»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
Blog Tour: LITTLE PEACH by Peggy Kern, Q & A and Giveaway
Mar 4th, 2015 by Liza Wiemer

LITTLE PEACHLittle Peach-1

by Peggy Kern

Q & A and Giveaway

Buy it here: IndieBound | B&N | Amazon | Audible | Book Depository

Connect with the author: Twitter

 
Synopsis:

What do you do if you’re in trouble?

When Michelle runs away from her drug-addicted mother, she has just enough money to make it to New York City, where she hopes to move in with a friend. But once she arrives at the bustling Port Authority, she is confronted with the terrifying truth: she is alone and out of options.

Then she meets Devon, a good-looking, well-dressed guy who emerges from the crowd armed with a kind smile, a place for her to stay, and eyes that seem to understand exactly how she feels.

But Devon is not what he seems to be, and soon Michelle finds herself engulfed in the world of child prostitution where he becomes her “Daddy” and she his “Little Peach.” It is a world of impossible choices, where the line between love and abuse, captor and savior, is blurred beyond recognition. 

 
Author Peggy Kern

Author Peggy Kern

About Peggy Kern:

Peggy Kern was born and raised in Westbury, New York. There she attended the local public elementary and middle schools, where she was one of the few white students in a predominately black and Latino community. Peggy didn’t realize what a unique and valuable experience that was until she transferred to a private high school.

“I was miserable in high school,” she says. “I couldn’t understand why my classmates only hung out with people who looked just like they did. To me, that was a foreign concept.” Peggy worked a variety of jobs through her teenage years, including switchboard operator at a country club, cashier at a clothing store, and the night-shift in a bakery.

In 1992, Peggy enrolled at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, where she discovered her love of literature and writing. However, the financial stress of paying for college herself – coupled with the painful divorce of her parents – proved overwhelming. She moved back to New York and took a full-time job as a secretary. Determined to finish her degree, she began taking night classes at a local community college and eventually landed a partial scholarship at Long Island University. She continued working full-time and taking classes until she graduated in 1998 with a B.A. in English.

Though it took her almost seven years to obtain her college degree, Peggy says she would do it all again. “The adversity made me work even harder. I never forgot how lucky I was to have a chance at an education.”

In 2001, Peggy completed a Master’s degree in English and Writing at Southampton College. She also coordinated the Southampton Writers Conference, where she had the chance to meet some of her literary heroes and assist young students in pursing their dream of writing. While at Southampton, she taught English Composition, tutored undergraduate students and published several short stories.

Q&A:

NOTE: Little Peach addresses the sexual exploitation of young girls and women. Abuse of this kind occurs to boys as well, but for the purposes of this post, the author is primarily focused on female victims.

Q: For the person growing up in a stable home reading this novel, what are some of the big life lessons you would like readers to take away from reading Little Peach?
 
Many of us grow up in what you might call unstable homes and turn out ok. I think the bigger issue is poverty. If you are poor, and you happen to be faced with a crisis such as addiction (like Peach’s mom), you have no safety net at all. You are at much greater risk for catastrophe. 
 
So, for those of us with resources, I guess I’d say, do not judge anyone for their poverty. Do not underestimate the literal life-and-death risk it creates. Peach didn’t choose her life. In America, we like to believe that you can be anything if you only work hard enough. I wish that was true, but the reality is the poor in our country face near-insurmountable odds.   
 
Compassion. We need more compassion. And we need more outrage on behalf of our most vulnerable citizens.


Q: Who influenced you the most growing up? Why or How?
 
My dad. He was a psychologist with an activist’s heart who spend his career fighting for those who need the most help: the poor, the addicted, the homeless. He was also very active in the Civil Rights Movement (he was arrested on a semi-regular basis for protesting in the ‘60s). My dad was one of the most moral people I’ve ever known and I always hope I’m making him proud. 
 
Q: Sexual exploitation, whether from a boyfriend, a stranger, an adult happens all the time. Do you have any advice to young adults to help prevent this situation or do you have suggestions after something has occurred?
 
This is a great question because, while Little Peach is a radical example of sexual exploitation, we have an across-the-board crisis with sexual assault going on. I believe that statistic is now that one out of every four females will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. 
 
For us girls, this isn’t breaking news. We learn, from a very young age, that this is our reality – whether we’ve experienced it ourselves, or if we have a friend who has. We learn how to take care of each other as best we can. I remember, in my younger years, when my friends and I would go out to a club for the night, we constantly looked out for each other. Especially in college, we had rules: Nobody goes home with a guy we don’t know. Don’t leave your drink on the bar. No, you’re not going upstairs with that dude to see his dorm room. We understood the threat of sexual violence was a part of our reality on the planet, and we navigated accordingly. 
 
This is insane, now that I think about it. Why on earth should we have to live like that?
 
So, I think women are pretty well versed in sexual violence and what they can do to protect themselves. It’s young men who need the talking to. I think we need to start having direct conversations with young men about consent. We need to start talking bluntly about assault, and we should start in, like, middle school.  


Q: Victims often blame themselves. What’s your perception on blame and how does one move forward?
 
Victims blame themselves because they are so often blamed. We see it in the media all the time. When a women accuses someone of rape, she frequently becomes the suspect. Had she been drinking? Did she have a history of going to “those” parties? Did she contact the person who assaulted her after it occurred? (Which is not uncommon because people deal with assault in many different ways). I remember an incident a few years back, when a girl was assaulted at a party while she was unconscious from drinking; the boys took a video and passed it around and eventually it became a news story. So many people said things like, Well, yes, the boys were wrong but why did she put herself in that position? Or, where were her parents?
 
Women have a right to safety under all circumstances. Even if we’re drunk. Even if we’re stone-cold sober and change our minds at a moment our partners deem inconvenient.
 
To get back to the last question, this is why we need to talk frankly about consent. You hear enough folks imply that a drunk girl is asking for it, and you begin to think it’s true. Just like Peach after she’s first assaulted, it does not take much to convince her that the entire incident was her fault. She absolutely accepts the blame, and therefore, doesn’t even recognize that she’s been raped.
 
In the case of sex trafficking, once girls like Peach turn 18, they are officially viewed as “prostitutes”. They are seen as criminals who are fully consenting to this life. The laws are changing somewhat, but they’re changing slowly – and society’s attitudes will take much longer.  Of course, the girls feel deep, deep shame as a result – shame that is only reinforced by how they are treated by our criminal justice system, and by our culture.
 
We must stop blaming ourselves for our assaults. And we must start talking openly – and loudly – about the issue.

Giveaway – One copy of the novel (US & CA only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

»  Substance: WordPress   »  Style: Ahren Ahimsa
© Copyright 2012 Liza Wiemer