Why Black Sheep? A Guest Post by Kia Zi Shiru
Thank you so much for letting me borrow your blog for a guest post today, Jamie. For the blog tour of Black Sheep: Letting go of the Past I will talk a bit about one of the gothic stereotypes I deal with in the novella and how I tried to both include it but not make it cliché.
Black Sheep in a lot of ways has been built on things from my own teenage years though a lot of it only indirectly. I used my own experience of the goth culture for some of the themes I deal with in this novella. I knew that I could have made it all tacky and absurd, but I also know that what some people perceive one way in a culture can be seen in a totally different light by people inside that culture.
Vic, Jack and Marie are all goths. I didn’t use any friends to imagine what they looked like but rather borrowed from broad experience within the goth community (and of course things that I find hot, like long hair). All three have long hair and wear black, but there is where the comparison between the three end. Marie is more a Victorian style goth with the elaborate dresses, while Vic is the baggy yeans and band shirts type. Jack is more into the bondage style clothes and the fishnet shirts. But I didn’t just borrow the clothes from the culture.
There is the stereotype of self-harming as being a part of being a goth. This has always annoyed me as the goth community is actually very vocal about preventing and curing self harming addictions. I still used it in my story. I knew that people could get upset about it but I wanted to show a different side to the self harming. What some people never seem to realise is how most people try very hard to hide the scars and the wounds. They don’t see it as something to be proud of, as the stereotype seems to suggest.
The other side that is a recurring theme in Black Sheep is the addictive nature of it. The reason people often find it hard to stop is not because they like it but because it is a relief of stress. They get addicted to the effect of it. I wanted to show this in a way that didn’t make Vic seem like he was some brainless angsty teen. My main way of doing this is that I never really talk about it. There are clues and other things that show both the hiding and the shame and the addiction, but I’ve tried really hard not to make it prettier than it is.
I tried also to stay real to the emotions and feelings of it and I really hope that some people that read it can recognise themselves in it and maybe even break the addiction. I know it can be really difficult because, like drinking coffee in the morning, it can be a quick-fix. But it doesn’t make stuff go away; it just means you have even more to deal with than you did before. Breaking that chain can be hard but there are a lot of places online and people you can talk to offline that can help you out.
Black Sheep: Letting Go of the Past Blurb
Trying to rescue her son from a destructive environment, where the end of his last relationship almost ended in tragedy, Vic’s mother decides to move them all to a new town. Vic, glad at being able to start anew, takes the chance to create an image that would make his last two years of high school a lot easier.
But that plan is sabotaged when his new best friend, Jack, kisses him on New Year’s Eve, something Vic has been longing for and dreading in equal measure. Vic knows being gay in high school can be hell, and he’s scared sweet and innocent Jack won’t be able to handle him, or his past. It scares him more than anything now that his past has come back to haunt him, metaphorically and literally.
Vic tries to hide the horror of his past as long as possible, knowing that when Jack finds out what happened he will leave him. As Vic takes a turn for the worse everybody but him realises how strong Jack and his love for Vic actually are. But is that enough for Vic to move on?
Find out more by visiting the book’s webpage