Today we're excited to talk with Peggy Sue Yarber, author of The Judas Ride.
FQ: Some of the teens in The Judas Ride are amazingly selfish and messed up. Did/do you really see/work with such confused kids?
My first reaction...being selfish and messed up is not limited to teenagers! So are adults. I do work with and see many teenagers who are selfish. In fact, I think it is a very normal behavior for teenagers. But I did at times focus on the ill effects of being too self absorbed. We are all self absorbed and messed up but there is a fine balance and many of these characters just cannot find their balance.
FQ: The tying in of the title with the end of the story is perfect. How did you come up with such a comparison between some teens today and Judas Iscariot?
I have always been fascinated with Judas. I went to a catholic school when I was young and he was always portrayed so mysteriously and rebel like... I guess he was my James Dean of the Bible. But in a good way! In the way that he did something so wrong so that the entire world could be saved. He had to betray Jesus in order for the rest of the story. I have always wondered what it would be like to not do that one bad thing that would lead to that one great thing. So I had the Vader character sort of run through the paces of Judas.
FQ: Sonia is a hard character to like. Do you believe that teens will identify with her?
I really hope so. There are a whole lot of Sonia’s out there. Some are just better at hiding their flaws. But then, what is so unlikeable? She is honest about being pretty and wanting to get by on her looks. How is that any different than adult men and women? She constantly is telling everyone exactly what she wants and what she feels and still everyone projects on to her their own feelings. She says all throughout the book she is not worthy but does anyone really listen? No.
FQ: Not all teens find redemption in The Judas Ride. Was it important to you to show the negative outcomes as much as the positive?
I really wasn’t thinking in terms of positive and negative but I do see how you arrived at that point. I was really trying to be as honest as I could with the band of characters in the book. I see people daily that have even more screwed up lives than these characters. Many times our lives cannot be wrapped in finely wrapped boxes. Sometimes there is not an ending to the madness unless someone dies. Then even after the death the ripples still linger.
FQ: Xavier and Vader are so different and yet Sonia was involved with both young men. Why?
I think that many girls everywhere understand this. We all at some time in our lives have liked the bad boy better than the good boy. Even if we never acted on these emotions we have always wondered what it would be like to be with the maverick or the rebel. Many of us girls have wondered, "would our love be the one true love to change him?" So, yes..some of us may not want to admit it but we have at least entertained the idea of falling in love with the wrong boy for the wrong reason because he seemed so exciting, challenging and handsome!
FQ: Is Pastor Manny based on anybody you know? He's a very brave and caring individual.
I am glad you picked up on that about Pastor Manny. Yes and no to whether he is based on a real person. I know Pastor Manny but he doesn’t look anything like the character and he doesn’t really act like the character. But his devotion and faith is similar to the character. I guess I took the inside of my Pastor Manny and gave him a new outside for the character of Pastor Manny.