Character Spotlight: K.E. Ganshert’s Tess & Luka

The GiftingMeet two intriguing teens in

K. E. Ganshert’s

YA Dystopian/Supernatural

The Gifting


The Story

If science is right, then I am crazy. And crazy is dangerous.

Tess Eckhart has always felt things nobody else can feel. Then the Ouija board incident happens at a high school party. Her complete freak out sends her family across the country–next to a nationally-renowned facility for the mentally ill. Worried Tess suffers from the same illness that tormented her grandmother, her parents insist she see a psychiatrist.

Tess is more concerned about fitting in at her new school, and hiding the fact that she’s seeing a therapist at the Edward Brooks Facility. She’s used to whispers and stares, but when it comes to Luka Williams, a reluctantly popular boy in her class, she’s unused to a stare that intense. Then the headaches start, and the seemingly prophetic dreams that haunt her at night. As Tess tries to hide them, she becomes increasingly convinced that Luka knows something–that he might somehow be responsible.

But what if she’s wrong? What if Luka Williams is the only thing separating her from a madness too terrifying to fathom?

Introducing Tess & Luka

Brief physical description

Tess is petite with dark hair, big navy blue eyes, pale skin, a pointy chin, and a spray of freckles across her nose.

Luka is built like a rock climber with green eyes, a straight nose, a crooked smile, and perpetually messy hair.KGchar


I can’t, for the life of me, find a look-alike for Tess, and trust me, I’ve searched! If anybody thinks they know of someone that would fit, please share I love having a physical muse for my characters!

Chace Crawford works for Luka!

Strengths and weaknesses

Tess Eckhart is many things—painfully shy, smart, sensitive, observant, loyal. She’s a girl who just wants to be normal. Like most of us, she has a tendency to get so wrapped up in her own problems (which are definitely on the crazy side) that she overlooks the struggles of others, especially her brother, Pete. In book 1, readers will start to see glimpses of bravery and impulsivity in Tess, which is really just the tip of the iceberg.

Luka Williams is the reluctantly popular, mysterious boy in Tess’s new school. He’s confident without being cocky.  He’s not afraid to disagree with popular opinion. He doesn’t talk just to talk. He measures his words, so when he does have something to say, people listen. He can be overprotective, especially when it comes to Tess. And he’s a little too good at hiding his thoughts and emotions.

Quirk (if any)

Tess has several. She’s prone to headaches and temperature fluctuations nobody else can feel.  She sees things nobody else can see and she swears her dreams are unfolding in real life. I’d say that’s a little quirky.

Luka’s not too quirky. He bites his thumbnail when he’s deep in thought. He messes with his hair when he’s nervous or tense (hence, the perpetually messy hair). There is one “quirk” that is pretty significant, only I can’t share it without spoiling a fun element in the book. I’ll just say it has to do with dreams.

Your inspiration for the character

Tess evolved from an idea—a girl who could see the supernatural in a world where the supernatural isn’t supposed to exist.  Once I had that in my head, Tess Eckhart started taking shape. I also knew early on that I wanted her character to revolve around the juxtaposing, universal desires most young people wrestle with—the desire to fit in, and the desire to stand out.

I’m not sure what it is, but storylines where the ordinary girl snags the unattainable guy have always appealed to me. I’m sure Freud would have a heyday with me on that one! But let’s not go there, m’kay? Luka Williams started off as this very mysterious (and cute, of course) boy who has his eye on our shy protagonist. The question was—why? What do Tess and Luka have in common? What pulls them together? In answering these questions, Luka started to take shape. I hope readers enjoy getting to know him!

Background to the story 

I don’t remember exactly where the idea came from. I do know that I was in a bit of a rut, creatively speaking, and I’ve always been a big fan of young adult fiction. So when this thought popped into my head—what would it be like if a person could see the supernatural realm?—I ran with it. I also happen to have a long-standing fascination with dreams. Scientists still aren’t sure why we have them. There are a whole lot of theories, but no definitive answer. So I added in the dream element with the supernatural element, decided to set the story in a world slightly different (but disturbingly familiar) to our own, and voila—The Gifting was born.

Thanks Katie!

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6 Responses to Character Spotlight: K.E. Ganshert’s Tess & Luka

  1. Thanks so much for the spotlight, Rel!

  2. I’m intrigued, but I have one question: What does a rock climber look like? My daughter used to do indoor rock climbing and I attended several competitions with her. The best climbers weren’t the muscle-bound football players, but small and nimble guys, and they had incredible core strength (necessary for all those upside down moves).

  3. Sounds fascinating. I’ll be checking it out! (And btw, the link to the book on Amazon is the wrong book!)

  4. I really need to find the time to read more titles from Katie, she is such a sweetheart.

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