be, and Ben can’t sort out the truth from the lies. What really happened, and who is to blame?
Ben wants to help her, but she refuses to be helped. The more she pushes Ben away, the more he wonders if there’s anything he can do to save the girl he loves.
I’m a YA author who loves dark contemporary books. My debut novel FAULT LINE comes out from SimonPulse October 1, 2013. My second novel BLEED LIKE ME will be released from SimonPulse in Fall 2014.
I am also a feminist, rape victim activist, and romance novel editor. I live outside of Chicago with my awesome husband and our three small children.