Guest Post from Tess Sharpe – Author of Far From You!

Summary from Goodreads

Nine months. Two weeks. Six days.

That’s how long recovering addict Sophie’s been drug-free. Four months ago her best friend, Mina, died in what everyone believes was a drug deal gone wrong – a deal they think Sophie set up. Only Sophie knows the truth. She and Mina shared a secret, but there was no drug deal. Mina was deliberately murdered.

Forced into rehab for an addiction she’d already beaten, Sophie’s finally out and on the trail of the killer – but can she track them down before they come for her?

Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 27th 2014 by Indigo 
You can read my review here
 
Guest Post

I grew up in a place that is affectionately nicknamed by some sly locals as Calabama: far more Southern gothic than the West Coast cool you might expect from northern California. My parents brought us here, my sister and I, when we were too tiny to protest. So I grew up in the shadow of mountains, wary of bears and bobcats, swimming in the lake’s icy waters, and digging holes, just for fun, in the red clay soil that stuck to my shoes and stained my hands.

Calabama, the second largest wilderness area in California, is a vast rural expanse of mountains, rivers, lakes and valleys dotted with the occasional small town, where very few people are able to eke out a decent living. It’s home to some of the prettiest waterfalls you’ll ever find, with lakes surrounded by snowy mountains that stretch out as tall and far as you can see. It’s also economically and culturally depressed, ridden with meth, domestic violence and abuse, and the site of an infamous hate crime that ended two men’s lives just because they loved each other.

The beauty of my home hides ugly truths.

As a writer, I’ve always been drawn to ugly truths… to the messy, rather than the pristine. Which is why I chose to set Far From You in this complicated place I know so well: A small town that’s far from idyllic, even if it may look that way at first. A place that I loved and hated— and, at times feared as a teen.

Place and culture deeply influence character motivations. And especially with LGBT characters, place and culture can greatly affect how they act and what they dare to reveal about themselves—to those close to them and to strangers. Sometimes, safety trumps truth. That’s not an easy thing to swallow, in real life or in fiction.

I think about it often: the girls like Sophie and Mina, the girls like me, and their careful words and many secrets. And I want to tell them it does get better, it is getting better, it will be better. I do believe that.

But even as I sink my roots deeper and deeper in the red soil, those ugly truths still haunt me. So I chip away at my doubt with each word I write, with each love story I tell, with each promise I make to myself and to you, my readers, and I remember: It does get better.

It is getting better.

It will be better.

We’ll get there together.


About the author

Born in a backwoods cabin to a pair of punk rockers, Tess Sharpe grew up in rural Northern California. Following an internship with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, she studied theatre at Southern Oregon University before abandoning the stage for the professional kitchen. She lives, writes and bakes near the Oregon border. FAR FROM YOU is her debut novel. You can follow Tess on Twitter @sharpegirl

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