Naomi doesn't expect anything unusual from her annual family trip to visit her grandparents in Ireland. What she expects is to celebrate her thirteenth birthday, hang out with her friends Ciara and Shehan, and deal with her gran's Alzheimer's. What she finds is a country hit by an unexpected virus that rapidly infects the majority of the Irish population over the age of twenty-one.
Amnestic-Delirium Syndrome (ADS) starts off with memory loss, but the virus soon turns its victims aggravated, blank, or violent. Naomi and her friends must survive on their own, without lucid adults, cut off from the rest of the world, until a cure is found.
But there are whispers that ADS is not terrestrial, and soon Naomi and her friends learn the frightening truth: we are not alone
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Guest Post: Which of the characters in this book do you relate to the most? In what ways?
Because I usually write in first person I’m continually placing myself directly in the point of view of the main character(s). In first person you see and experience everything through that one character (more than one character when writing in alternating first person which I’ve done in some of my other books) so you can’t help but feel close to them. It’s almost like being an actor – you need to develop a deep understanding of someone to write from their point of view and know what they’ll say and do in various situations.
In Stricken the main character is twelve turning thirteen-year-old Naomi Seiler so she’s the character I related to the most. But there are other reasons I feel close to Naomi too. Like me, she’s a middle class Ontario girl with Irish background. I didn’t visit Ireland until I was an adult but because I spent so much time there in my twenties—and still visit yearly—I really related to Naomi’s feelings in Chapter One: “Because we spent every July in Dublin, my time in Ireland felt sort of like another life. One with a different house and different friends. But even those differences felt almost normal to me.”
Unlike me, Naomi’s a hockey player and avid fan of the sport. I can probably count on one hand the number of professional hockey games I’ve sat through in my life. I’m not a big sports fan in general but my Dad passionately LOVES the Montreal Canadiens and my brother was a goalie as a kid so I definitely grew up in a hockey-loving family. It’s hard not to have some awareness of hockey in Canada; it’s knitted so deeply into the fabric of this country.
I think Naomi is stronger and surer of herself than I was at her age. I don’t mean that she’s not scared when the memory virus in Stricken picks up steam and society starts to fall apart, because of course she is, but for the most part she holds herself together. In many ways writing from Naomi’s point of view came very naturally—her fears, her loyalty to her friends, how close she is to her parents. I hope readers will feel they can relate to her too.