Steven Shinder

Lemons Loom Like Rain Trivia

Chapters 6-11

Chapter 6: Over the Moon

  1. Chapter 3 trivia note 2 tells a bit about Proto-Frederick, and here's a bit more: Proto-Frederick used to be the one sitting in that auditorium watching The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in the earliest rendition of this scene back in October 2015. I eventually figured that if Randy and Proto-Frederick had similar tastes and desires, then it might as well just be one character.
  2. To me, it felt alien to know that a movie buff would be okay with his life ending even with knowledge of upcoming films in mind, whether it be something as mainstream as Star Wars or something more niche within the horror genre. Later in the book, it's clear that Randy is somewhat of a Star Wars fan. Lemons Loom Like Rain begins over a year before the release of The Force Awakens, and I didn't want to suggest that Randy was disenchanted with the franchise due to the Legends announcement pertaining to the Expanded Universe. I thought that would send out the wrong message. (I enjoy both Legends and canon when it comes to Star Wars.) So I gave him this sense of pessimism related to a general dislike of reboots, remakes, revivals, etc. in general. Randy is just tired of all the same stuff, even if they are reinvented a bit.
  3. The name Art Docent had been in my head since senior year of high school, when I became aware of that occupation through art class. Years later, feeling tired of monstrous depictions of clowns, I decided to go ahead and make Artie a clown with a talk show. I watched talk shows pretty often during high school. During college, I sometimes liked imagining campus life as a sitcom and what it'd be like to be interviewed on a talk show. As I've said before, I like to think of the school year in this book as the fourth season of a sitcom disrupted by horror.
  4. Artie is cut off before he can say a name. I cannot remember if I had ever intended it to be anyone in particular, but it works well as foreshadowing for of a much later part of the book.
  5. There is a lack of the asterisks within the shift of perspective from Candid to Randy. It seems that there was a space break break here and I had forgotten to include the asterisks. And then the space break was probably deleted when I sent the manuscript to get formatted. Let's just pretend that this signifies Candid and Randy sharing the view that they should not acknowledge each other. Or something.
  6. I like writing flashbacks in present tense to signify that the past is becoming present. And yes, I know how pretentious that sounds.
  7. As a kid, I used to have a gray rabbit stuffed animal. I named her after Bugs Bunny.

Chapter 7: Billiards and Dominoes

  1. When I studied abroad in England during autumn of my senior year at college, there were students at the hotel from more countries than just the US. This follows that model. And as was the case with the Nap Kin, I tried not to make too many characters here.
  2. The idea of the purple room and green room came from a couple places I passed by during a trip to Guanajuato with my brother in August 2018.
  3. I actually learned the term “melvin” from an episode of Cheers when I watched the entire show in summer 2018. Some of the sitcom sensibilities probably came from watching the show.
  4. The use of words like “carnival” and “special” here are my attempts at creating new lingo for this world. Not sure if they'll ever catch on in real life, but it'd be gratifying. The reaction to bad beer that's considered the special is actually inspired by a trip I took to a bar with other students who were studying abroad.
  5. I learned the word “sobriquet” while reading the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic comics by John Jackson Miller. Who says comic books can't expand one's vocabulary?
  6. I'll be dropping more tidbits about it Miunis Grund and the Kin Conflicts in future books. Mentioning a huge event from the past like this follows a tradition of other sci-fi and fantasy franchises. The Lord of the Rings had references to events of the First Age and the Second Age. The first Star Wars movie had The Clone Wars. Babylon 5 had the Earth-Minbari War. Doctor Who had The Last Great Time War. As more stories come out, there'd be more info that would allow people to piece the past together.
  7. Like August, I almost forgot that a Stonehenge trip was taking place sooner than expected. Somehow, I thought it'd be on a different Sunday, but I double-checked the date in time. My dad told me to listen to the energy, and I did so by holding the audio tour to my ear and then took a picture of that as a joke. Surprisingly, a bunch of students not from the US were unaware of the belief that Stonehenge might be somehow related to aliens. In fiction, there is sometimes a temptation to tie mysterious landmarks to stuff like aliens. I decided it'd be funnier if just nothing out of the ordinary happened there during this field trip.

Chapter 8: Show and Stagmantel

  1. Chelsea and Shelley's surnames were not added until the final revisions of the novel.
  2. Grady Stuart is meant to be a reference to Gary Stu characters. He's like one of those TV show characters who's obviously a replacement for a beloved character and needs to convince the audience that they should love him. Shortly after creating this character, I learned about the Cousin Oliver trope and that the actor who played that character was in a show I'd never seen called Grady. It seemed like a marvelous coincidence.
  3. I wanted antlers in the story very early on. Back in October 2015, when the story was more grounded, I tinkered with the idea of having interludes that took place in and around the school. Some would be supernatural and some would be more grounded but still pretty spooky. One of the ideas was this road that was believed to be haunted, where a serial killer who wore fake antlers would strike his victims with them. The idea was that the interludes would have no bearing on the main story and just be weird random things for the reader to see. But then the surprise would've come at the end, when one of the characters would've pulled out fake antlers she found and then been confronted by the killer looking for the antlers.
  4. Stagmantel is partially inspired by a belief among UC Irvine students that if one spots a guy called Swagman (who wears a red jersey and walks around campus from time to time), then they will get good luck on their exams. I decided to go bigger and weirder. His name, as well as Unicoren and Mandy the Mantleope, each contain words related to what's underground.
  5. I actually once had a dream about a butterfly made of dog ears. This seemed like a neat place to insert that.
  6. After the cover was designed in October 2018, I went ahead and inserted it as part of Peyton's dream. What I originally sent Obani Obodo (via Fiverr) was a pencil drawing containing all the creatures, the lemons, the blood rain, and the hills. There was no color, but I told him some colors to use. I thought of having Stagmantel, Unicoren, and Mandy be dark gray, but they looked better as black silhouettes blending into the hills. I didn't specify a color for the werewolf, so he ended up making it blue, and I liked it. He also added water to the background. Some might say that the cover is a mish-mash of starkly different styles, but I think that idea works for a book like this.
  7. When I started writing Mathias' dialogue, there were times when I had a tendency to make certain sentences rhyme. I ended up making this part of his character. At times, it was a challenge figuring out some of the rhymes. But it all worked out.
  8. When Stagmantel asks “How do you do it?” he's actually taunting Mathias for the fact that he cannot reproduce normally and has no family that desires him.

Chapter 9: Still Water, Still Matter

  1. Yes, Ella's name came out realizing that “salmon, Ella” would sound like “Salmonella.” Originally, she was going to be August's classmate at the school where he studies abroad. Some of Jade's later interactions with August were originally Ella's. But after I sent the first complete draft to beta readers, I got feedback saying that Ella felt like a set piece and that her role could've been fulfilled by Jade. So I rewrote the later scenes with Jade, but I kept Ella for the jokes of this particular scene and turned her into someone who works at Paul A. Table Cafe. The weird thing is that I feel a bit bad about dialing back this character's involvement in the story. But I've been thinking of finding a place for her elsewhere... Hey, maybe Ella Swear could be her full name!
  2. I interacted with people on my trip through Scotland, but I didn't want to go through the trouble of August doing the same since there are already so many characters in the story.
  3. August's musing about the Loch Ness monster is actually something I said when I visited Loch Ness in October 2017.
  4. The complete draft I sent to my beta readers included the mention of raw eggs and the coldness of Cassie's location. One of the readers, Karen Parker, wondered whether Cassie was in a fridge. I ended up including a mention of that. Weirdly enough, “fridging” is actually the name of a trope in fiction. It's something that's often encouraged to avoid, so keep that in mind when writing.
  5. The phrase “Cool veggies!” came to me on October 6, 2014 during a hang-out after a meeting with a Doctor Who club called Whovians at UCI. I wondered why people didn't say that phrase instead of “Cool beans,” and then a couple of attendees suggested “Cool carrots,” which I have since been trying to make a thing.
  6. Stuff actually did go missing from the kitchen at the hotel where I stayed. And the lift actually did stop for a little while when a few students (maybe one over capacity) were in it on the first day there. Tree Culler Hotel is not meant to be a one-to-one depiction of where I stayed, though. Some things are reinvented and exaggerated.
  7. The Ciders joke is actually a reference to Sliders.
  8. After getting feedback, I realized that there was not enough connecting August to his friend Randy and his cousin Grady. The mention of Randy's birthday was one of a few things I added to strengthen the former, and the flashback here strengthens the latter. I actually did end up getting separated and walking home by myself during first grade. It was just a couple blocks or so away, but I felt a bit proud of myself even though I did get in trouble. The route certainly was not as frightening as the one here.

Chapter 10: Open Up, Open Down

  1. I heard about isometric exercises back in 2013 thanks to 1992's The Last Arkham, the first arc of Batman: Shadow of the Bat. This arc introduces Mr. Zsasz, who is able to fight Batman thanks to isometric exercises he's done. After reading this, I looked up a video exemplifying such exercises.
  2. The purple monkey is inspired by one that I saw on August 30, 2017. I was on my way to Las Vegas when the bus had to make an emergency stop in Barstow. As I recall, the air conditioner had stopped working. As everyone waited for another bus to arrive, I noticed that one of the passengers had a purple monkey stuffed animal hanging out of her backpack.
  3. The flashback of the park and the train were inspired by a trip that I took with my friend Carmen Tse to and from Primrose Hill on September 30, 2017. We saw children playing in the park and on the train, and I started to realize how big of a role childhood could play in this story. At least a couple of the kids in the park were boys with unicorn onesies. The third kid was a girl who might have been wearing a different type of onesie. She had an accordian and was repeating, “Yoda Yoda, Yoda Yoda!” She also had a giant radish that looked like it was made of yarn. So she pulled it out and said, “Yoda Yoda, Yoda Yoda, with a big radish!” or something like that. And when the two boys joined her, she put on a Yoda mask. It was one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen in my life. I didn't recreate that whole thing for my book, but I wanted to depict a free-spirited feel. The two sisters playing with their dad on the train further reinforced this.
  4. Pamela's mother cursing at her leaves a huge impression. If you look at all of Pamela's dialogue throughout the novel, you may notice that she never curses at all. I knew other characters would have to curse, though, to make them feel authentic. That's college, for you.
  5. I tried to make Unicoren and Stagmantel the types of characters who, for a while, never asked questions. With Pamela in their life, though, things change. Here, Unicoren asks the question, “Am I forgiven?” It's a question that'll make sense later in the book.

Chapter 11: Off His Hours

  1. This is what I like to call “the sitcom chapter.” Professor Martin Mortimer is like that sitcom character that the others go to for advice every now and then. I wrote up the earliest version of this chapter on July 4, 2018, and I was amused by how easily Mortimer came to life. His name is a reference to both Back to the Future and Rick and Morty. His 47th birthday even falls on Back to the Future Day.
  2. The woman Mortimer went on a date with, whose name sounds like Dory, is actually Darby, whose remains Candid finds in the train.
  3. The phrase “Holy copter cheese!” came to me during a bonfire with English Majors Association at UCI on June 12, 2018, when a helicopter flew by to help a couple of boys who were stuck on a rock.
  4. The sentence from this novel I'm most proud of is “Fecal fecundity in a life so shitty.” So fun to say.

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