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Thursday, February 20, 2014

More on Nick's Book --- Altered 3


I’ve received a lot of questions about Altered 3, especially now that people have read Erased, so I thought I’d do another Altered 3 update post for those of you who might be new to the series (or the blog).

Altered and Erased were Anna’s books, and her story ended with Erased. But, while her story has an end, the Branch’s story doesn’t. The same could be said for the boys. There are still a lot of holes in the boys’ pasts. Who were they before the Branch? How did they come to work together? This was something I wanted to explore in Altered 3, and I really really wanted to explore it with Nick.

Altered 3 is Nick’s book, for sure, but it will be told in a dual POV. Half from Nick’s POV, and half from a new girl character’s POV. If you read my old post about A3, then you might have heard me call her Callie, but once I started writing the book, I realized she wasn’t a Callie at all. So I changed her name! It’s now Elizabeth, and it fits so much better.

Nick has been having flashbacks about his life before and after joining the Branch, and there’s one girl he can’t get out of his head. He breaks from the group to do a bit more digging, and that’s when the action begins. Who is this girl? And is she connected to the Branch?

Altered 3 is very close to being finished (YAY!), so I can confidently say that it turned out to be a lot different than Altered and Erased. For one, it’s a dual POV, and one of those POVs is a genetically altered (male) badass. I’ve never really tackled writing a male POV (other than Trout in Bot Wars – but he’s a preteen, so it’s different!). Nick doesn’t see the world the same way Anna does. That was an adjustment, but a great writing experience. He’s also a lot angrier, a lot more broken, and a bit unpredictable. I loved writing him.

Elizabeth is also broken, for many reasons, and I certainly don’t want to give anything away. But, I can say, she’s a perfect match for Nick, in that they’re both confused about the past, present, and especially their future. They both have a lot of healing to do before either of them can let another person into their lives.

When I set out to write this book, and when I tried to picture who would make a great companion for Nick, I originally pictured a girl who was as equally badass as Nick, someone to whip him into shape, someone who wouldn’t take his crap. But then I realized, Nick would never let someone like that into his life. He would immediately go on the defensive. He grew up in a home where he was constantly pushed around, whipped into shape, and those kinds of strong personalities turn Nick off.

What someone like Nick needs is a person who is not afraid of a damaged past, who knows what pain is, and who would accept him, flaws and all.

I love writing characters who kickass, especially female characters that kickass! But strength can come in many forms, and I thought perhaps it was time to write a female character that, on the outside, is the opposite of kickass, but on the inside, is as strong as steel.

Altered 3 is a long ways away (eleven months!) but I can’t wait for people to read it. It IS different from Altered and Erased, but I think it’s a good different. And of course, there IS lots of ass kicking!

If you have any other questions about Altered 3, drop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Surprise --- An Excerpt from Altered 3

Happy Valentine's Day!

To celebrate the day of love (and hot guys), I thought I'd gift you all with something fun. I've been working away on Altered 3 these last few months, and it's getting closer and closer to the end! I'm so excited for you all to read this book, but unfortunately, it's still eleven months away. To hold you (and me) over, I'm posting a short excerpt from Altered 3, from Nick's perspective.

For those of you who don't know, Altered 3 is a companion novel to Altered and Erased, and it's told from the dual points of view of Nick and a new girl character --- a girl from Nick's past. When I first set out to write this book, I was terrified at the idea of writing from Nick's POV. How could I capture someone so brooding and dark and angry? I wasn't sure if I could pull it off, but I'm happy to say, writing Nick has been one of the best writing experiences yet.

So, without further preamble, let's get to the good stuff!

This is the opening of Altered 3 as it is now. I don't think the scene itself will change much at this point, but this is still in the middle of editing, so things could change on a sentence level.

I hope you all enjoy it!



*

ALTERED THREE
NICK'S POV



I never took to fighting like the others. I could do it well enough. Maybe I was even good at it. But I didn't like it. Or maybe it was that I liked it too much.
Sam only fought when it meant something. Like escaping. Surviving. Protecting. Cas treated fighting like a dance—he always wanted to show off the best moves. Mostly because he's a jackass.
When I fought, I had a hard time pulling back.
I slammed a shot of whiskey, the cheap shit, and felt the muscles in my stomach tense. Pull from the core, that's what Sam always said. Or maybe it was something he used to say, back before we lost our memories to the Branch—the shadowy organization that turned us into super soldiers, and then tried to kill us when we didn’t obey like dogs.
"Did you hear me?" the man next to me said.
"I did." I felt the gloom of the bar settle over me. There'd always been something about dark, smokey bars. Something familiar.
"Well, what do you have to say then?" the man said.
He was taller than me by a handful of inches. Bigger too. Fatter, though, which meant he was slower. Speed always wins over brawn, if you ask me.
I turned to the man, wavered to give him the idea I was drunk, which I wasn't. Or at least, not entirely. I peered at him from beneath heavy lids, and then looked over his shoulder at his girlfriend or sister or maybe it was his mom. "Your mom is pretty. I'm sorry I hit on her."
The woman frowned. The man scowled.
"That ain't what I'm talking about. My friend says he saw you steal my wallet back near the john. Did you?"
Yes. "No."
"Well he said you did."
If I were really trying, there wouldn't have been witnesses to the lift. So I guess I'd been sloppy on purpose.
Maybe I did like fighting after all.


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