Behind the Book is an ongoing series wherein I tackle a new chapter of Croak each week and give you all of the secret, behind-the-scenes tidbits and trivia that went into writing it. For an archive of past chapters, click here. Enjoy!
Chapter 3: The Mortening
- Steve gets off the bus in Albany, which means he must have been forced to pass through the Albany Bus Terminal, which is one of my least favorite places on earth. Because Steve was no longer relevant to the plot of the book, I spared you the details of that awful, torturous hellscape. You’re welcome.
- Deleted scene alert: Originally, Lex got off the bus and chatted with a gross, coughing woman in a ticket office. It was dragging a bit so it got cut, but Hacking Lady was later resurrected and employed as the receptionist at the Happy Spruce Inn in Rogue. So dreams really do come true.
- I have talked about this elsewhere, but this chapter marks the first appearance of Uncle Mort, so I have to mention it again. Way back in the first draft of Croak, Uncle Mort was waaay different. He was older. He was more eccentric. And he drove a wacky, stupid car that looked like Ecto-1, had containers of uranium lying around, and may or may not have held a live chicken in its trunk. My indispensable agent Tina swooped down from manuscript heaven to point out that this version of Uncle Mort in no way fit into the world of this book, and she suggested changing him. I waffled a bit–because totally revising a main character would have been a lot of work and let’s face it, I’m lazy–but in the end realized that she was right, so I changed him up into the cheeky bastard that he is today. It was, bar none, the best possible decision I could have made. So any big Mort fans out there–you have Tina to thank for him.
- At this time I wrote this, I did not yet know how Uncle Mort got his scar. Oh, I knew it would be due to some secret badassery, but not the specifics that are later revealed in Rogue.
- I like to deliver this chapter at readings, because it’s got a good little taste of the characters and the plot without revealing any spoilers, but man, the hardest sentence in the WORLD to say without screwing it up is “The flamethrower shoots forward.”
- In seventh grade I learned the definition of the word “avuncular”–meaning “of or relating to an uncle”–and always remembered it because I didn’t think there would ever be an occasion in which I might use it. TAKE THAT, SEVENTH GRADE GINA.
Got any questions about Chapter 3? Post them below!