Blog - Featured Images (2)
Picture of Amy LeTourneur

Amy LeTourneur

Kaleidoscope: Meet the Characters

Sharing is caring...😉

Happy New Year graphic - Work in Progress blog by Amy LeTourneurIn the spirit of the holidays, we’re lightening things up on the blog this week. Today, I’m going to introduce you to the characters and settings in my upcoming novel, Kaleidoscope

And just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a synopsis of the book:

AJ Hertz is a seventeen-year-old soccer phenom whose future seems to be set in stone. As one of the top-ranked high school soccer players in the country, he has both college and pro teams vying for his signature on a contract. But just as his senior year begins, AJ and his mother are involved in a tragic car accident that takes her life and leaves him with a career-ending head injury and a three-month gap in his memory.

Drowning in pain over the loss of his mother and completely unsure of his new place in the world, AJ teeters on the edge of an abyss for months, praying for death and holding both friends and family at arm’s length. When yet another loss pushes him over the edge, his violent reaction lands him in juvenile court facing serious criminal charges. Rather than putting him in juvenile detention, however, the judge hands down a unique sentence, one that forces AJ to face his emotions, his actions…and his victims. As he carries out the judge’s orders, AJ forges new relationships, restores old ones, and unearths the shocking secrets that affect them all. And when a new friend is faced with a life or death decision, AJ discovers a thrilling—and somewhat terrifying—new purpose for his life.

The Characters

AJ Hertz - Kaleidoscope by Amy LeTourneur
{Actor Adam Hicks}

Before the crash, seventeen-year-old AJ had a playful, snarky sense of humor and deep loyalty for those he loved. Now, he’s so mired in grief and anger over the loss of his mother and his future career that losing his memory of the entire summer before the crash doesn’t even faze him.

But someone from AJ’s former life desperately wants him to remember that summer. As AJ struggles to find his footing in his new reality, a mystery person leaves him cryptic clues about things he somehow knows he should remember. But will he ever unearth the memories buried in his mind? And, as he begins to forge a new life for himself, should he even try?

Maura Hertz - Kaleidoscope by Amy LeTourneur

AJ’s mother, Maura, was thirty-five—and eight months pregnant—when she died in the accident that left her son broken and bruised in body, mind, and spirit. She and AJ’s father were married at eighteen, and she gave birth to AJ just a few months later. Over the years, she suffered seven miscarriages, so she considered herself a mother of eight—one much-loved living child and seven precious angels. The healthy baby boy she was carrying when she died was a long-awaited answer to her prayers. 

Maura inherited her father’s deep love of platitudes and often shared her family’s wisdom through trite sayings…with her own special twist. She laughed often and loved extravagantly, and her death left a hole in the hearts of all who knew her.

Michael Hertz - Kaleidoscope by Amy LeTourneur

Michael Hertz, AJ’s father, is a math professor at nearby Hawthorne University. His wife, Maura, was the love of his life, and losing her and their unborn son nearly broke him completely. A man of quiet strength and seemingly infinite patience, Mike soldiers on despite the months of hell both the accident and his own son have put him through. But the night AJ hits rock bottom, Mike nearly gives up on him. Buoyed by the grace and wisdom of a good friend, he manages to hang on and help his son find his way back to who he really is.

Riley Kingston - Kaleidoscope by Amy LeTourneur
{Actress Mackenzie Foy}

Sixteen-year-old Riley is type A all the way. As a homeschooler with a drive to excel, she manages to graduate from high school and earn nearly two years’ worth of college credits before her seventeenth birthday, all while working part-time at Molly’s Diner. When she meets AJ, she’s drawn to him, and not just because he’s exceptionally easy on the eyes. Riley can sense that beneath the gruff exterior lies a boy who is heartbroken over the loss of his mother, a loss Riley knows all too well. But when AJ’s destructive actions bring harm to her family, will Riley ever be able to forgive him?

Theo Christopoulos - Kaleidoscope by Amy LeTourneur
{Actor Braeden Lemasters}

Eighteen-year-old Theo is one of the Christopoulos triplets (along with sisters Lexi and Lina) and AJ’s former best friend. Before the accident, he, Lexi, and AJ were nearly inseparable, with their classmates even dubbing them the Hertzopoulos triplets. But when AJ shuts everyone out of his life after the crash, the shy Theo retreats into his shell and locks out the rest of the world, including Lexi…with devastating consequences. 

Lexi Christopoulos - Kaleidoscope by Amy LeTourneur
{Actress Ruby Rose}

Before AJ’s accident, Lexi was known as Sexy Lexi, with a lush mane of brown hair and curves to die for. But when the crash tears AJ’s world apart, it also sets off a series of traumatic events in Lexi’s own life, events which prompt her to change everything she can about herself. But despite her dramatic physical transformation, she’s still haunted by ghosts nobody knows about—and from which she fears she’ll never be free. 


Melina Christopoulos - Kaleidoscope by Amy LeTourneur
{Model Emelie Battah}

Melina, the third Christopoulos triplet, has been AJ’s sworn enemy for as long as either of them can remember. Their rivalry began when AJ became best friends with Theo and Lexi, leaving Lina on the outside looking in at all of their fun and adventures. Instead of wallowing in her loneliness, Lina channeled her energy into building a hugely successful modeling career. She may be the picture of perfection on the outside, but Melina’s carefully constructed façade hides secrets…ones that could destroy her career and hurt the people she loves, including the one she cares for more than anything.

Kyle Bradley - Kaleidoscope by Amy LeTourneur
{Actor Chace Crawford}

Crowned the King of the Untouchables—through no fault of his own—Kyle Bradley sits squarely on the bottom rung of the social ladder at Hale Valley High. After AJ’s tumultuous return to school, Kyle and his best friends, Peyton and Rafi, adopt him into their little group and do their best to keep him out of trouble. Even though Kyle has a reputation as a ruffian, this unwilling king may not be exactly as he seems. And when life throws him a huge curve ball, will he pull a disappearing act or step up to the plate and surprise them all?

Rafi Delgado - Kaleidoscope by Amy LeTourneur
{Actor Rico Rodriguez}

What Rafi Delgado lacks in height he makes up for in heart. Rafi is both the comic relief and the glue that holds their little band of misfits together. He has a serious—and secret only to her—crush on Peyton, which makes her dalliance with Kyle a painful blow. Rafi is loyal with a capital L, but when Peyton finds herself in an impossible situation, his friendship with both her and Kyle will be put to the ultimate test. 

Peyton Bell - Kaleidoscope by Amy LeTourneur
{Actress Brighton Sharbino}

There are two things Peyton Bell wants more than anything: to be a professional chef; and to be loved. As the mama bird for their little group, Peyton has a nurturing—if somewhat broken—spirit. While her desire to be a chef drives her to work hard, her desperate need for love leads her into one dead-end relationship after another. But when she and Kyle begin a secret (or not so secret, as it turns out) liaison, it will change their friendship—and their lives—forever. 

Pop - Kaleidoscope by Amy LeTourneur
{Actor Brian Dennehy – RIP}

A “fan favorite” among my beta readers! Aidan Sweeney—or Pop, as his grandchildren call him—is AJ’s grandfather and a strong presence in his life. Even though Pop was Maura’s father, he loves Mike like a son, and the feeling is mutual. As a widower himself, Pop knows what Mike is going through, and he is his son-in-law’s biggest ally. Pop is a burly, boisterous, loving Irishman with a penchant for telling it like it is, and he is so much fun to write!

Miss Essie - Kaleidoscope by Amy LeTourneur
{Model Valentina Yasen}

Ninety-three-year-old Miss Essie—aka Gigi—is Riley and Jesse’s great-grandmother. When AJ interviews her as part of his sentence from the judge, the stories she shares with him and the love and forgiveness she showers on him will change him in ways he never expected. With her gentle way of speaking truth, Essie helps AJ grieve his mother’s death and begin to move beyond it. But her loving spirit and gentle demeanor hide a painful secret nobody in her life could ever imagine, one that leads AJ—and Miss Essie herself—down a new and exciting path that binds them together forever. 

Rome Christopoulos - Kaleidoscope by Amy LeTourneur
{Actor Alexis Georgoulis}

Roman Christopoulos—or Rome, as most people call him—is Theo, Lexi, and Lina’s father. While he adores his children, Rome has spent most of their lives consumed by his work as a highly successful custom home builder. He prides himself on the luxurious life he’s provided for his family. But as the dominoes fall, one by one, he begins to realize how fragile his family truly is…and that all the riches in the world can’t save it.

Jesse Kingston - Kaleidoscope by Amy LeTourneur
{Actor Sean O’Donnell}

Sixteen-year-old Jesse Kingston is Riley’s “Irish twin,” born just 10 months after her. He has a mischievous and happy-go-lucky personality, but his overly-protective streak for his older sister makes one wonder just what he’s protecting her from. When Jesse meets Lexi, he falls hard, but she resists his charms, citing their two-year age difference as the reason she won’t date him. But the more he gets to know her, the more he wonders if his age is truly a factor—or if Lexi’s heart already belongs to someone else. 

Jesse is a fun character who will feature more prominently in a future book in the series. (And if anyone can tell me why the Pinterest pin above is one of my most popular pins ever, I’m all ears! LOL)

The Settings

Hale Valley Town Cemetery

Hale Valley Cemetery - Kaleidoscope by Amy LeTourneur

Many of the important events in the story happen in this small cemetery, so it is a key setting in the novel. This is where AJ first sees Riley. It’s Kyle’s home away from home. It’s the scene of the crime, the place where redemption begins, and the spot where secrets are revealed.

This photo is very close to how I envision the cemetery, but the Hale Valley cemetery has a low stone wall surrounding it. Also, the story takes place in the summer, so picture the trees all green and the grass a little more ragged and free of fallen leaves.

Photo credit:

When the group skips school, they sometimes hide out in the caretaker’s shed in the cemetery, which has been abandoned since budget cuts required the township to lay off the former caretaker. This photo captures my mental image of the shed very well except the shed in my story has the doors on the back end instead of the side. 

Molly’s Diner

Comets Diner, Tyngsbury, MA

Another favorite hang-out is Molly’s, a small diner in a nearby town. This is where Riley works as a waitress and where she and AJ first meet. But Molly’s isn’t just a fave with AJ and his new crew; Lexi also spends a lot of her time in the diner’s cushy booths. But is she hiding out—or trying to relive history?

Replace those games in the right of the photo, add a bunch of kitschy stuff to the walls, and turn the chairs at the counter into stools, and this photo is very close to how I imagine Molly’s Diner. 

AJ’s House

Image credit:

AJ lives with his father and his bulldog, Baxter, in a modest three-bedroom rancher in Hale Valley, PA. This photo captures my mental picture of the Hertz home almost perfectly. The only difference is that in the story, the section between the house and the garage is an open breezeway.

Miss Essie’s House

Despite its rundown condition, AJ feels drawn to Miss Essie’s old home from the moment he first lays eyes on it. This Queen Ann Victorian is the inspiration for Essie’s house, but in the book, the house is about ten feet wider on the veranda side. Also, the house in the book is a faded blue rather than the lovely greens on the home in the photo, but I suspect that if Essie’s house was ever renovated, it would end up painted in this same color scheme. (Book two??) 

The Christopoulos House

Photo credit:

There was a time when AJ considered Theo & Lexi’s house his second home, but he hasn’t set foot on the property since the crash. So why is this a setting in the story? You’ll have to read the book to find out.😏 

There you have it…

…the settings and cast (most of them) of Kaleidoscope! The book is in a final revision right now, but you can read its opening chapters here. And if you want a super-cute spoiler, then scroll way down past my signature. 

I’m also hard at work revising my novella, Reflection, a prequel to Kaleidoscope that introduces AJ and part of his “normal world” before the crash. (Psst…it’s set during the summer he can’t remember!) Want a free copy when it comes out? Sign up for my email list in the form below this post, and you’ll get Reflection for free when it’s released! 

Penny for your thoughts…

Who’s your favorite character from your own work in progress? Tell me about him (or her) in the comments below. 

In my next post, we’ll talk all about editing (a subject near and dear to this grammar nerd’s heart). Until then, buckle up, buttercup, and let’s write!


In case you missed it: Last time, I shared my seven-round process for revising your novel. Click here to check it out now!

Warning: Spoiler Below













Photo credit:

Oh. My. Word!

Who is this adorable pup???

Telling you which character she belongs to—or even her name—would be a big spoiler, so I’ll just leave you with this pic. But you’ll get to know this little one well in Kaleidoscope, so keep an eye on your email for updates on its release date.

What’s that? You’re not subscribed to the email list?! Quick…scroll down and do it now so you don’t miss out on this little doll!

{Bribing you with a puppy… Ingenious? Or a low blow? Take your pick. 😆}

Latest Posts


(working title and cover design)

A compelling mix of tragedy, redemption, the search for meaning, and , yes, even a little romance, Kaleidoscope will make you laugh out loud, cry like a baby, and keep you guessing all the way to “The End” (and beyond…). 

*Shop My Store!*

Sass & Soul Collection

Combining a little bit of faith with a whole lotta fun…because belief doesn’t have to equal boring!

Sign up here for useful writing tips, updates on my novel’s release, and notices about the latest blog post, all delivered straight to your digital doorstep (aka email) every week!

No mindless fluff…only the good stuff!

4 thoughts on “Kaleidoscope: Meet the Characters”

  1. After reading the manuscript and then taking a look at your character photos, I think you nailed it! I did have Essie looking older though…..hope I look that good when I am in my 90’s. Who am I kidding…….I don’t look that good now in my 70’s!! Mom

    1. You’re right, that model is younger than Miss Essie. I imagine Essie more aged than this but still retaining a touch of elegance. And you look great, Mom! You’ve always looked much younger than your age. (And sometimes act it, too. hehe)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Catch up on my latest posts...

A Step-by-Step Guide to Beta Reading: Part 2

Ah, beta reading…it’s a big topic. So over the last few weeks, we’ve covered beta reading in detail. First, we discussed all the FAQs about beta readers, and in Part 1 of this guide, we laid the foundation for your beta reading process. This week, in Part 2, we move on

Read More »

A Step-by-Step Guide to Beta Reading: Part 1

If you plan to self-publish your novel—or even if you hope to publish traditionally—beta reading is an essential step on your path to publication. But if you’ve never been through the beta reading process before, then it can seem overwhelming, so I’ve broken it down into a series of baby

Read More »
featured image - Work in Progress blog by Amy LeTourneur

Beta Reader FAQs

Are you self-publishing your novel? Hoping to be traditionally published? Whichever route you’ve chosen, beta readers are an important part of your journey from hopeful writer to published author. But what exactly is a beta reader? Do you really need them? And where on God’s green earth do you find

Read More »