YP Alum Lia Schaffner on Publishing Her First Book and Raising Awareness

Class of 2017 alum Lia Schaffner strives to help others to find their voice. She recently published her first book Rainbow Plague, which illustrates how quickly society can change and evolve into a very negative environment for certain parts of the population. “I got the idea from looking at the Trump administration and so many horrible things happened to so many people,” says Lia. “We are not doing enough to promote awareness, be a part of the change, and to be involved with politics.”

Rainbow Plague, 
written under the pen name Lia Athena, has been described in reviews as “thought provoking” and “Handmaid’s Tale meets Hunger Games” It is available for purchase on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and indiebound.org. The book follows main character, Maia Anna Robinson, who lives in a dystopian society run by a fanatically religious conservative president, who is obsessed with the idea that the members of the LGBTQIA+ community need to be cured. As a gay, biracial high school student, Maia is forced to think twice about her love and question her identity.
Prior to publishing Rainbow Plague, Lia had written other young adult fiction books centered around similar themes. She is inspired by the world that she lives in, combined with images and stories extracted from her dreams. “I wish I could become a politician or a doctor but as a creative this is my way of helping people,” she says. Many of her stories were inspired by her own experience as a teenager and high school student. 
Lia began writing short stories in middle school. She then entered York Prep in ninth grade, and discovered the Drama Club. She says that she really enjoyed the connection that she had with her teachers at York, and that Drama Director Mr. Viscardi, along with her participation in the Drama Club, helped her to explore her passion for theater. As a result, she also gained confidence. She loved acting and working on plays and musicals throughout high school. Her favorite play was the 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee.
Now, in addition to her role as an author, Lia is also a background actor for film and television. She says that being on set gives her the opportunity to write between takes, and that playing a variety of characters has given the perspective to write from multiple points of view. She is currently writing a science fiction book that is completely different from Rainbow Plague.
Lia hopes to publish additional books in the next year and to continue to inspire her audience. She can be found on Instagram under the handle @lia_athena and on TikTok under the handle @lia.athena. You can also listen to her speak with mental health therapist Susan Casey about forming her own narrative as a queer biracial woman.