Author Interview: Tess Sharpe

Tess Sharpe is the award-winning author of Far From You, which Kirkus called one of the best YA novels of 2014.


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?

Tess chatted with BCLA LGBTQ Interest Group member Amara Charters about bisexuality in literature, and shares her thoughts, hopes and ideas with us. A big thank you to both Tess and Amara!

What are your favourite books featuring bisexual main characters?

Tess Sharpe: One of my favorites is a book that is actually coming out next May, so look out for it! It’s Ashley Herring Blake’s HOW TO MAKE A WISH and it will make you laugh and cry and totally fall in love with the main couple. I also love Hannah Moskowitz’s NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED and everything the amazing Corinne Duyvis has written.

In your opinion, what does positive bisexual portrayal in literature look like? What tropes need to be avoided?

TS: I think the most positive portrayal is an honest portrayal that shows a bisexual character as a human being with flaws, hopes, dreams, strengths and weaknesses.

I don’t think any tropes should 100% be avoided, because I’m a big believer in subverting tropes. But if you are writing a bisexual main character, you must be very aware of the tropes in order to avoid or subvert them. You need to be well versed in how bisexual people are so stereotyped, both by the straight and LGBTQIA community and think deeply about why that is so. Only with this kind of contemplation will you be able to avoid hurt and instead, portray realistic experiences, some of which may seem “tropey” until you dismantle it within the narrative. You can have a bisexual character be the villain, for instance, but to make her a villain because of her bisexuality is wrong (and honestly, kind of lazy!) You can have a bisexual character sleep with more than one person in a book (I did!) but if you imply it’s because they’re bisexual–or have another character voice this opinion without getting called out by someone–that’s playing into the harmful “bisexual people are promiscuous” trope.

What do you hope the future brings for bisexual books?

TS: I would love to see more happy endings in LGBTQIA YA in general. A lot more love stories and Romances, just like the straight teens get in droves. More books where the LGBTQIA character has a community of LGBTQIA friends. And more genre books with bisexual characters in them. A bisexual lady can pilot a spaceship while romancing her first mate and saving the galaxy, after all! 

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