Coming at you with one point twenty-one jigawatts of power, this is Lisa Burton Radio. The only show on the air that brings you the character from the books you love. With me today is Pepper, from Vernon Hills, Ohio. “Welcome to the show, Pepper.”
“Greetings and salutations, Lisa. That means hello in human speak.”
“My bio say’s you’re a senior in high school. My understanding of humans is that’s a time of major stress and growth. It has to be tough in a small town where there’s no place to hide for a few minutes.”
“When you live in Vernon Hills, Indiana with the population size of 4,350, everyone does know the color of your underwear which was likely purchased at the local bargain bin. The overly Christian local yokels also won’t allow you to get past your tales of personal woe. Well… I’ve said enough about that, I don’t need to spew more word vomit at you.”
“I think everyone needs time to themselves, but you have a few problems that nobody should have, particularly someone your age. Why don’t you share some of that with our listeners.”
“Wow…for a robot you really like to meddle into the lives of people, don’t you? Since you asked nicely, I’ll tell you a little bit more about shady shenanigans. I was recently placed in the mandatory rehab.”
“Now, Pepper, they don’t just put someone in a place like that. I know your mother abandoned you, and that has to leave a scar inside.”
“My mother–or as I prefer to think of her, the egg donor–abandoned me and my twin brother Bennett when we were seven years old. Before she left us, she was involved in a clandestine love affair. This man touched me and my brother Bennett inappropriately for years until Bennett confessed to my Grandmother. This atrocity would lead us to finding love at the bottom of a bottle of alcohol and unlimited drugs. My favorite form of abuse was cutting myself. Seeing blood run down my body soothed my broken soul. Cutting was cathartic for me. Bennett on the other hand was a closed homosexual and he enjoyed watching gay porn. There you have my twisted life wrapped up in a pretty little bow.”
“It’s my understanding that you can no longer confide in Bennett these days. Why is that?”
“Because when you enter a suicide pact with your twin brother, and you fuck it all up and survive, you can never talk to him again. That’s why. Bennett was my teenage therapist. I’ve been living without my closest confident for months now and it pains me that I was the one that carved into his wrist like a skilled surgeon and I killed him. I was jealous that he achieved our goal. I know his presence visits with me, I find comfort in seeing images of him, and I can smell his cheap cologne and his stinky cigarettes.
“I would like to add that NO…I’m not bat shit crazy! Yes, I spent two months in rehab. Now my drug and alcohol abused body was 100% detoxed from that stint and for the first time in my life I feel renewed. I no longer want to be the consumer of bad things, whether mental, emotional or physical. My past is behind me and I want to move forward. Now I’m back from captivity and trying my best to avoid the constant whispers and stares from the local townsfolk.”
“I really am sorry for your loss. I’m also sorry for your long term suffering. It sounds like you may have started to turn a corner though. What can you tell us about Tommy?”
“Tommy is my boyfriend and the love of my life. Tommy and I both had crushes on each other in high school but he was too shy to act upon anything and I was a drunken mess most of the time. Then he became straight edge—you can look that up on Wikipedia, but basically they don’t drink, smoke, or have promiscuous sex—and we lost touch with each other. Luckily we rekindled our relationship. We have had our turbulent times mostly involving my relationship with Eric.
“Eric is a leader in the straight edge community. Eric was my teacher, but don’t start. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into…at least I thought so, until an unexpected visitor showed up on his door step and ruined it for us. The important thing to know about Eric is that when I was with him he made me feel beautiful in my skin. He was the first guy that wasn’t repulsed by my scars. But like I said, he had his secrets, plus he wanted me to become some straight edge angel. Tommy is a very genuine person and he would never want me to change who I am.”
“So a teacher huh. That isn’t likely to go over in a small town. Sounds like he has a past too, so he might not be a straight arrow all the way.”
“Don’t even go there. I’m 18 and it’s totally consensual. Anyway, as soon as I graduate I’m out of here. And both Eric and Tommy have really helped me start figuring out who I am.”
“Sounds like you have some big decisions to make. How do you usually work your way through stuff?”
“Through all of my trauma dramas, the one thing that makes my life tolerable is music. I love the heartfelt, moody tunes of the post punk movement from the early 1980’s. I love The Smiths more than Christ on his cross, says the atheist.”
“Everyone loves music. It really is a good way to unwind. I wish you the best of luck in your decisions, in moving past – well, your past, and leaving town if that’s what you want. Any closing thoughts for our listeners today?”
“I have learned that thoughts of suicide and cutting to bleed myself out is not the answer for me to feel better. The road I have crossed is that I had to seek help from professionals for my suicidal thoughts and cutting disorder. I guess I’d like other people who’ve felt this way realize that they aren’t alone. Okay, enough afterschool special stuff from me, my twenty minutes are up. ”
“You can read all about Pepper and her friends in On the Edge of My World, by Kelly Backus and Melissa Long. This one is cool too, because it comes with a music playlist. Some of these things are just so creative.
“You can also help the authors out by using those sharing buttons on the website and adding the book on Goodreads.
“For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”
Penelope Padget killed her twin brother. Their suicide pact was the result of years of pain and anxiety and now she must face life without her closest confidant. Now she has to try to overcome her addictions to drugs, alcohol and self-mutilation while struggling through her final year of high school in her small town. Things get more complicated when Penelope begins to have feelings for a new teacher, Eric Samuels, a former rock star and the head of the straight edge movement. He’s all wrong for her, but she just can’t help herself, even when her old friend, Tommy Finn comes back into her life.
Penelope is faced with one challenge after another while she fights against her former demons. She’s going to have to make it through a lot of hardships and make some impossible decisions if she’s going to come back from the edge.
On the Edge of My World is available now from Black Rose Writing at the following links:
Kelly R. Backus is an Operations Manager at an Indianapolis Museum and a pop culture and music aficionado. Melissa L. Long is an Invoicing Coordinator and has two sons with her saintly husband. Kelly and Melissa met in college at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. On the Edge of My World is their first novel, and was inspired by the life experiences of fellow students in high school and college. They live in Indianapolis with their families.
Book Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Lwll2zu64A