I’ve never been one to turn down a challenge, especially when I challenge myself. That’s what happened when I was writing Identity Break. I wanted to write a novel from a first-person perspective, and I started with the character of Jason Nix. He’s a complicated character. On the one hand, he’s a football star with a genius I.Q.; on the other, he’s an introvert who just doesn’t quite fit in.
Shortly after I started writing, however, I became interested in telling the story from Elyse Van Auten’s point of view. Elyse is also an introvert, but she’s harder around the edges than Jason is. She’s a genius of a different sort - a great artist - but she doesn’t have the confidence to realize it yet.
I still wanted to tell the story from Jason’s perspective, but I wanted to add Elyse’s, too, so the style evolved into a multiple-first-person account. Each chapter is from a different character’s point of view. For the most part, they alternate between Elyse and Jason, but I’ve included chapters in which other characters are speaking, too … and not all of them are heroes. The challenge is to keep everyone’s voice straight, and I think I pulled it off. It allows the reader to really identify with the characters - to get inside their heads and know what they’re all thinking.
Getting inside their heads is something that’s very important to the nature of the story itself, but I don’t want to give too much away. That was another challenge I faced: there’s a mystery element to the story, so I can’t really tell you what’s coming next. All I can say is, I hope it will knock your proverbial socks off. One of the taglines to this book is, “You didn’t see it coming,” and I want readers to be surprised by what they find out about the characters and their situation as the story progresses. Not everything is what it seems, and as the plot unfolds, it accelerates into a very fast-paced action/adventure.
Identity Break is planned as the first installment in a trilogy that also includes a novella titled Artifice set in the same universe. Artifice provides some background to the story you’ll read in Identity Break, but the stories can be read in either order - again, the challenge was to give the reader more to chew on without giving anything away.
I hope you enjoy reading Identity Break as much as I did writing it.
How far would you go to find yourself?
Imagine everything you thought you knew about yourself turned out to be a lie, and you didn’t know who was telling the truth. Imagine you possessed a secret so dangerous that, if it were exposed, it would reshape the entire world.
What would you do if that secret were your very identity?
In almost every way, Palo Vista seems like a typical California city, with office buildings, schools, and homes sprawled out across suburbia, filled with families making a life for themselves at the dawn of the new millennium.
But two seniors at Mt. MacMurray High are about to find out that nothing is as it seems. Jason Nix is a star athlete and honors student who can’t seem to remember anything about his childhood. Elyse Van Auten is a budding artist from a broken home whose father left her mother two years ago - or so she’s been led to believe.
Like most teens entering adulthood, Elyse and Jason just want to find out who they really are. For them, however, the stakes go far beyond their own personal quest. Join them on a journey of self-discovery that becomes a desperate fight for survival against enemies determined to conceal the truth … and find out what happens when that fight becomes personal.
Stifyn Emrys is a journalist and educator who has written on subjects as diverse as history, religion, politics and language. He has served as an editor for fiction and non-fiction projects, and his first book, “The Gospel of the Phoenix,” was published in the summer of 2012. He has published four other books, including three non-fiction works and the children's fairy tale “Feathercap.” “Identity Break” is his first novel. He lives on California’s Central Coast with his wife (also an author), stepson, cat and dog.
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