Welcome to week three of our BCM Author Spotlight of Lisa M. Stasse, author of THE FORSAKEN, which released from Simon & Schuster on July 10, 2012. You can check out the last week's spotlight posts, including my review of THE FORSAKEN and an interview with Lisa, by clicking HERE and HERE.
Today, we have a guest post on character development from THE FORSAKEN . We hope you enjoy it, and don't forget you can enter every week for your chance to win one of three copies of THE FORSAKEN!
***About The Author***
Lisa M. Stasse was born in New York, and has since lived in Spain, Russia, Hawaii, and North Carolina. She graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Government and English lit, and is currently a digital librarian at UCLA. Lisa loves watching science fiction movies, cooking Spanish food, and dancing around her house to 80′s music. She lives in Santa Monica, California with her husband and their two-year-old daughter. All three of them are learning how to surf. Say hi at lmstasse[at]yahoo[dot]com.
You can find Lisa online:
Who is Alenna Shawcross?
by Lisa M. Stasse
So with the character of Alenna Shawcross—the heroine of THE FORSAKEN—I wanted to do something different. I've read a lot of YA novels in which the hero (male or female) discovers they have some kind of incredible super power or ability. Or where right from the start there is something amazing about them that sets them apart from everyone else. And while I love many of these books, I realized there was a lack of books that just start with a "regular" protagonist. And by "regular" I mean closer to a normal person in how they respond to things and how they think. Someone who doesn't start off with incredible fighting skills, or who doesn't have an amazing secret paranormal ability.
When I came up with idea for THE FORSAKEN, about a girl being sent to a prison island in a dystopian future, at first I was going to make Alenna the stereotypical "bad girl" who would fight tooth and nail, and battle kids with fervor, etc. But the more I thought about it, the more it started to feel wrong to me. I began to imagine what would happen if a normal, average girl (I guess someone like myself or my friends in high school) got banished to a prison island. They would be scared! And they would try to hide at first! And any awesome skills they ended up with would have to be learned as they struggled to survive. So Alenna starts the book as a very sheltered, naïve girl. She's grown up in a government orphanage. She doesn't have many friends, and her plan is just to keep her head down and not draw any attention to herself. So when she wrongly gets sent to the island, it's a huge, shocking blow to her own identity. And it also poses a huge threat to her safety. Some of the other tribes and kids on the island are brutal and terrifying. Her only real skill is that she can play the guitar, but what use is that when she's fighting for her life?
Alenna has to learn things the hard way. How to fight. How to make friends. How to forge alliances. How to kill. And along the way she learns that she's much stronger than she ever thought she was. The experience on the island is what forms her and turns her into a warrior. By the end of the book she is no longer scared—she is willing and eager to fight for what she believes in, no matter what the cost. I've already finished the sequel (THE UPRISING) and her journey continues in this next book, when she gets unexpectedly tested in ways she can't yet imagine. In many ways THE FORSAKEN trilogy is about a girl coming into her own in the harshest circumstances imaginable. I have big plans for Alenna, and by the end of the third book she will have grown and changed even more than she does by the end of THE FORSAKEN. So much so that at times she might not even recognize who she once was—or who she has become.