Author Amber Lehman Addresses GLBTQ Teens
Torn by Amber Lehman is a coming of age novel geared toward the 17 and older crowd, yet is about kids ages 14 to 17. In the story, Krista, a transplant from Ohio to California, is thrust into a new and different life. Her previous life consisted of Catholic school, doting brothers, and a religious mother keeping tabs on her. Her new life consists of fast friends in public school and a mother out of the country on a missionary trip, leaving her two older brothers in charge of her. She quickly falls in with the popular crowd, who introduce her to different lifestyles. She has strong affection for her friends, and a game of Truth or Dare causes her to start questioning who she really is, as well as her own lifestyle choices.
What is your background?
I grew up in Orange County, California with my mother and my grandparents. I am an only child. I was always interested in reading and writing from an early age and my mother fostered those interests. I used to make books at home during my free time instead of playing outdoors.
What was the inspiration behind this book?
This book was inside of me for a long time. I had listened to stories about my friends lives, or been in situations with them that really affected me deeply. Past relationships played a big part in this novel as well as friendships that I had growing up as a teen.
What makes this book stand out in the market?
I don’t know how many young adult novels there are out there on the market that deal with sexual confusion and bisexuality in such an upfront manner. There are hundreds of gay and lesbian novels, but none that really touched on the subject of bisexuality in a fiction/faction manner— or the struggles with coming to that conclusion. Experimenting is also a large part of this book. Many of the characters experiment with new things out of confusion, peer pressure, or simple curiosity—whether it’s drugs, alcohol, or their sexuality.
Why is this book so important today?
I think that in today’s society situations like this are more prevalent than people would like to believe. Today’s children and teens are more sexually active and aware of what’s out there at ages younger than ever before. It isn’t always rosy. This novel tells you what is really going on out there. The relationships and bonds between friends. The things, as parents, you may not see.
Where can questioning teens go for help?
I have a list of resources on my website at www.closetcasepress.com that lists helpful links
. But a few of them are: The GLBT National Help Center, Lesbian Gay Bi Youth Line, and Finding Support for gay Teens-GLBT Organizations..
How can teens best protect themselves when exploring their sexuality?
Set boundaries that you are comfortable with—and stick to them. No one says you have to go all the way when experimenting. But if you choose to—be safe. I can’t stress this enough. Teens are bound to experiment but they need to do it in a responsible way. That’s what condoms and dental dams are for.
What advice do you have for parents whose children (at any age) are coming out to them?
Support your child no matter what he/she states their sexuality is. Coming out to your parents is probably the hardest thing of all. What do you do if your own family rejects you? It’s a scary position to be placed in. They are the same child you have loved and nurtured all through life—and they need your acceptance. Continue to show your support by continuing to love them no matter what their sexual preference is.
Thank you so much for your time!