With Unplanned scheduled to release in just two more days, I've been getting a little nervous. We're talking a new series, new setting, and new protagonist. Thankfully, I have really loved writing Kennedy Stern's character, and I hope you'll enjoy her as much as I do.
Kennedy is the daughter of Roger and Juliette Stern, American missionaries you might remember if you've read some of my North Korea novels. In case you haven't met Kennedy yet, here's some things you should know about her:
She's driven. She graduated at the top of her class in high school, which landed her a spot in Harvard's elite program for pre-med students. All Kennedy has to do is keep her grades up as an undergrad, and she's guaranteed admission into Harvard Medical School once she graduates. Her perfectionism has worked in her favor until now, but it might also prove one of her biggest character flaws.
Something I find very endearing about Kennedy is that she’s not always pining after some boy. She has her goals, she has her life plans, and she’s not going to swoon over the first guy who pays attention to her. I have to admit I admire this about her, since I was admittedly horrible at being single.
Even when she's trying to solve the mystery of the hotline phone or praying for God to protect her from those who want to keep her from finding that mystery out, Kennedy struggles with feelings of of isolation and homesickness. It's something many college students experience their first time living away from home, but Kennedy's case is even more pronounced. Not only is she a dozen time zones away from "home," she finds herself a cultural outcast. She grew up as a missionary kid in China, where she never felt that she belonged, but when she gets to Harvard, she realizes just how different she is from her peers who grew up exclusively in the US. Hers is a struggle typical of missionary kids, sometimes called third-culture kids because they always seem stuck between their home culture and the host culture of the country they live in.
Some of my favorite scenes to write about Kennedy were the ones in which she’s wrestling with her own spirituality. Her parents are missionaries to China, and they train North Korean refugees. When Kennedy compares herself to the underground missionaries she knows (like Simon and Hannah from the novel Torn Asunder), Kennedy believes she won’t measure up to anyone. Her parents were so focused on their ministry in China that Kennedy was left to flounder quite a bit. The scenes that show Kennedy's struggle with her own spiritual walk make me sad for her as a character, but they also make me excited because she has so much room for growth in books to come (and yes, there will be plenty more books about Kennedy, Lord-willing).
Remember: Unplanned releases in just two days.
Preorder your $2.99 ebook now before the price goes up!