I’m so excited to participate in the FIRST annual YA Contemporary Scavenger Hunt! For this year’s hunt, I got the extraordinary privilege of interviewing BLEED LIKE ME’s awesome author Christa Desir! I’ve included her intriguing answers to my hard-hitting questions below. BUT FIRST, check out the chilling cover and story summary for BLEED LIKE ME…
Seventeen-year-old Amelia Gannon (just “Gannon” to her friends) is invisible to almost everyone in her life. To her parents, to her teacherseven her best friend, who is more interested in bumming cigarettes than bonding. Some days the only way Gannon knows she is real is by carving bloody lines into the flesh of her stomach.
Then she meets Michael Brooks, and for the first time, she feels like she is being seen to the core of her being. Obnoxious, controlling, damaged, and addictive, he inserts himself into her life until all her scars are exposed. Each moment together is a passionate, painful relief.
But as the relationship deepens, Gannon starts to feel as if she’s standing at the foot of a dam about to burst. She’s given up everything and everyone in her life for him, but somehow nothing is enough for Brooksuntil he poses the ultimate test.
Bleed Like Me is a piercing, intimate portrayal of the danger of a love so obsessive it becomes its own biggest threat.
M.E.: Please tell us a little about Gannon, the main character in BLEED LIKE ME. What is her situation at the beginning of the book?
Christa: Gannon is a girl who has become invisible to her family. She has three high-needs adopted brothers and as a result, her parents don’t really have time for her. She takes refuge at her job at a hardware store and through cutting/selfinjury.
M.E.: What do you think readers will identify with most about her?
Christa: I think that they will mostly understand the deep need that we often have to be loved. Teens in particular have been sold this idea for a long time that if someone would only love them, then their lives will be better.
M.E.: When Brooks enters the picture, Gannon’s life begins to change. What is it that attracts her so much to Brooks? What will readers find attractive about him?
Christa: For her, Brooks is different because he notices her. He sees beneath the tough girl who works at the hardware store and he’s interested in her. And I think at first, readers might find his attention and decisiveness about her charming. But it soon becomes clear that it’s unhealthy and controlling.
M.E.: What themes does Gannon’s story explore? What do you think readers will take away from it?
Christa: For me, I always write to ask questions of readers. In BLEED LIKE ME, the questions are about what love looks like, what we’re willing to sacrifice for love, and what happens when we lose ourselves in someone else. I think that sometimes love can help us feel better, but if we don’t love ourselves enough to ask for what we deserve, we’re at risk of getting deeply hurt.
M.E.: What drew you to Gannon’s story? What made you want to write it?
Christa: I wanted to write this story because I have read so many books where a hot mess of a girl gets together with a hot mess of a guy and their loves pulls them out of their messes. And for me, it never went that way. I always got way deeper in and it turned way worse. And I think there’s truth in that and that we don’t talk about it enough.
About this idea of unhealthy/toxic relationships. This isn’t a book about dating violence or abuse, but it is a book about how toxic addictive relationships can become.
M.E.: Without spoiling anything, what was the hardest scene to write in this story? What was the most rewarding?
Christa: The hardest scene to write was the cutting/sex scene. I knew it was true to their characters and how it would be played out, but knife play is not exactly an easy thing to slip into YA books. I wanted to show it for what it was, but I also wanted people to be uncomfortable with it and see how it had come into this dynamic to further the toxicity of this relationship.
The most rewarding scene was the scenes with the two roommates, because those two guys provided comic relief and they were easy for me to write since they were loosely based on two guys I lived with one summer on Block Island.
M.E.: Can you give us your favorite quote from the book?
Christa: “I might be in love with him,” I said.
She shook her head. “Of course you are. The two of you are like frickin’ Romeo and Juliet. Everyone knows it. We’re just waiting to see which one of you takes the poison and which one takes a gun to his head.”
M.E.: Thanks so much for your answers, Christa!!! I can’t wait to read BLEED LIKE ME! And now, a giveaway!!
Christa Desir writes contemporary fiction for young adults. Her novels include FAULT LINE and BLEED LIKE ME. She lives with her husband, three small children, and overly enthusiastic dog outside of Chicago. She has volunteered as a rape victim activist for more than ten years, including providing direct service as an advocate in hospital ERs.
She also works as an editor at Samhain Publishing. Visit her at ChristaDesir.com.