The One Rolling Down Highway 41

It's been a REALLY long time since I've done a Friday Five, hasn't it? Do people still do Friday Fives? Am I dating myself here, internet dinosaur that I am? This weekend has to be dedicated to revising the first half of Sequel and straightening out what I need to do to finish the book. I keep telling everyone I'm only halfway done, but actually... I don't know if that's true. Right now it feels like I'm closer to being 3/4ths of the way done plot-wise, but character-wise and worldbuilding-wise, it feels like less than that. With everything that's happened since February, I haven't been able to really sit down and pound out the full rough draft by May 1st like I had originally wanted. I did, however, do a revision outline for myself so I would know what to do when I finally found myself in NYC with my laptop for a full weekend. My new goal is to have the first rough draft finished by May 31st, and to get a draft to my editor by June 15th. So, um, wish me luck on that.

Because I have Sequel and, therefore, The Darkest Minds on the brain, I thought I would dedicate this Friday Five to telling you a little more about it. BUT FIRST! The winner of the galley is...

Rebecca! (rebecca191(at)

I'll be emailing you tonight to get your address :)

1. Where to begin, where to begin... oh, here's an interesting factoid: you may have read in the book's description that the camp Ruby is placed it (and escapes from) is called Thurmond. Thurmond is an actual place in West Virginia; when I was trying to plan out where all of these camps would be located, I used a list of towns with very, very small populations. Thurmond, at present, only has five residents. The other camp named in the book is in Ohio, and is in a city that presently has 600 residents. In the book, most of these residents have bailed and it's just the camp and the soldiers that staff it. The bulk of this book takes place in West Virginia and Virginia.

2. Liam tells Ruby at one point--half-kidding--that this song is his theme song. It is semi-biographical (but you'll have to figure out which part):

3. Speaking of classic rock, there are a number of references to songs and song titles throughout. You can see it mostly in the nicknames that show up (especially if Liam is the one giving them): Slip Kid, Lady Jane, Ruby Tuesday, Black Betty, etc. This is mostly for my own personal amusement, but also for another reason I will get around to explaining after, you know, you guys read the book.

4. A quick scene I am fond of, mostly because it shows the early Ruby/Liam/Chubs friendship dynamic:

“Ruby?” I heard Liam’s voice call. “You okay?”

I took a deep breath and reached back, hand feeling through the air for the faucet. The water overhead faded to a mere drizzle, and then a drip, and then nothing at all.

“Can you—uh—open the door? Just for a sec?” He sounded nervous enough to make me nervous. For one terrifying split second I thought something had happened. I reached for the towel and wrapped it around myself. My fingers flicked the lock over and were turning the doorknob before my brain caught up. A blast of icy air was the first thing to hit me. Liam’s wide eyes were the second. The pair of big white socks in his hand, the third.

He glanced around the bathroom over my shoulder, his mouth pressed in a grim line. The motel room was darker than it had been when I first walked in; we must have been well into night now. So I couldn’t be sure, not in any real way, but I thought I caught a hint of color flooding the tips of his ears.

“Is everything all right?” I whispered. He stared at me, letting the warm fog from the bathroom wash over him. “Liam?”

The socks were thrust in my direction. I looked down at them and then up at him, hoping I didn’t look as flabbergasted as I felt.

“Just wanted to . . . give you these,” he said, giving them a little shake. He thrust them again in my direction. “You know, for you.”

“Don’t you need them?” I asked.

“I have a couple extra pairs, and you have none, right?” He looked like he was in some kind of pain now. “Seriously. Please. Just take them. Chubs says your extremities or whatever are the first things to get cold, so you need them, and—”

“Oh my God, Green,” I heard Chubs say from somewhere in the room. “Just take the damn socks and put the kid out of his misery.”

Liam didn’t wait for me to hold out a hand. He reached past me and deposited them on the counter, right next to the sink.

“Um . . . thanks?” I said.

“Great—I mean, no problem,” Liam turned to walk away, only to turn back again, as if thinking of something else. “Okay. Great. Cool—well, so you—”

“Use your words, Lee,” Chubs called. “Some of us are trying to get some sleep.”

“Oh, right. Sleep.” Liam made a vague motion toward the room’s bed. “You and Zu are going to share. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Of course not,” I said.

“Okay, great!” He put an abnormally bright smile on his face. I wondered what he was waiting for me to do or say—if this was one of those moments that being trapped in a cabin with dozens of girls for six years had failed to prepare me for. It was like we were speaking in two different languages.

“Yeah, um, great,” I repeated, more confused now than ever.

That seemed to do the trick, though. Liam turned and walked away without another word.

I picked up my new socks from the counter, examining them. Just before I shut the door, I heard Chubs’s voice, tinged with his usual told-you-so.

“—hope you’re pleased with yourself,” he was saying. “You should have just left her alone. She was fine.”

But I hadn’t been, and somehow Liam had known.

5. The book Watership Down plays a pretty big role in this one...

Thank you clever tagline, for explaining why that is.

Okay, that's in from me. Thank you again for all of your FANTASTIC reading suggestions! I just started a Finnikin of the Rock and am loving it something fierce. What are you guys up to this weekend?