About the book:-
"I am Melissa Andrews, a prisoner in this forlorn excuse for a psychiatric treatment center."
Melissa Andrews is scheduled for execution by lethal injection but wakes up in a secluded mental asylum with its own dark secrets.
When her questions are unanswered, she has no choice but to form alliances and infiltrate her captors' barriers. Little does she know that she is at the center of one of the asylum's major plots.
What will she uncover about the institution and herself and will she find a way to escape before it's too late?
About the Author:-
A. A. Pencil works part time as a school nurse at an all-boys Catholic school in New York City. As a Lupus survivor, she uses writing as a significant part of her therapy and you will see influences from classical writers such as Agatha Christie and Edgar Alan Poe in her work. When not working or writing, she enjoys cooking, shopping and walking. She has sponsored a child in Mexico for over three years with a children's organization. She currently lives in a borough of New York City with her extended family who are her greatest supporters.
Links to connect and explore :-
Something from the author....
The Real McCoy: Creating Realistic Characters
So we all know that ‘the real McCoy’ is an idiom which simply means the real thing. Where did it come from? Who knows? There are tons of claims about the origin of ‘the real McCoy, some of them being a variation of the title a song, the last name of a Kansas major back in the 1800’s and the last name of an engineer and inventor of the oil drip cup. As for me, since there really isn’t a concrete origin behind ‘the real McCoy’, I’d like to put my two cents in and say that the term was derived from Hank McCoy, a fictional, blue character from the X-men. Hank, whose mutant alias is ‘Beast’, is special for a number of reasons. Besides the blue fur and feline attributes, Beast is incredibly intelligent, has superhuman strength and is a political activist for the mutants. Though Beast is strong, agile and intelligent, he had to get past self-consciousness (totally understandable when you have blue fur) and a struggle for acceptance. What I believe makes any fictional character unique is a balance between strengths and weaknesses. If you create a character with just the right balance, you’re making them realistic and your readers will connect with them.
Before beginning any story, I like to create a character profile. For my first novel, The Reunion, I purchased a poster board like the one students use for science fair projects. On the board, I listed my characters and included categories like profession, goals, appearance, strengths and weaknesses. I would definitely recommend the use of a board over a computer because there’s no need for scrolling. Everything you need is right in front of you and you can sit back, compare and contrast. (This won’t work if you’re always on the go.) For me, a plus with using the poster board was that I was able to catch that a few of my characters were too similar (I.e. height, hair color, mannerisms). For my second book, The Asylum, I tried to make a character profile using Microsoft Excel but it wasn’t the same as sitting around a table and using the old fashioned paper and pencil. For my third book, I’m planning on using a white board where I can include not only character profiles but I can scribble plots and ideas all on an erasable platform.
Strengths and weakness, I believe, are the strongest criteria for making a character seem realistic. If you create a character that is strong, intelligent, forgiving and generous yet they have no weaknesses, the reader will lose interest because they’ll know that this character will easily overcome adversity. There has to be come kind of challenge. On the other hand, if your character is pessimistic, weak and mean, readers will grow annoyed and not root for them. Balance is the key. It’s fine to create an exceptionally strong character but that character needs to have a flaw or weakness. For example, in The Reunion, the character who’s a meteorologist and graduated at the top of his class had to get over a stuttering issue. In my latest book, The Asylum, the main character, Melissa Andrews, is bold and guarded but has a special place in her heart for children.
We connect not only to people who are similar to us but also to people who are real. We know that no one is perfect (though many people still claim they are). Every one of us has strengths and weaknesses even if we haven’t quite come to terms with them. Fictional characters should have unique backgrounds, goals, idiosyncrasies, strengths, phobias and weaknesses. Rather than searching online for character background generators, simply look around you and you’ll see that this world is overflowing with interesting and unique characters.
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