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Monday, July 7, 2014

First Friday Five Favorite Things - Nil

by Lynne Matson

This past Friday, July 4, 2014, Marcy and I posted our answers to Lynne’s debut novel, NIL. We would like to congratulate Lynne on her debut novel and for providing us with her responses which will give you terrific insight into her intricate characters.

BIO: Lynne Matson grew up in Georgia in a house full of books and a backyard full of gnarly pines. Back then, Lynne would stay up late, reading Nancy Drew books under the covers (with a flashlight . . . a weak attempt at ninja stealth). Now she still stays up late reading books and writing them. When she doesn’t have a book in her hand, you’ll find her listening to music, messing around with paint, or hanging out with her husband and their four boys. Cookies are her kryptonite, especially Thin Mints.:)

Thank y’all so much for having me! I love the format of this interview, and the questions!

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth? 

I chose the following paragraph (okay, I cheated, because it’s actually a few paragraphs :D) from Charley’s point of view. Charley is the newcomer. She’s still putting the pieces of Nil together, and the following excerpt shows how she thinks: how she both sees the island and questions it at the same time . . . even as she struggles to figure the island out. The following excerpt also highlights the beauty and horror of Nil, a dual vibe running throughout the novel.

The sun sparkled, rising into a cloudless sky. The ocean lay ahead, stretching until it met the horizon, blue kissing blue. Close to shore, the waves broke and retreated. But for the first time since I’d set foot on Nil, the beach was full of people and activity. A firepit wafted lazy smoke into the air. Around the fire, kids laughed ad talked. Two shirtless boys were playing catch with a coconut, their shoulders and backs rippling under a sheen of sweat. The girl built like a Playboy bunny was sprinting down the beach beside a tall boy with dreadlocks, like an advertisement for island athletic wear. Other kids floated on surfboards past the whitewater. It looked like an island retreat, like the perfect Hawaiian vacation spot.

Something twanged, like when a violinist strikes a sour note.

“Natalie,” I said, turning, “where are the adults? The little kids?”

2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

Oh, great question! And tough. :D Probably the very last one, but since I don’t want to give away the ending, I’m going to pick one of my absolute favorites from early in the novel. From Charley’s point of view, and it’s the same one Marcy picked! Why? Because this chapter ending drives home how surprising Nil is at the most unexpected moments…and how frightening too.

I took another step and my toe hit something hard. My sandal caught and stuck. I looked down, and when I realized what I’d kicked, I screamed. 

It was a human skull.

3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Nil has a full cast of secondary characters, and this question is like asking me to pick among my children!  (I have 4 boys btw…so I know all about large casts of characters. :D)

Rives is one of my absolute favorites. He’s strong, a Leader-in-waiting, and he’s not only one of Thad’s Second, he’s Thad’s undisputed wingman, the one Thad trusts most. He’s close to Thad, and Charley, and he’s clearly the glue of the City in Thad’s wake. Through his relationship with Talla, the reader learns that Rives is more than he appears, that pain lurks beneath the easy-going exterior. Plus, he’s got the most international background of all the teens on Nil, giving Rives depth that Nil barely scratches the surface of.

Another favorite secondary character? Dex. I love Dex. How he arrives, and grows as a character. Dex provides much needed humor at just the right moments. Other faves? Ramia, because she’s creepy and mysterious. Jason, Li, Natalie….I’ll stop.:)

4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

I have so many! I love the one that y’all both picked, the one from Thad’s point of view.

Here’s another. From Thad’s point of view as well, but Charley is the speaker. It captures the tick tock of Nil, the sense that it’s temporary--that everyone arrives with a personal expiration date already stamped in invisible-yet-permanent ink. That even though it’s gorgeous, danger lies beneath Nil’s beauty:

She shook her head. “I’ve never seen such beauty. The black sand, the Crystal Cove. The Flower Field. Even the red lava field was beautiful in its own freaky way. But it’s not really real. Because in three hundred fifty-two days, it will all disappear, right?” Charley turned to me, and her golden eyes were haunted.

The façade was gone. For Charley, Nil’s mask had finally cracked, this time for good.

5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

Again, I have many.:) But I’ll pick one where Natalie, a veteran and former Leader, is talking to Charley in their hut one night. The dialogue comes in the contest of a conversation about Thad, but the implications are much broader.

Twisting her covers between her fingers, she spoke quietly. “I know this sounds old school, but don’t waste a minute. Not one. Time flies here, faster than you’re ready for. No regrets, okay?”

Time does fly fast on Nil, and the idea of “no regrets” plays a big role. Time flies fast everywhere, actually. :D #deepthoughtfortheday

Thank for having me! Welcome to the #NILtribe, Marcy and Dave!

To read more about Lynn Matson’s debut YA novel Nil, please go to:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LSMatson        
BookMark (signed copies):  Atlantic Beach, FL. (http://www.bookmarkbeach.com)



    Great interview, pal! So fun hearing your faves about this amazing book!

  2. I agree, Bethany. It's great to hear why she chose her answers, too.