|Commentary, Chapters 13-18|
|Friday, 21 September 2007|
And finally, I get to introduce Kevin. He’s one of my most important characters even though he doesn’t enjoy a full introduction until page 91 (although he’s already been mentioned, back at the beginning of Chapter 3). Kevin was probably the last major character I added to Dark Friday.
Book manuscripts go through various phases of “chapter ordering” in the editing process prior to publication — sometimes chapters get dropped, sometimes split up, other times combined. I was happy when this chapter landed at number 13. I think it offers a certain artistic integrity to Kevin’s introduction.
Story Behind the Name: Shade Carlson
I can tell this one, too, because I remember — though he’s a minor character with no actual scenes. Shade was the first name of a guy I took journalism class with, first semester of my freshman year of college in Nebraska. He always got all the plum sports assignments (football, etc.), whereas I got to cover cross country. (And not even semi-interesting cross country at that: I would have to write a story about how the cross country team finished last at their latest event.)
Regrettably, I couldn’t get Shade Carlson into a scene. At one point I had the idea for Kevin to actually call Carlson and interrupt some important press conference, but I abandoned it when I realized it made Kevin come off kinda mean-spirited. (I loathe that term. I can’t believe I just used it.)
The cornfield foreshadowing is based on something I saw in person just outside of Jasonville to the north. I’d packed my camera away, so this is my best attempt at recreating what it looked like. It was the thickest, billowiest, fog I’ve ever seen in my life. This atmospheric event isn’t meant to be some Children of the Corn moment or anything; just a weird, “coincidental” thing that happens to Kevin…in Chapter 13.
Some people have told me that I can write a kid with an attitude problem a little too well. What? Like that’s my fault?
Isn’t it weird how certain cops can have this condition at all hours of the day?
I have some in-laws in Chicago. Seemed like a good city to give a mention to. Four of them have the last name Barnes (hence a Dr. Barnes also shows up in this scene).
There actually isn’t a Jasonville High in Jasonville. The school there is called Shakamak Schools, and their nickname is not the Yellowjackets. The real school in Jasonville is also a combined junior high and senior high.
It’s just one of those things where I didn’t want to place this sort of scene at an actual school. (There are some minor geographical similarities.)
I wanted to keep this scene “outside.” In light of tragic real-life things that have happened inside various schools around the country, I intentionally wanted to keep some distance. I certainly didn’t want anything bad in my story to happen inside a school. We all have our boundaries, self-imposed as they may be.
I went to high school with a guy whose last name was Jergens who I did not care for. Apparently, he became more likable as he got older (or so I’m told). So my Agent Jergens character gets better later in my story, too.
Nothing but the best equipment for Kevin. He was, after all, famous at one time. His laptop is fancier than mine. I wrote most of Dark Friday on an Apple iBook G4 — easily the best computer/electronics item I’ve ever owned, and a great writing tool.
One of my favorite lines of internal monologue in the whole book. One hundred percent Rix…at his best.
This scene with Cameron and the chaplain was originally quite long. I decided to split it up with Rix’s post-meeting reaction. Hopefully it works. I think the flow is still pretty good.
This is a reference to a real program in Indiana that rewards inmates who volunteer for religious training.
Here we have a little bit of an anti-smoking message. The man of God who smokes briefly ponders his own mortality.
This scene was a late addition to the book. I couldn’t resist the idea that Chief Rix and Chaplain Ashton knew each other.
I’d like to propose a new “rule” for all mystery/suspense fiction: Anytime a scene ends with a flicked cigarette, you know something troublesome has just went down.
Hope has a staph infection, though Aunt Maria doesn’t specifically say it here. Same thing happened to my sister after she gave birth to my third nephew.
Sheila’s Steakhouse…I think I got “Sheila” from the late Croc Hunter, Steve Irwin. (It was a name he’d use to refer to female animals).
I also have a steakhouse scene in my first book. I like food. Restaurant food in particular. I could easily weigh 50-100 pounds more.
This scene with Cameron and the baby’s screams is one of the reasons I wrote this book. That might sound odd, but I could picture it early on and really wanted the scene to turn out right. I could “hear” this scene, and I thought it would be an appropriate way to show Cameron’s torment — at a time where the reader may or may not be sure of his guilt. It turned out pretty close to how I envisioned it, which always makes a writer happy. My “only regret” is that it didn’t end up closer to the conclusion of the book.
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