^^ Not really. Though that would be cool.
Ella Kepler was created in Astronomy class, hence the space reference here and throughout Whitewashed. Her name was stolen from my favorite childhood book, Ella Enchanted. (Let's not talk about the movie. No really, don't bring it up. I will get depressed.)
The name "Ella" was a filler at first, because I had no idea what else to call her. The last name came from the fact that, when I started writing, we were discussing Kepler's laws of planetary motion. Which I still don't really understand, but I think Kepler is a cool name. As the story progressed, the name Ella started to fit her character, and I realized that she was officially Ella Jane Kepler.
During my first draft, Ella was essentially me planted into a book. She reacted to everything the way I would; she had all the same interests as me; she spoke exactly the way I did. She was the athletic and braver version of me. And then people told me they hated Ella's character, which made me feel super awkward. I like to think that the two of us progressed together. As she became less obnoxious, so did I. I hope.
Apparently, making the protagonist a carbon copy of yourself happens with a lot with newbie writers, whether intentionally or unintentionally. I didn't think it was a problem until my sister said (in reference to something brave Ella does): "That seemed really out of character for Ella, since I keep picturing her as you and I can't imagine you doing that."
I started to put disclaimers above the book before I let people read it. "Ella is NOT me, so please do not compare her actions to things that I would/wouldn't do, since that will deter you from appreciating her for the unique character that she is." Then I realized that I shouldn't have to put disclaimers, because it should be obvious in my writing that Ella isn't me. So I reevaluated her some more, and then she became an entirely different human being. Less like me, more like her. And then some people started to actually like her. Again, super awkward.
I didn't know she had reddish hair until I saw a photo of a random girl, and then BOOM. I knew that's what Ella looked like, even though at the time Ella's hair was brown and she had no freckles. But suddenly, she did. And somehow, the changing of Ella's appearance made her into a different character. Odd how that can happen, isn't it?
The most challenging thing about writing Ella is when she does things that I don't like, and then I want to shout, "Stop being so stupid!" But then I remember that she can't be smart unless she was at one point stupid, and it sort of makes me feel better. Another difficult thing is that Ella's character in The Trace differs from Ella's character in The Integer. I finally got her character down in The Trace, and then basically had to retrograde in order to write The Integer. Which means Ella does a lot more frustrating and angsty things that make me sigh and want to tell her, in my calm, wise voice, that everything will make sense in due time.
Anyway, there are a few paragraphs about Ella. You might not like her. And that's okay. I don't like everyone I meet, either.
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