Who’s Katie in Real Life?

“How did you create the main character of Ripped?”

“Is Katie based on someone you know?”

“Are you Katie?”

These are just a few of the questions readers have asked me about the real-life identity of the fictional heroine of my first published book, RIPPED: A Jack the Ripper, Time-Travel Thriller.  The short answer is that Katie’s not based on just one person.

Although I love books and history, as do Katie and countless others, I’m definitely not Katie. But I’ll tell you that living with three daughters has given me a ready-made focus group for learning what teenagers are like, and especially teen girls.

­Our household never lacked for drama or changeability: One minute, one of my daughters would be feeling feisty or adventurous; the next, insecure. Katie also runs the gamut of these emotional states since she’s becoming very much her own person while living in the shadow of a sister who’s a rock star.

Katie’s largely an amalgamation of my three daughters. Any trait Katie has, you’ll find in one of my girls. Every emotion Katie shows, I’ve observed in one of them. Of course, a teenage girl’s characteristics and emotions are not necessarily permanent. Teenagers grow and change as they approach adulthood—whether in the real world or in the pages of a book. And I found that the more I wrote about Katie, the more real she became to me, and the more she became her own self.

—Shelly

 

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