I’d like to let those who follow this page know that I’ll be doing a $0.99 KDP Countdown Deal from 7/12 – 7/19. So, if you haven’t picked up The Alpha yet, that will be your chance.
With that in mind, I did a three part blog post about influences for The Pack some months back. Those posts can be found here, here and here.
I’d intended to do similar posts for The Alpha, but haven’t gotten around to it until now. So, here is the first part of a three part post. This one will focus on the characters of The Alpha.
**There are spoilers involved so, if you haven’t read The Alpha (or The Pack for that matter), you may want to skip this until after you have.**
In The Pack, the primary group of characters were in their senior year of high school. The choice was made to cast them at that age group was because it was about growing up, and becoming the person that you will be for the rest of your life. This is the frightful proposition everyone faces with the end of their high school life in sight.
The Alpha skips forward a few years, to the time when college graduation is fast approaching, even though only one of the three returning characters actually attends college. That choice plays into theme of the second book, namely finding your place in the world, which is the natural next step after discovering your true self. I also wanted to skip over the remaining couple of angsty teen years, as that wasn’t the story I was interested in telling.
The end of The Pack left the surviving characters – Michael, Ellis and Natalie – in pretty bad places. So I wanted to reveal the different ways they each evolved to survive what happened to them., and they ended up following three distinctly different paths.
After learning to control his blessing/curse, Michael went searching for other supernatural creatures who – like him – wanted to live in peace. And, while he found a few examples of that, most of what he found were bloodthirsty killers that he needed to stop. As such, he took up his father’s venator mantle and dedicated his life to saving others. His dedication did not waver, even when he decided that he would need to sever ties to the girl he loved for her own protection.
Ellis struggled to escape the massacre of West Chatham, though she needed to do so alone since no one would believe the truth. That solitude led to her setting her focus on revealing the truth about the things that lurk in the dark in hopes of preventing another such tragedy. She never chose to deal with her trauma alone, so you certainly can’t blame her for reacting violently when she discovers that Michael is alive and believes he abandoned her.
Natalie, meanwhile, very intentionally set off on her own. After the killing of her abusive stepfather failed to heal the wounds inflicted upon her soul and, in fact, led to the accidental death of her mother, Natalie was lost. She ended up venturing out into the world seeking those who she considered to be deserving victims. Subconsciously, though, she wanted to recreate that fateful night in the manner that would finally give her peace.
So, while the trio adapted in different ways, each one of their paths were still inextricably tied to the horror that befell West Chatham.
As far as new characters go, Craig and Izzy are a pair of venatores who are introduced through Michael. I wanted them to represent a full fledged, swashbuckling venator duo, who also happen to be in a happy and healthy relationship. In that way they offer a nice balance to the baggage of dysfunction brought in by the returning characters.
Pete and Jenny, introduced as the people closest to Ellis’ orbit, represent no more or less than your typical NYC college students with all their flairs and flaws. They make selfish choices and handle the fallout from them poorly, but they aren’t bad people – just bad friends. They also happen to be the lambs brought to the slaughterhouse, unknowing what awaits them in the shadows.
Detective Cliff Gillen & Andy Bendis are opposite ends of the law enforcement archetype spectrum. Gillen is a hard working veteran who’s seen his share of terrible things, and does his best to stop them. Bendis, on the other hand. is young, ambitious and willing to take any shortcut for upward mobility. He signs up for the fast track without even knowing if his brakes work.
Diane Coolidge, Captain Russell Owens and Professor Claire Kinney are three examples of characters who have, for better or worse, already made all their choices. Coolidge and Owens made deals with the devil to attain prominence and power, while Kinney relied on her own merits and so didn’t reach quite as high.
Hadrian Graysmith is the aforementioned devil. While he’s not literally the devil, he is a 700+ year old vampire with his claws sunk deep into the heart of NYC. He pulls the strings, and controls the highest levels of government, media, and any other source of power. In fact, since he played a big part in the founding of Manhattan, the power really flows from him. The bottom line is that Graysmith has infected the very lifeblood of the city – which is appropriate, all things considered.
That’s it for now, but keep an eye out for part two of this post where I get further into Graysmith and the other monsters (good and evil) of The Alpha.