TWO MINUTES WITH ... Faceless author Alyssa Sheinmel
Next month sees the release of Faceless, an extraordinary and captivating tale of identity, love and redefining who you are. We caught up with author Alyssa Sheinmel to find out a little more about the origins of her story ...
For those who haven't yet read it, could you describe Faceless in ten seconds?
Faceless is the story of Maisie Winters, a 'normal' girl whose face is partially destroyed in a terrible accident. She’s lucky enough to be a candidate for a face transplant, and luckier still when a donor becomes available. But Maisie doesn’t feel lucky. As far as she’s concerned, a face transplant is the type of thing that happens in horror movies, not in the real world. Still, she chooses to go through with the procedure, telling herself that spending the rest of my life with someone else’s face is better than spending it with no face at all. But with someone else's features staring back at her in the mirror, Maisie looks – and feels – like a stranger. Before, she knew who she was – a regular girl who ran track and got good grades, who loved her boyfriend and her best friend. Now, she can't even recognize herself.
Maisie, our protagonist, is a seventeen-year-old girl who has a face transplant. Where did the inspiration for this story come from? Was it based on a real-life story?
A while before my first book was published, I began drafting some notes for another book idea, the story of a girl who’d been in an accident that changed her face forever, who would struggle to discover how much of who she was was tied to what she looked like. Soon, I had pages of notes tucked away in the 'Ideas' folder on my desktop – but I was never quite ready to start writing, never quite sure how to tell this story.
So when my American editor approached me about writing the story of a girl for whom a face transplant was her best hope at a normal life, I was immediately intrigued. I know it sounds corny, but I honestly felt like it was meant to be somehow, like this was the story I’d been waiting to write when I typed out all those notes in my 'Ideas' folder.
What do you hope readers will take away from Faceless?
At the end of the day, Faceless is the story of one girl’s struggle to figure out who she is. Most of us – thankfully – will never find ourselves in situations as extreme as Maisie’s, but plenty of us still struggle to discover how much of who we are is tied to what we look like. While Maisie’s experience may be singular, being a girl who doesn’t look the way she thinks she should unfortunately isn’t.
Follow Alyssa Sheinmel on Twitter: @alyssasheinmel