Ten Fun Behind-the-Scenes Details about ESSENCE by Lisa Ann O’Kane




Ten Fun Behind-the-Scenes Details about ESSENCE

1.ESSENCE was particularly inspired by two books: THE BEACH by Alex Garland and WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak. Both make a cameo appearance in my novel.

2.The settings and some of the events in ESSENCE were based on the summer I spent living and working in Yosemite National Park, butunnamed (1) Autumn and I have less in common than any other character I have ever written. I love that about her!

3.Ryder Stone’s original name was Ryder Strong, and I didn’t realize I’d stolen the name from Boy Meets World until Strange Chemistry had already picked up ESSENCE.

4.Jett’s style was inspired by Ashlee Simpson’s appearance during her black-haired, pre-nose job days.

5.Autumn and Javi’s first hike in Yosemite was also my first hike in Yosemite. My roommate Mary Siner and I attempted Vernal Falls shortly after our arrival, and we huffed and puffed and complained about our lack of fitness—just like Autumn and Javi do.

6.Shayla looks exactly like my older sister Shana, and she was actually named Shana until the very final draft.

7.Moonbows are a real phenomenon, and you can sometimes catch them at the base of Yosemite Falls during the months of April, May and June.

8.The relationship between Rex Stone and his right-hand man Daniel was partially inspired by the friendship between Russell Crowe and Ben Foster’s characters in the movie 3:10 to Yuma.

9.Ryder has a framed portrait of a Yosemite rock climber and highliner named Dean Potter in his bedroom. Dean is a real person, and he and I both lived in Yosemite National Park during the summer of 2004.

10.I had lots of ideas about what I wanted to accomplish with ESSENCE, but I didn’t know how the story would actually end until about 50 pages before the climax.


About the Author:

unnamed (2)

Lisa Ann O’Kane is a young adult author and former vagabond who once camped out in Yosemite National Park for an entire summer, an experience that inspired her debut novel ESSENCE. Her background is in zookeeping and environmental education, and she has been kicked, cornered, bitten and chased by nearly every animal she has ever loved. She currently resides in Florida, and she is now a huge fan of shooting stars, indoor plumbing and keeping both her feet planted firmly on the trail.



About the Book:

unnamed (1)Autumn escaped a cult, but now she realizes she’s fallen into another.
Growing up in San Francisco’s Centrist Movement, sixteen year-old Autumn Grace has always believed emotions—adrenaline, endorphins, even happiness—drain your Essence and lead to an early death. But her younger brother’s passing and a run-in with a group of Outsiders casts her faith into question.
Ryder Stone, the sexy, rebellious leader of the Outsiders, claims Essence drain is nothing more than a Centrist scare tactic — and he can prove it.
Autumn follows Ryder to his Community of adrenaline junkies and free spirits in Yosemite National Park, and they introduce her to a life of adventure, romance, sex, drugs and freedom. But as she discovers dark secrets beneath the Community’s perfect exterior, she realizes the more she risks in search of the perfect rush, the further she has to fall.