Today I have the opportunity to interview one of the characters from My Beating Teenage Heart by C. K. Kelly Martin. We're talking today with Ashlyn.
Hi Ashlyn. Your story totally affected me. I wanted to cry along with you. What is a book that has affected you in that same way?
Hi. And thank you, that means a lot to me. When I was young I made my mom and sister read me Charlotte’s Web so many times even though it would always make me sad. I felt the same way about Before I Die by Jenny Downham. I would end up in floods of tears every time I read it and still pick it up and read it again a few months later.
Not that anything was your fault at all but, if you could have changed one thing about your life, what would it have been?
If I knew I had such little time left I wouldn’t have let what Teena said (and the reaction to it from other people) get to me as much as it did. Not that I would’ve ignored it because that wouldn’t be right either – people shouldn’t get away with those things. I would’ve told my parents what was going on instead of trying to protect them and then I would’ve concentrated on my friends and family and the other things good things in my life.
Many people often wish for the super hero gift of invisibility so they can hear what others say about them. Which event in your life would you have liked to have experience this?
I’d like to hear what Ikenna said about me to his friends! I really think he liked me but I’d want to hear exactly what he had to say or even better, I wish I could have read his mind, just for a few minutes.
I feel like you and Breckon could have been really good friends if circumstances had been different. If there was something you could say to him right now, what would it be?
I think Breckon and I could have been close good friends too! I feel like we were, on some level. I’ve said so many things to him that I thought he needed to hear already that most of the things that are left would be about me, so that he could get to know me like I know him – things that were important to me, things I wanted for myself and things that have happened to me. And if somehow magically we were able to have met before I would love to have gone to that place Boleyn’s and sung with him while he played guitar. I think we would’ve been really good.
Teena is just a horrible mean girl. Have you ever thought about haunting her and making her life miserable?
I hated her for what she did to me. Now I think she feels horrible enough without me haunting her but I bet if I had to watch her twenty-four hours a day like I did with Breckon I wouldn’t be as angry with her anymore. When you know somebody that well you begin to understand the things they do – even some of the bad things. People in pain lash out. It can have a domino effect unless someone stops it.
What is life like where you are now?
From where you are now it’s not possible to fully understand. It’s not even another place – it’s everything and everyone, unending, without division. Beyond thought and form. It’s sort of like floating in a calm sea and at the same time, being the sea and every single thing inside it. When you get here you’ll understand that there’s nothing to worry about. It’s peace.
Not counting family or any loved ones, on a lighter note, what is something that you miss from your life?
I miss physical things like how the air feels different when it’s just about to rain or the tickly feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when someone you have a crush on smiles at you. I miss skating, dancing and swimming and you wouldn’t believe how much you can miss tasting things. I remember the way my grandmother’s cinnamon rolls felt and tasted in my mouth. Sweet and melty warm. Sort of like kisses, which is something I miss too.
How do you think your story will help readers who have gone through what happened to you in the past?
I hope it helps other people know that they’re not alone and it’s not their fault. I hope they already know it’s not their fault anyway but sometimes people think, if only I did this instead of doing that, this wouldn’t have happened to me. I know Breckon felt that way about what happened to Skylar. Bad things happen but I think we can underestimate our own strength and the strength and love of people around us – or sometimes even of people we’ve never met but who are prepared to care about us and help us anyway. We have to help when we can and let other people help us when we need it. I hope my story shows people that.