Author: Georgeann Swiger
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Publication Date: November 4, 2013
Synopsis: When seventeen-year-old Anya finds out she’s actually an angel being trained to protect humanity, she discovers that becoming an angel has nothing to do with wings and haloes. For Anya, becoming an angel has to do with death—her death.
Micah, the angelic soldier ordered to protect her until she transitions from human to angel, promises her death will be a glorious experience as long as she follows his rules. But getting Anya through this life and to the next isn’t as simple as Micah expects. His job becomes even more difficult after he unwittingly performs a miracle that exposes Anya’s hidden angelic light.
With her secret out, Hell’s legions begin targeting her. Unfortunately, Hell’s minions are the least of Micah’s worries. He’s more concerned about the forbidden human emotions he’s developed toward Anya. Even more troubling, is she seems to love him too. And giving in to those feelings, could mean dire consequences for them both.
Realistic and Relatable Characters
When it comes to writing young adult novels, not only do writers need to come up with an amazing story that wins over the hearts, minds and souls of readers, they also have to develop interesting characters that are realistic and relatable to their teenage audience.
When I started writing Adorned, I wanted Anya’s voice to be authentic and her reactions and emotions to be true to what the average teenage girl experiences. It was important to me that the reader could place herself in Anya’s shoes and feel the emotional upheaval that Anya experiences. To figure out the character, not only did I use my 15-year-old daughter and her friends to get ideas, I tapped into my inner teenage self and remembered just how hard and emotionally charged everything was at that time in my life.
Here are a few examples of what I did to make Anya as realistic as possible. In the beginning of Adorned, Anya feels ugly and shunned by her peers. She faces rumors and bullies who give vague reasons behind their dislike of her. When I thought about Anya’s internal struggle over this, I wanted to make sure her emotions didn’t come across as self-pity because I didn’t want readers to think of her as weak. If anything, I wanted readers to see her as strong for having to deal with all the crap she puts up with at school. Even though she tries to avoid her bullies, when she’s forced to face with them she stands up for herself and never allows them to have complete control over her. She’s stronger than she thinks she is. At least that’s the message I hope the reader gets.
Another realistic and relatable issue I think most teens deal with is the jumble of emotions that can leave them walking on air one minute and crying themselves to sleep the next. For Anya, a plethora of emotions wreak havoc on her the minute Micah enters her world. At first, she doesn’t like him and then she does. To top things off, the journey that leads to Anya and Micah falling in love is slow and awkward. In fact, it isn’t until Anya gets to know Micah that she’s drawn into a forbidden love she has no control over. In my opinion, Anya and Micah’s slow build romance creates a deep connection for the characters and the readers. It backs up the characters reasons for being in love and gives readers a deeper love to root for.
These are just a few of the things I did to bring Anya to life. It’s my greatest hope that Anya jumps off the page and becomes a living breathing person to everyone who reads Adorned. The big question is have I made her relatable and realistic enough? That’s up to the reader to decide, but I will say I certainly tried.
About the Author: Georgeann Swiger earned her degree in journalism from West Virginia University, and then spent five years as an anchor/reporter at WBOY-TV in Clarksburg, WV. After having children, she left television news to be a stay at home mom. During that time, she discovered creative writing was more fun than writing about real life tragedy. Imagining interesting character and having them come to life on the page is now her passion. When she’s not writing, she works as a substitute teacher. She lives in Reedsville, West Virginia with her husband, two kids, a beagle dog and a temperamental cat who tries to rule the house.