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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Character Interview: The characters of Altered

Today, I have the immense pleasure of interviewing the characters of the novel Altered by Aubrey Coletti! They really are quite the interesting and colorful bunch, so enjoy!

Altered by Aubrey Coletti
Pages: 272
Genre: YA Thriller

When Toni, Joseph and Charlie arrive at their new boarding school, they are glad to leave their families — and respective problems — behind. Isolated as boarders, they meet a handsome senior with a personality like iced snake’s blood, teachers with a penchant for physical punishment, and four other outcasts who reveal that their being brought to the Academy wasn’t random at all. When the arrivals discover that their new school is engaged in “behavior modification” through electric shocks, isolation, restraints, and an ever-evolving set of methods to “fix” them, they declare war on their Academy. During their campaign of sabotage, they fight, hate, scorn, love, and begin to uncover the reasons why they were brought to the school. But as their war against the school escalates beyond their control, will they become the very things the Academy believes they are: dangerous, delinquent — and mad?
1.) Since there are quite a few of you guys, could you please do an introduction of yourself, and tell the readers a little about you?

Lieutenant: "Toni, why don't you start us off?"
Toni: "Okay. Uh, hello, I'm Toni White, I'm fourteen going on fifteen, sarcastic going on sardonic, and by virtue of just how fucked up everyone else here is, I'm actually the normal one."
Melvin: "It's sad but true. She really is. I guess I'm next to most normal. Hi, I'm Melvin. No I don't go by Mel, yes I am gay, yes I am wearing eyeliner, no I do not watch 'Glee', yes, I regret having fallen in with all these crazy Philistines around me."
Lieutenant: "You are such an over-the-top queen sometimes. I'm Amina Jackson, but everyone calls me Lieutenant, 'cause I do wanna join the army someday. If they all get to be too much for you I'm right here and I been there, best believe."
Joseph: "You gotta stop pretendin' you're so normal, don't lie to the nice lady. Ahem. Hello, I'm Joseph, I am in no way normal, no way, and I provide much needed comic relief."
Ann: "He's the clown of the ground."
Joseph: "Hey! She's so mean to me sometimes. And by sometimes I mean all the time."
Ann: "Oh, you like it. I'm Ann, I'm the resident bitch of the school-"
Lieutenant: "Town."
Ann: "Shush! You heard the rumors, they're all true, except the one where I have a Snoopy blanket. That one is totally false, all lies."
Anthony: "Okay, I'll just inject this in before ya'll drive the woman insane. I'm Anthony-"
Toni: "Or Anton, depending on what day you ask-"
Anthony: "Interrupting is rude, be a proper lady lil' Miss. I'm Anthony, I kinda jus' go along for the ride with all these crazy people."
Lieutenant (muttered): "Except when he's directing us. Charlie, hun, why don't you go?"
Charlie: "Oh, okay. My name is Charlie Persan, I'm fourteen, and no matter what these guys say, they really are wonderful people and friends."
Joseph: "Aw. That's so sweet." (Hugs Charlie)

2.) So, guys, I’ll just get right to it. What were your first thoughts when you realized that your school was… well, not your average boarding school when it comes to punishments?

Joseph (laughing): "Man, we're gonna in trouble for this!"
Lieutenant: "Like that would stop you. Mel, why don't you give her the background?"
Melvin (glares): "Call me that again and I'll do unspeakable things to you with your precious dog tags. Alright: so I've lived in this town all my life, and so I watched the whole school come in, how they did it, everything. The Headmistress, she didn't just say off the bat, 'Oh, we're going to skin shock your children', she's too smart for that. It was like the frog in the pot of boiling water, first she introduced some methods like restraining and isolation, then food deprivation, then worked her way up. 'Cause most of the kids stopped misbehaving once they realized she was serious, most parents didn't worry about it."
Anthony: "Until we came in, of course. We're all too stubborn and stupid to back down without a fight."
Lieutenant: "Yo, I'll be completely straight, I thought I was hallucinatin' for like a month when I found out what they were allowed to do to us here. The first time I got brought down to the lower levels and Discipline? Man...Took me a while to be able to form an opinion or whatever, 'cause I was just too stunned and shocked."
Anthony (Chuckling): "Yeah, literally! God Bless J. Alter High."
Toni: "Well, I'm glad you guys were here, or else I don't know what I would've done. When I found out they took my phone I went-I got so mad, I couldn't even believe it. I mean, you can't believe it for a minute there, it's not something you hear about, you don't think in the U.S. that they'd be able to legally do these things to you. But they can."
Charlie: "I was just so scared. Because I *did* know about places that shocked and restrained their students, so I knew it was legal, and I thought coming here was getting away from places like that. I just..."
Lieutenant (wrapping an arm around Charlie's shoulder): "It's okay, Tiny. We got you."
Joseph: "Well, you can probably guess how me and the Mrs. here reacted. I just can't how wrong this place is. It just makes you instantly into a criminal, whether or not you've done somethin' wrong, and then if you do somethin' wrong, they feel justified in how they treat you. But it's like, how do they expect us to react?"
Ann: "Yeah, I mean, we're not perfect, but we're not monsters, we're not like *some* we could name who go around getting off on hurting people, but they treat us just like we are."
Lieutenant (nodding): "Truth."

3.) Some of you have some pretty interesting abilities. What can you do, and when did you first notice it?

Lieutenant: "That's the million dollar question, huh? I don't even know. I might have always been able to do the whole, fuck I'll just say it, telekinesis thing, but I only noticed it more recently, and I *still* don't know if it's real or just me going crazy. It's not like I'm Jean Grey or anything, just that if I get really...excited, or manic, and kinda push, it comes out. Not really that special."
Toni: "Don't believe a word she says. It's incredible, I've seen it."
Lieutenant (Waving her hand dismissively): "Yeah, yeah."
Joseph: "Well I knew about mine for a long time, but it wasn't until I got here that I started like, bein' able to control it. I just always was a little pyromaniac, and I figured, like, if fire shows up around me it's 'cause I'm always fuckin' around with matches, ya know? But I could never explain how fires would just start to happen when I was near, or get bigger, or how a room would get hotter when I would enter-you know, other than 'cause a' my masculine powers of attraction-until I came here and kinda started working on it. Don't have a clue how it happens though, I am not a science guy, so don't ask."
Ann: "It's gotta have somethin' to do with his own body temperature and how it heats up. His skin is literally burning sometimes, and even normally it's way hotter than a normal person's."
Joseph (Smirking) : "Thank you, babe. Glad to know how I affect you."
Ann: "Oh, not even what I meant."
Lieutenant: "Yeaaahhh, time out, uh uh, we do *not* need to go any more into that, no. Anthony?"
Anthony: "Huh? What about me? I don't have *powers*, I just got the fuckin' problem that any electrical thing I could near malfunctions or crashes or whatever. I can't even tell you how many games of Angry Birds I lost 'cause of it. Fuckin' birds. Someday man...someday those birds will pay."
Toni: "That leaves Charlie, I think."
Charlie (Taking a deep breath): " power, or...See, my thing is...Okay, sometimes I know things, or can sense things, mentally. A lot of times it's just watching people, their body language, subtle signs, voice inflections, emotions you can feel coming off them...but sometimes it gets almost..."
Ann: "You can say it, Funsize. You're psychic, it's nothing to be ashamed of."
Charlie: "It's not that I'm ashamed, I can just never *tell*! Sometimes I can get a sense of what people are thinking and feeling, in pictures, emotions, memories...because people don't usually think in words. Sometimes I know when people are near, or can hear things and smell things and sense things far away. But sometimes it's mind playing tricks on me, me seeing, hallucinating, things that aren't there. So I'm not sure mine is really a *power*."
Ann: "Hey, at least you guys have something special. Don't turn your nose up at it, some of us would kill to have gifts and skills."
Lieutenant: "Oh, don't sell yourself short, Blondie. You know you got a whole *special* set of skills."
Ann: "Oh, don't *even* start."
Joseph (Wrapping his arms around Ann): "Yeah, leave my innocent little flower alone."
Melvin: "I personally believe I have the power to tell when a celebrity relationship will work or fail by the color coordination of their clothes, so, I think I am far more gifted than *all* of you."
Toni: "Oh, definitely."
Anthony: "We bow before your greatness."
Ann: "All hail the Faery Queen of J. Alter High."

4.) If you could be anywhere in the world right now, away from your school, where would you be, and what would you be doing?

Lieutenant: "Aw, damn, you just had to do that, huh? Fuck, I'd many places. At a concert, at home, finishing up my junior year and getting ready to pick a college, in Paris or Budapest, or India...eating a whole goddamn pound of chocolate..."
Melvin: "Oh God, yes! Honestly, I'm not picky, just *anywhere* but here, and I'd be happy as a sparkling, rainbow clam."
Toni: "Home. I feel like Dorothy, I wanted so bad to leave, but no contact with my parents, and I realize the problems you ran away from aren't as big as the problems you find when you're running, and you know it'd be better to face them."
Joseph: "Man, that was deeep. The Tao of Toni."
Ann: "You be quiet." (Puts a hand over his mouth) "Sad to say, I'd probably be somewhere with this guy, here. He's promised me a night on the town, or as close as he can manage."
Joseph (Pushing her hand away): "I would be very very far away from this angry, angry woman. Nah, just playin'. I'd be in my home town, New York, New York. New York City, no place like it."
Charlie: "I'd be anywhere but here, but as long as it was with you guys. No, honestly, I would. If there's one thing I *don't* regret about coming here, it's meeting all of you."
Anthony: "Awww...and that's how you know she's the really mad one. No, but we love her. Me? I'd be in Montana."
Lieutenant: "I will slap you if you if can't be serious for this nice interviewer."
Anthony: "I am! I like to ski!"
(Silence and stares from the other interviewees)
Anthony: "What? Brother can't ski? Oh, I just shock you all with how versatile I am. You don't know all my secrets!"
Charlie: "See? This is why I love them."

5.) They say music is the cure for anything. Do you guys have any artists that you listen to when you’re feeling crappy?

Charlie: "Oh Gods yes. I really like Fiona Apple, she really helps me when I can't seem to...find my way back from my head."
Toni: "Joni Mitchell is my favorite artist. She's got a song for everything, and it helps me to feel like me again to listen to her."
Lieutenant: "Shit, I like a lot of different artists. Right now I'm really into rock and metal. Jimmy Hendrix and Symphony X just have a song for like every headstate I get into. Oh, in answer to the last question, I'd want to go back in time to see Jimmy live."
Charlie: "I'll call you a Doctor, see if he can swing by with his TARDIS."
Toni: "Okay, nerd high five, right now." (High five)
Joseph: "I'm missin' home, so honestly a lot of people from New York. Jay-Z, Immortal Technique, Talib Kweli, Alicia Keys..."
Lieutenant: "Nice, we need to go to a concert together. Ya know, if we ever got outta here."
Ann: "I like country and I am not ashamed to say it. Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, those are the people I'd put on my Ipod, if, ya know, we were allowed one."
Joseph: "Yo, which one has the song you like about loading up her gun and chasin' her ex-boyfriend around?"
Ann: "Miranda."
Lieutenant: "I can't even pretend to be shocked. Anthony?"
Anthony: "Honestly, the last thing I was able to listen to when I hacked into the school server and got internet was that damn "Bed Intruder" song, so now that shit's been stuck in my head all. fucking. week. Climbin' in yo windows...snatching yo people's up...tryna shock 'em so ya'll better hide yo kids, hide yo wives...and hide yo husbands, 'cause J. Alter is shockin' err'body out here."

6.) Thank you for joining me, guys! So fun to have you!

Toni: "Thanks for listening. I hope this gets to people out there, and you can spread our story so J. Alter and places like it get shut down. There's no regulations placed on what they can do here, so you wouldn't believe what they're allowed to do to us."
Joseph: "Yeah, thanks for gettin' the word out. Tell anybody else who gets a letter from this school to run all the way to fuckin' Canada if they have to to get away."
Charlie: "I hope this doesn't get back to the Headmistress here, but I do hope it warns people, because this isn't the only school, or residential treatment center, or 'camp' like this. Just don't let yourself be tricked into coming here, or sending your kids here."
Anthony: "Don't worry Tiny, we got your back. I'd say if this gets to anybody in a place like this, if you try to send out a message out online, or support, or whatever, whenever I can I hack into the Academy server, so I'll try and see it."
Melvin: "I guess our theme is, you're not alone."
Ann: "Not when you have friends."
Joseph: "Aww....tear. So movin'."
Toni: "Seriously though. The only way we live through this is with each other. So hold onto whoever your true friends are, because they're your real family."
Lieutenant: "Truth, best believe it."


  1. Alright, this definitely sounds like a cast of characters I could fall in love reading about! Great interview! :)

  2. Id completely freak and lock myself in my room

  3. Before or after i had a enormous panic attack? lol

  4. Probably faint after realizing the predicament I'd gotten myself into and upon waking up, I would reassure myself it was only a dream... Only to find myself strapped to an electric chair! :o
    Rachel C.


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