When I first scripted New Sight, I knew I needed a teenage girl protagonist/main character.
I’m not going to lie, I don’t feel like I was a very normal teenage girl—I hardly ever squealed, and I never pined for more than about thirty minutes. Plus, I was extraordinarily boring. My friends were cool, but also not terribly exciting. So I was a little nervous to write an entire novel from inside the head of a California girl who grew up rich, went shopping for fun and loves to take pictures and draw.
First problem, a name. Right before I got married, my fiancé came over to help me pack. I put him on the book shelves—hello, big strong and manly—and at one point he stops and says, “Uh, Jo, why do you have this?”
I turned around and saw him holding up a baby name book that I’d bought not long before starting New Sight. I laughed and told him it was for finding good character names. Because if I have to pick them, everyone will be called Jennifer, Brad and Bernice. Or worse.
If I remember correctly, I flipped open the book and thought, “what letter should her name start with?” The “M” section came into view. Nothing jumped out, so I flipped back to the end of the “L” section and found Lysandra.
Thus Lys (like bliss, NOT lice) was born. Ish. A week later, after writing a few chapters of New Sight, I decided I had to have a last name and a face to go with the Lys. The last name Blake popped into my mind—easy. The face, not so much. I looked up and at my DVD shelf, spotted the movie Easy A, and decided that Emma Stone with dark brown hair (less red than in the picture) is what Lys looked like. Mostly.
Her personality came out in the script after that.
At the beginning of New Sight, Lys finds herself strapped down in a psych ward with little to no hope in her life. Horrible things have happened to her—thus the psych ward—and she has no reason to carry on.
But she does.
Because giving up isn’t her style. She doesn’t flaunt it like a pair of 6” glittery red high heels, but she quietly sorts through her circumstances, grits her teeth and moves forward. Even if that means leaving her family and going off with a sketchy fellow named Jeremiah Mason who leaders her into even more trouble than she had originally stirred up.
Lys is like so many of the girls and women I know. She is awesome in her very own way. A way that no one else can pull off. Lys can steer a motley crew of confused and traumatized teenagers she’s barely met out of danger and back on track.
Well, she has help. We’ll meet the rest of the crew next time!