I normally use anime to get my character inspiration. Since this is not fantasy or paranormal, though, I'm trying something different: people. Let me tell you a bit about the key players and why I liked these images. Please note that I picked these because of pictures on the net. I'm not a huge movies / TV person, so I can't say anything one way or the other about whether these people would be right for the characters in actual personality.
Birthday: April 14th
Cassie was in a bad accident and had to work very hard to be able to walk again(1). While she was recovering from everything that happened to her, she attended a summer camp to help promote independence in youth with disabilities(2). This last summer, Cassie actually had the opportunity to be a counselor rather then a camper. That's how she met first time camper Jenna Whitman.
Now entering her senior year of high school, Cassie has been accepted into a special program the school board is running called A Feast For the Senses. As well as standard subjects like English, Math and History, the students in this program get to take electives in things like Music, Art, Fashion Design, Cooking, and Drama. These classes are the specialties of Cassie's new high school. (Her old school's specialization is Excellence in Athletics -- something that would not be Cassie's idea of fun.)
Cassie is excited. She knows that Jenna goes to this school and that she has been accepted for A Feast for the Senses even though she is in her junior year. They'll have Cooking together, although Cassie knows her other class will be Art and Jenna's will no doubt be Fashion. What Cassie doesn't count on is being partnered with Jenna's older brother, Alan, for a major art project. Hot? Check. Brilliant? Absolutely. Protective of Jenna to the point of destruction? Afraid so.
Can Cassie show Alan he's not really helping Jenna? Will she do it even if it means she can't be with him?
Birthday: September 2nd
Alan Whitman is tough, smart and loyal. He has to be. His parents are always off doing something, so it falls to him to take care of his little sister, Jenna. To protect her -- from everything. (3)
Which is why sending her away to summer camp was such a stupid idea. Sure, Alan enjoyed his jobs as a lifeguard at the local pool and helping people find great books at Chapters. It was cool to go on a date and not worry about who would look after Jenna while he was gone. Or how she would manage if she was left at home by herself.
But Jenna came back... different. She's started talking about a need to be independent. She gets mad when Alan does things for her that she wouldn't have minded at all before -- why should she wait three minutes to eat steak she cut herself when Alan can do it in thirty seconds? This "New Jenna" thing can't possibly work. It'll go wrong. Backfire. Anything that might hurt his sister is something Alan will not allow. "New Jenna" has to go -- Alan wants his sister back.
Then he meets Cassie Jordan, Jenna's "hero", in his Art class. And Mr. Grayson assigns them as partners. Alan wants to hate her. Wants to drive her as far from the school -- and Jenna -- as he can. But as he gets to know her better, Alan finds himself admiring Cassie's courage and determination to put what happened to her behind her. It's easy to see how a girl like Cassie could inspire Jenna to want more control of her life. But that's just too dangerous.
But no girl can say no to Alan Whitman. He'll just have to bring Cassie around to his way of thinking. Somehow.
Birthday: June 24th
Jenna Whitman has lived her life based on three certainties: "I have cerebral palsy.", "My parents are useless." and "Alan will always take care of me.". So when mom and dad decide that Jenna will be attending an Independence Camp for the summer she is scared and pissed off.
But attending camp turns out to be the best thing her parents have ever done for her. Jenna learns to do things most kids her age take for granted. She discovers that she both enjoys and has exceptional talent at cooking and with a sewing machine. And she makes friends with Cassie Jordan, a girl who seems certain that Jenna can do anything she put her mind to.
Now enrolled as the youngest participant in her school's A Feast for the Senses program, Jenna is determined to show everyone what she can do. Especially her brother, Alan. It's too bad he seems so focused on trying to rule her old life rather then becoming a part of her new one. Fortunately, there's sweet, sensitive Tyler Wynn, the boy Jenna has liked for years. The boy who finally seems to be looking in her direction... Until Alan manages to mess that up, too.
Jenna loves her older brother. But how can she get him to see that there is a difference between actually living and just being alive?
Birthday: March 13th
Tyler Wynn has had a secret friendship with Jenna Whitman since they were in elementry school. When bad weather would keep Jenna from going outdoors in the winter, it was Tyler who got permission to spend time with her if Alan was needed for sports teams or other things. Most people figured Tyler was trying to avoid getting beat up on the playground because he was a bit nerdy. But in truth, he has harbored a crush on Jenna since 8th grade.
Alan Whitman is the reason Tyler has kept his feelings to himself. Ty has seen what happens to guys who so much as look at Jenna in a way Alan doesn't like. And Tyler doesn't exactly want to be on the receiving end of a knuckle sandwitch from one of the school's star athletes.
But now senior year has come, and this situation is getting ridiculous. If Tyler doesn't get it together and tell Jenna how he feels this year, he might never see her again. His band is doing well locally and he knows he'll have his pick of schools to study music if he wants to. He's not a loser.
So why is he so scared that Alan will turn him into a jigsaw puzzle if the truth gets out? And when his worst fear comes true, what will he do about it?
Birthday: August 10th
Lucy doesn't like to share anything: clothes, the spotlight and definitely not her boyfriend. But that's what super-hot Alan Whitman expected. She was to share his attention with his annoying little sister, Jenna.
So Lucy hatched a plan. She took Jenna downtown for a day of girls only shopping... and left her in one of the stores to fend for herself, driving off into the sunset. The goal was to prove that Jenna did not need her brother as a 24 / 7 babysitter. But it all went wrong when Jenna got sent to an independence camp (Yay!) and Lucy got dumped (What?!).
When Jenna comes back a stronger, more independent and capable person Lucy is sure that it's only a matter of time before Alan sees that she was right. Until she meets Cassie Jordan, the person who helped Jenna all summer, and realizes that Alan might be falling for her. Lucy needs to find a way to get rid of Cassie before that can happen. But what can she do?
If Lucy does anything to Cassie and Alan finds out, she knows she'll never get him back. How do you get rid of someone who is untouchable(4)?
1. I have not totally decided what the effects of Cassie's accident were yet. I know she had to learn how to walk again, but I have a ton of research ahead of me to make it all make sense.
2. I went to a lot of camps for kids with special needs / disabilities growing up. I did not actually end up going to an Independence Camp, but I have friends who did.
3. Alan's overprotectiveness toward Jenna is a mix of having two protective younger brothers and an extremely overprotective and paranoid grandma. (She would get scared if I crossed the street when I was at University.)
4. The idea for Untouchable as a concept comes from the fact that, at least where I went to school, you did not attack kids who had any kind of limitation because the punishments for doing this were severe. A lot of us who had unwritten "immunity" actually used it to keep bullies in check. In my book, Lucy fears that the consequence will be permanently losing Alan, which would defeat the purpose of doing anything.