Trivia on chapters of Lemons loom like rain

Welcome to the trivia section for Lemons Loom Like Rain! Here, you will find production notes listed for each chapter of each of my books. If you'd like, you could read the trivia for a chapter right after you've read that chapter, without having finished the book. You wouldn't have to worry about spoilers for any of the chapters that follow. For example, if you've read chapter 1, you can read the trivia for that chapter and not have anything from chapter 2 or beyond spoiled for you. The trivia could be read along with the book in this way, and you'd be safe!

Select Chapters

Chapter 1: The Approaching Rain

  1. Writing the beginning of a story can be the most difficult part. This is why I write out of order, putting down the scenes I know first and then filling in the gaps. I knew the last action sequence of the novel for quite a while. And once I knew what the last words of the story were, I decided to begin the book with a bold choice. It might seem strange, but strange things can hook the reader. There is a reason that I chose to begin with “Rises him,” but I will not point out why until we get to the notes on the ending.
  2. For the “main main character,” I wanted a name that sounded like “modus operandi” but with the words reversed. I came up with Randy Moseley. I later changed the name to Morales, but I still liked the surname Moseley so much that I gave it to Mathias. I kind of like alliteration, in case you haven't noticed.
  3. Out of all the names that I came up with for this story, Mathis Dillard is either the earliest or second earliest to pop into my head. About May 2013, I had an idea for a crime novel called Preying Mantis, which would've involved an FBI manhunt for a serial killer who decapitates women as an act of revenge, inspired by the belief that all female praying mantises do the same to males after mating. I wanted the initials to be M.D. because the story would've also involved a medical doctor named Mathias Dillard. His first name would've only been written once to make readers think it's a typo, and then he would've been called Dr. Dillard from then on. The twist would've been that it's not him but rather his estranged twin brother Mathis committing murders. Over time, I grew bored with the idea of this type of story, but the names and the mantis motif stuck, though Mathis doesn't really have the same motive for committing murders. He simply enjoys them. His height had also been set in stone for a while. The outfit, however, came to mind in late 2018, after the first complete draft.
  4. For whatever reason, I wanted the university to have the acronym CPU. Like a machine, even though it was not literally a machine. I liked the word “copper,” and the image of a metal flower sounded weird enough. Maybe I was reminded of an art piece in the junkyard from The Iron Giant film.
  5. The use of the words “stand alone” was very intentional. The umbrella title Standalones and Stepping Stones can have multiple meanings. I like how it conveys that a story may be read on its own while also adding to this fictional universe I'm making. Over the years, the series title went through changes. At one point, it was going to be Speculators since people in general speculate about their own fates and that of the universe. I also considered Myth Arc, but that sounded too generic. I quite like how Standalones and Stepping Stones as an acronym is SASS. So perhaps we could call this the SASS Universe, or SASS-U?
  6. Naomi Clutcher's name was inspired by the word “nomenclature.” Given that she has a thing for making nicknames, it seems fitting. Her name was originally going to be MacKenzie, but I wanted to cut down on the “M” names. However, the name MacKenzie would return. Just not within the Nap Kin.

Chapter 2: Disorientation

  1. I held off on mentioning August in descriptions of the story because it would have ruined the joke at the end of the first chapter and the beginning of the second.
  2. Miunis Grund is another name that had been kicking in my head for a while. The idea is that there was once just one giant planet, but then certain events led to it breaking apart into multiple planets. While the specifics aren't really touched upon in this book, it's something that can be explored later on.
  3. I remember once seeing a picture of a red-tailed hawk's feathers and how it reminded me of a tiger. I really wanted to insert this line that mentions it, so I gave August a reason to think of it. With his interest in birds, I now had a reason that he and Cassie became online friends.
  4. I really love the words “beyond the blue division.” They've been kicking around in my head, but within the context of a different book. I'm sure some phrases may continue to pop up throughout the Standalones and Stepping Stones novels.
  5. I thought of calling the hotel Tree Culler Hotel after coming across the word “treacle.” It also doesn't sound far off from “tree killer,” which sounds somewhat sinister.
  6. Verner's slow walk toward the table with the soup actually happened to me when I was having lunch with friends at the Anteatery during junior year at UC Irvine. I didn't spill my soup onto the table, though. I kept the bowl pretty stable.
  7. Some readers may or may not have noticed that the fields of study aren't revealed for every student character. I just figured such info didn't feel so important. At least not for everyone. I had a hard time remembering all my friends' majors anyway.
  8. Jade Teal is two colors, obviously. And the surname is also a word for a freshwater duck.
  9. I use the word “lavatory” throughout the story because I didn't want to have to switch between words like “bathroom,” “restroom,” “washroom,” or “toilet.” Too many terms for one room!
  10. Cassie Julura is actually an anagram of Julius Caesar. Her room number is 315, like the Ides of March. 314 was my hotel room number when I studied abroad in Brighton.
  11. August's storyline and the supernatural stuff going on at the hotel came to me in September 2017, when I started staying at the Imperial Hotel in Brighton and imagined what a creepier hotel would be like.

Chapter 3: Come to Mansion It

  1. Coming up with punny titles for the chapters was more challenging than I expected. I wasn't able to come up with many of them until I was pretty much done with the final draft of the narrative. I really appreciate how shows like Frasier and iZombie begin acts with clever pun titles.
  2. At different stages, I went back and forth on whether or not Randy knew Frederick. The very early version of passages from October 2015 had a sort of “Proto-Frederick” as Randy's friend and in a couple of situations where Randy would end up replacing his role. Once I had no need for the character in those scenes, I discarded Proto-Frederick from the narrative. But this new version of Frederick was eventually incorporated into the story, as Randy's first roommate.
  3. It's no coincidence that a magnifying glass and ants are mentioned within the same page.
  4. The premise of Randy taking a loan from a guy he wanted to be killed by was the only storyline back when I started writing bits of this novel in October 2015. It was initially going to be a more grounded story, probably set outside of the fantastical shared universe I had in mind. It wasn't until August 2017 that I added more main characters and made the story more supernatural, which I think benefited the novel very well.
  5. In an early version of the story, Mathis actually did have a wealthy mother, as well as a beloved butler who was on his deathbed. Then again, this loaner character was also named Cres Moon at that stage. I changed his name to Mathis Dillard after writing the short story “Punch Buggy,” which turned into a later chapter.
  6. And here we have the title drop. Back in October 2015, the title was just Looms Like Rain, inspired by a typo sent by my friend Andy Mis in a group chat when he was on his way to LA on October 3. As the moon became a more prominent motif, I changed the title to Lunar Loaner Looms Like Rain. I liked the sing-songy quality of it, but it sounded a couple of syllables too long. On September 10, 2017, I made the silly Facebook post, “When life gives you lemons, squeeze them over your tacos.” Once I realized what I could do with this line, lemons became a recurring motif, and the title became Lemons Loom Like Rain.
  7. Vic's name was already set in stone, and then the other roommates were named Evan and Ted. Inspired by the word “evicted.”
  8. Yes, “Vic tore crumbs” is a Harry Potter reference.
  9. “Cafe lamp” and “facepalm” are anagrams of each other.

Chapter 4: Aboard the Grave Train

  1. Candid Du Clips was the last main character added to the story. Originally, she was just a side character hired to follow Randy around with a camera specifically to make him paranoid. But then she became more interesting as I imagined the type of character that would willingly and regretfully work for a villain. And how could I resist punny names evoking “candid duck lips,” “candy corn,” or “corn on a cob?”
  2. Something that I realized way later (before typing this, actually) is that the letters in CPU are in the name Candid Du Clips.

Chapter 5: Sitting Ducks

  1. Gertrude was originally named Madison. Again, I needed to cut down on the “M” names. The surname Yose came toward the very end, during editing. I knew I wanted a “Y” surname to justify Yo-Gert being Gertrude's nickname.
  2. R.L. Stine's Goosebumps books got me into chapter books in third grade. So I suppose it's fitting that geese would be in my first horror novel.
  3. I really wanted each side of Petal Lock Park to have trees that feel out of place, especially so close together. I've liked redwoods for a while, and after doing an image search of various trees, I chose silver birches as the other set. I also liked giving CPU a somewhat geographically ambiguous feel. It's somewhere on the west coast of the US, but I don't specify where exactly.
  4. You may have noticed the sentence “This one was not so fragile, so Peyton was could finally write her info.” The phrase “was could” in this universe refers to one being able to do something after the action has been delayed for so long. For example, one could say, “After putting off his essay, Bob was could finish it up.” And if hyphenated as “was-could,” it could be substituted for “has-been.” (And if you think this is me just trying to justify a typo, you're correct! If Rogue One and Solo can make a couple things from the original Star Wars make sense, then I can do this.)
  5. In August 2017, I was hit by the idea of supernatural ducks and geese, as well as the characters of Pamela Sheer, Peyton Sheer, Mantleope (then without a name), Stagmantel, and Unicoren. Bringing in this supernatural story thread gave this novel a place in the shared universe I had in mind. The novel probably would've been kinda boring if it was only Randy's story.
  6. I use the three asterisks to signal each shift in point of view. I think of this type of thing as a way to show that people, even when they are in close proximity, can feel stars apart. This ties in pretty well with the cosmic aspects that are alluded to throughout the story.
  7. In summer 2018, I was marathoning all of Cheers as I wrote much of this novel and figured out who the rest of the Nap Kin were. I started to view Lemons Loom Like Rain as the fourth season of a sitcom disrupted by horror. The history of Reginald and Naomi's relationship has somewhat of a sitcom feel to it, beginning with a “season” of will-they-won't they, followed by a season of them them being together, and then a season dealing with the aftermath of their breakup. I'd never write out these three seasons, though. I think it's fun enough to just imagine what everything was like based on hints here and there of how things played out.

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.

Chapter 12: Time Consuming

  1. I first wrote the opening scene of this chapter during a writing exercise at my first meeting with Sussex Short Fiction Society on September 27, 2017. It did not yet have context, so it was just Mortimer (before he got his full name and occupation), Harriet, and Cackle Bucket (who may have had a different name).
  2. I was very pleased to find out that the name Harriet meant “home ruler.” It tied into the idea of The Landlord thematically. Harriet's mention of the name Henriette implies that she may have a French background, hence the mention of the captives not having understood each other before.
  3. The mentions of oil, tin, and heart are allusions to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I also watched a video about how glass is made, which involves melting sand and putting it on a vat of tin. I was pleased with how this process fit well with the figurative language I wanted to use.
  4. The word “orifice” appears twice in this chapter, and it may be used again in the next novel as part of a new concept...
  5. Harriet Harvester's mention of “wannabe Moscato additions” implies that some who auditioned to be Mandy the Mantelope were eaten.
  6. The pig motif has probably stuck with me thanks to Invader Zim, Saw, and Batman stories that have featured Professor Pyg.
  7. The portion of the chapter concerning Vic was originally a short story I wrote for Writing 31 – Beginning Fiction. I turned it in on October 7, 2015, under the title “Whets and Flashes.” (Yes, I know. That title sucks.) It was one of the scenes I considered including as an interlude in the novel having no bearing on the main plot. I ended up providing context, connecting Vic to Randy, and the members of Feathers to Mathias.
  8. Lexa's name was already in the earlier version “Whets and Flashes.” In late November 2017, after a discussion about memorable sing-songy names in a module I was taking called The Art of Short Fiction, I came up with ideas for the types of names I wanted the werewolves to have. Tomb Scone was originally named Gravy Scone. But when Grady needed Gravy Stew as a nickname, I changed it.
  9. As I've said time and time again, I got tired of “What's your major?” being the most asked question at certain college events.
  10. Dinner scenes can make for eerie sequences in horror, as shown in such works as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and the Hannibal TV show. Even Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me had an eerie scene at a table “above” a convenience store. (The scene is much better in The Missing Pieces.)
  11. The pun “more ales” is pretty much the main reason I switched Randy's surname from Moseley to Morales.
  12. I considered incorporating a supernatural reason for Randy's friends forgetting his birthday. I think I ultimately decided it'd work better if they just simply forgot and August, being forgetful due to his situation, had not been able to remind the other friends. In real life, people do not always check birthdays on social media.
  13. Sometime after writing the first complete draft, I realized that I needed more of Randy and Naomi. There needed to be a bit of a reminder that they had art together, and I wanted to show more of how Randy reacts to what Naomi's experienced. This flashback also provided a chance to show more of Randy and August being good friends.

Chapter 13: Midterms and Conditions

  1. I actually have gotten just yogurt toppings in a cup at Yogurtland before. The employee there did not say anything about it.
  2. In case you haven't guessed by now, yes, Peyton is meant to sound like “pay ton.”
  3. In case you missed it, Mitch says “piss Myers,” which sounds like “pismires.” This ties into the motif regarding ants.
  4. My aunt had these little piñatas hanging on the wall of her workplace. They seemed pretty random. I thought it'd be funny for someone to fill these and hand them out on Halloween. The pig motif appears again. It's green, like the piggy bank my maternal grandma gave me.
  5. Far along into the writing process, I realized that I had not given Mathias a chance to just be a vampire. Mathis had all his killing spree moments, but Mathias needed vampire killings. So I added his scene here, as well as a later one. Of course, Mathias, like vampires of other stories, has to be invited in order to enter the house.
  6. The concept of people being trapped in the basement of the school library was the basis of a potential interlude titled “Basement Study.” Essentially, it would've been written in the style of a school newspaper article, with quotes from students saying that other students were trapped down there. With the other potential interludes contextualized within the narrative, this one was scrapped. But I was still intrigued by the idea of people living in the basement of the library.
  7. The concept of Plo-Tunium Holes has been in my head for years. They act as a metaphor for plot-holes. I was also able to use them to explain why the werewolves' fur was blue.

Chapter 14: What The Fudge?

  1. The mention of Brother Bear was a matter of doing some math in regards to Peyton's age. I think it ended up being an appropriate choice, seeing as how it deals with siblings.
  2. The words “lemony Snickers” are a little shout-out to Lemony Snicket.
  3. The Kin Conflicts is that mysterious series of background events that leaves people wondering what it is for a while until it's explained a bit more later. In that regard, it's like the Clone Wars in Star Wars, the Earth-Minbari War in Babylon 5, and the Time War in Doctor Who. The Kin Conflicts may be explained a bit more in later stories...

Chapter 15: Punch Buggy

  1. “Punch Buggy” was a short story I wrote for a writing workshop class called Writing 91 – Intermediate Fiction. I printed it out on March 2, 2016. Like “Whets and Flashes,” this was also considered as a possible interlude that would've had no bearing on the plot. Tucker's first name was originally Austin, but I changed it so that it wouldn't look too much like August. And I needed a placeholder for the name of the man he meets at Spike's Punch. So I just pulled Mathis Dillard out of my sleeve. In Preying Mantis, which I'd envisioned as an FBI manhunt novel, he was gonna have a fixation on Volkswagen Beetles. So pairing him with this guy from the DMV seemed like a natural fit. When I realized that both Mathis Dillard and Cres Moon of the early Lemons Loom Like Rain passages had the same height, it just seemed natural to combine the two characters. Of course, that meant changing his backstory. The bit with August witnessing Tucker's death in the mirror came later.
  2. Even though Tucker is mean, I wanted to show that he's still human. Coming up with The Goonies was another matter of using math to figure out what movies would've come out while Tucker was a kid.

Chapter 16: Cause for Alarm

  1. I knew I wanted a slacklining character in the story, but I needed a name for him. I wanted him to feel relatively unimportant so that his interactions would feel like filler, and then show that he does have a bearing on the story after all. Thus, Frederick Filler came about, but Randy's meeting with him in the park was his first time meeting him. After revisions, I realized it'd be more interesting having him as Randy's first roommate with whom he lost touch.
  2. Deep Diving Orchestra is based off of a suggestion from my friend Cu Fleshman. She said that it might be fun to mention classes at CPU that are really weird.
  3. The bit about the numbers representing the chronological order of Pulp Fiction came from a discussion in an Immersion Journalism workshop during winter quarter 2018. For the longest time, I wasn't sure who would say it in the story and why they would say it. Eventually, I came up with Candid's roommates and their wacky scheme.

Chapter 17: Food Forethought

  1. When I was in Hove, students at our hotel did organize a Thanksgiving dinner. And, like Jade, I brought fried chicken (from KFC). Luckily, stuff seemed to stop going missing from the kitchen a good while before Thanksgiving, though that's not the case for the students at Tree Culler Hotel.
  2. The cantaloupe is meant to bring the words “can't elope” to mind.
  3. Visually, watching the memory through the pearls would be like watching a room through a wall with many holes in it.
  4. For a while, Stagmantel and Unicoren do not speak in contractions, but now they do at this point. This is meant to show how they are changing. Contractions kind of symbolize impatience in their case. For a while, they are indifferent about living in the park. But now that they see that they may finally be able to leave, they are a bit impatient and eager to leave.

Chapter 18: Booking Up

  1. Randy's relationship with Pamela is very unique compared to his relationships with other friends. He feels that he can be himself and somewhat open, though he does still keep stuff to himself. It's very telling that part of him wants her to fight Mathis alongside him, but of course he also cares enough to not want to endanger her.
  2. Randy gets tired of the full moon being overused in movies. But when he sees it in real life, knowing that it's a monthly occurrence, it feels more special to him. More natural, not forced or artificial.
  3. Just as “studying” can mean something else, so too does “spend the night at the library.”
  4. Pamela doesn't know the subject of her class, and neither do I. Again, I figured that it wasn't super important for the readers to know the details of the classes the characters took.
  5. In the first complete draft, Stitch Tyke didn't have this backstory as an aspiring mascot. When I later wondered to myself what would've happened to those who auditioned to be Mandy and didn't pass, I figured they'd either get eaten or captured.
  6. Justin Essen seems heartless. Like a tin man. Yep. Just tin (Sn on the periodic table). I came up with the name in late March 2018 while visiting my dad in Globe, Arizona. I went back and forth in my head on whether I wanted this professor to be Justin Essen or Justine Essen. My dad and my stepmom brought me to an open house event, and when they introduced me to a new person, that person misheard my name as Justin. This helped me make up my mind.
  7. Just noticed this sentence: “But it was still visible voice and demeanor.” That could kind of work as a stylistic choice with a couple of words missing, right?
  8. “Pretend with a Friend” was inspired by my experiences doing improv scenes with people in workshops at school.
  9. I did consider writing out Peyton discussing Pamela with her friends at Pitchers & Forks. But I wasn't sure what to write without it feeling repetitive. I got around this by writing from Randy's perspective and showing a bit more about him. It can get pretty loud at pubs anyway.

Chapter 19: The Gap Kin

  1. This scene at this unnamed school originally included Ella as August's classmate. The idea was for him to tell her what's been troubling him about the notebook, and it made sense that he would have new friends at this school. But with Ella feeling superfluous, I cut her out of this scene and just had August feeling paranoid by himself.
  2. The idea of losing my passport and not being able to return home was a fear I had while studying abroad.
  3. For a little while, I went back and forth on what August's parents would be like. He seems like the type of guy who'd come from a nice family. Then again, he could've also been a nice guy with angry parents. I guess I found a middle ground that worked.
  4. A draining cell phone battery is another very real fear.

Chapter 20: Candy and Randy

  1. “Randy was briefly blinded by the booze” has nice alliteration.
  2. Candid saying “Maybe little” instead of “Maybe a little” could kind of fit in with the strange way she speaks.
  3. Candid says “accomplish” instead of “accomplice,” but it's not a typo.

Chapter 21: The Safe and Sounds

  1. I wrote this scene with Mathis killing four armed people in a carport before realizing that I could make them Candid's roommates. Things find a way of working out.
  2. I've never been to the White Cliffs of Dover. But I have seen the somewhat similar Seven Sisters in Sussex.

Chapter 22: Filler

  1. This chapter is meant to feel like filler on purpose. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris does this awesome thing where a couple of chapters are spent telling the life story of the antagonist of that novel. I decided to try doing the same thing with someone who seemed like he'd have no bearing on the plot. But he ended up being a bit more essential to the plot than I had planned. I just thought it'd be funny to tell his life story for a nice little chunk of the book, starting with his birth and his parents' reaction.
  2. Back when Naomi was MacKenzie in an early version of the story, she was Proto-Frederick's love interest. So this kinda comes full circle, bringing back that name and giving her the surname Mallard. And, of course, a mallard is a type of duck.
  3. “I'd Feel the Void” is something I wrote during junior year of college, when I imagined what it would be like for good friends to go far away to pursue their goals.
  4. Looks like there's a switch to present tense in the sentence fragment “As he continues listening to the tank's music.” Er, let's chalk that up to Frederick still thinking of the tank's music in the present every now and then. That works, right? Eh, whatever.
  5. Frederick recognizes Unicoren's footsteps and then she tells him he's on the verge. I came up with this while reading Virgil's The Aeneid in a classics class during winter quarter 2018. In The Aeneid, it's written that one can recognize the footsteps of a goddess. A bit of a deep cut, I'm sure.
  6. By the end of the chapter, it should be apparent that I have way too much fun with alliteration.

Chapter 23: The Numbers

  1. Coming up with punny chapter titles was difficult, and I think it shows here. I went with a really obscure reference to The Number 23, which I have actually never seen. I wonder if anyone would've noticed had I just skipped over 23 and labeled this as chapter 24.
  2. During finals week at the end of college, I thought I saw smoke coming out of my laptop. It may have been dust, but still. It really freaked me out. Naturally, it seemed like another thing to add to the pile of August's supernatural experiences.
  3. Alice Cooper actually has a song called “Caffeine.” I saw him perform it in Las Vegas in November 2013, and he had a giant mug with the song title written on it. It was so ridiculously large and hilarious.
  4. It was originally Ella talking to August in the school library. But after she seemed somewhat redundant, I inserted Jade into this scene instead. The reference to the line “It's a bit shit” still remains.
  5. The colors of the numbers are actually how I imagined them as a kid.

Chapter 24: Roommates Ruminate

  1. After receiving feedback from beta readers, I realized that I needed Chelsea and Shelley's knowledge of the tunnels to be mentioned earlier. This was a nice opportunity to see them interact with each other so that readers would get to know them better.
  2. In the first complete draft, I don't think I made it clear that it was actually Mathias texting with Vic's phone. The rhyming is meant to help, and later confirmation was added in the finished product.
  3. There is an extra “even” in the sentence “Randy was not even aware that Vic even had a girlfriend.” Let's chalk that up to how surprised Randy is. Or something.
  4. I wanted Vic's death to have an effect on the story. His absence did make Randy feel let down on his birthday, but it also opened the door for Pamela moving in and learning a bit more about Randy.
  5. As a Star Wars fan, I saw an opportunity to reference the reek from Attack of the Clones, which was the movie that got me more interested in Star Wars as a kid.
  6. And here we see a change in Stagmantel's behavior. He and Unicoren are remembering what it's like to feel more emotion.

Chapter 25: Beach Cleanup

  1. I used Corona Del Mar for inspiration. I'm sure the rocks over there are safer.
  2. It was a bit of a challenge describing how the mirror was looking from the point of view of where Mathis' reflection would have been in the water.
  3. Mathis just cutting off heads can get repetitive after a while, so this was a chance to show what more he could do.
  4. Here, I found another chance to reference the series title: “so she had to hop from stepping stone to stepping stone, which was a bit of a challenge.” And indeed, writing each novel is a bit of a challenge. Heh.
  5. It's kind of interesting to note that, despite the prior murders, this incident at the smelly bird turd rock is what really pushes Candid to turn against Mathis.

Chapter 26: Counting on Counseling

  1. Counseling really can be helpful for anyone with anxieties. I just felt it was important to have a scene like this to acknowledge that it can be useful. I'm not sure how well it's conveyed through August's visit, but it was an attempt.

Chapter 27: What's Bottled Up

  1. I thought about giving this supermarket a name, but I just got tired of coming up with a new name for everything. I could have given it the name of a real place, but in the end, it just didn't feel relevant.
  2. Reginald seemed too wholesome here. So I made him a bit more flawed in other places, just so he's not perfect.
  3. Kayleigh's name used to be spelled “Kaylee,” but I liked the new spelling better.
  4. The first time around, I didn't include the dinner scene with Randy's family. I think including it improved the story a bit. I needed to show more of what his family is like.

Chapter 28: Caught Candy

  1. I made sure to include a mention of someone else having taken a duck loan. It fills out the world of the school a bit more.
  2. Randy saying he doesn't see himself in ten years is a really important tidbit when it comes to his outlook at this point.
  3. This sentence sounds unusual, but I love how it sounds: “'I merely became, mirror cracking curse spread from flawless me.'” It makes a bit more sense later.
  4. For those who might think that Mathis is Mathias and therefore a vampire, the garlic ice cream getting on him can make one think that he enjoys the pain of the garlic.
  5. I considered having Mathis invite Mathias into his mansion for the first time ever. Candid would've been fooled into thinking she was attacking Mathis when it was actually Mathias. The vampire would've gotten injured and then shooed away by Mathis. As funny as it could've been, it just seemed like too much of an extra step. So I set the stairway steps on fire instead.

Chapter 29: Letting it Out

  1. Given that the moon has a presence at certain points of the story, “Moonlight Desires” seemed like a good choice of a song for Randy to sing.
  2. There's foreshadowing in Randy's mentions of shadows being unseen. And, of course, his question of whether Naomi saw him through a magnifying glass foreshadows the revelation of how he used his own magnifying glass on ants.
  3. I wrote this bit about Mitch before I settled on a last name for him. I had no surname for him, or even for Getrude, Chelsea, and Shelley, in the first complete draft. I also added this bit where he opens up so that he would feel more alive as a character. Someone else for readers to care about. Also, Shelley saying “Hey Mitch” is a subtle nod to Haymitch from The Hunger Games.
  4. During the Heimlich maneuver Chelsea tries on Mitch, it seems that I wrote “once he let go” instead of “once she let go.” I'm sure there's a way for this to make sense. Maybe a reference to Mitch letting go of the possibility of dying? Sure. Let's go with that.
  5. I decided to include a mention of Shelley's major as a pay-off for when Peyton asked about her major way back in chapter 6. Really shows how (somewhat) close the characters have become.
  6. The lack of a full stop after “but some still linger” represents how Reginald's romantic feelings for Naomi have not stopped fully. I have just decided this. But anyway, this was a moment where I felt I needed to show that Reginald is a bit more flawed than he may have seemed prior. Before adding this scene, he felt too perfect to me. Writing this scene was a really good exercise that helped me understand him and Naomi a bit better. And the end result has an effect on Randy.
  7. The first weekend that I was in Brighton, I went to a pub with a basement that was lit red. I think the imagery I used was also inspired by the bloody light bulbs in the Evil Dead movies.
  8. I considered including a school dance where students would witness Stagmantel and Unicoren dancing with each other. I had experience going to Yule Ball each year that I attended UC Irvine, but it felt like a lot of work coming up with a theme and who would dance with whom, and what effect that would have on the story. Ultimately, it felt like there were already so many events in the school year, so I decided to just have Stagmantel and Unicoren share their intimate moment away from human eyes. I think its placement contrasts with Randy's lonely state pretty well, and I used the ring motif to tie things together.
  9. Back when Naomi was MacKenzie, it was Proto-Frederick asking her out, and he was successful. The two of them ended up watching The Silence of the Lambs together and kissed for real. Chronology is the reason I decided to make it not real, as well as get rid of Proto-Frederick altogether. The story takes place September 2014 to September 2015, and having the 25th anniversary of The Silence of the Lambs film, as well as The Walking Dead season premiere on Valentine's Day, would only make sense in 2016. And I really wanted to have the September 2015 blood moon at the end of the book. I briefly considered having Proto-Frederick's story take place in the next school year, having the narrative move back and forth in time. But it just seemed so complicated and unnecessary. Once elements of Proto-Frederick were given to Randy, it made sense for the scene in the mini-theater to be a fantasy of the future when Randy feels rejected. The mention of the camera felt more relevant now that it was repurposed as a little reminder of Candid. For a moment, it seems that Randy is okay with the possibility of Candid being gone, especially with the inclusion of “Nobody to capture this seemingly perfect, candid moment.”
  10. I realized that Mathis would be the type of guy to ham it up and make his own song, “Shits and Giggles.” This is in the tradition of movies that have upbeat songs during disturbing situations, such as the “Goodbye Horses” scene in The Silence of the Lambs and the “Stuck in the Middle with You” scene in Reservoir Dogs. Hearing “Snake Charmer” in the Hannibal season 3 soundtrack, which feels very different from the score tracks, was also an influence.
  11. When it says that Jade is microwaving chips, she's microwaving what Americans would call “fries.” But I can't help being amused by the idea of someone microwaving what Americans think of as “chips.” Maybe that'll be in a later story.
  12. The use of “chicken needles” as in insult is an idea that stemmed from Marty McFly's response to Douglas Needles calling him chicken in Back to the Future Part II.
  13. It's strange to visualize the image of Mathis' arms looking bigger than the rest of him in the mirror because of the piece of glass that has fallen.
  14. I suppose that Candid's escape is like that “Final Girl” archetype found in slasher films. Sometimes the slasher is not killed for good, and there are sequels. I don't particularly like when certain sequels begin by killing off the person who escaped at the end of the previous film.

Chapter 30: Wishing Weld

  1. Here we have “blinded by the blues,” another nice bit of alliteration.
  2. I wasn't quite sure whether a circular saw could cut through a welding mask, but it didn't matter because this is Randy's fantasy.
  3. Notice how Candid is speaking more normally. One of the advantages of a fantasy.
  4. The end of the fantasy is inspired by the Grand Theft Auto games.
  5. And here we see more of what the geese can do. I also made sure to include the word “goosebumps.” It just needed to be somewhere since R.L. Stine's Goosebumps books were what got me into reading chapter books.
  6. Seeing as how Gertrude is disorganized with her backpack, it's not hard to imagine that she would've done goofed when adding friends to the group chat. I wanted to make sure that there was no cliquiness going on to the extent that Randy imagined.

Chapter 31: Crazy Bus

  1. By this point, I'd provided enough backstories for various characters. So I decided to cut off the narration before more could be said about Wayne Watkins. His backstory wouldn't be interesting anyway. We do, however, get some backstory for Mathias in this chapter.
  2. Here, Mathias has been gift-wrapped a bus to make up for his lack of “vampire time” in this story so far.
  3. Yawning can help one cry at-will, but here Mathias is unable to use even that to help him.

Chapter 32: A Bridge Version

  1. The reason that Part Three: The Swim is so short is that I thought it would be funny to have one of the parts be pretty short even though books make such a big deal about there being different parts. The chapter title “A Bridge Version” fits well with the idea.
  2. By this point, Tate and his girlfriend Georgia are back together. I thought it would be funny having things resolved beyond the pages. As you can see, much of my reasoning for some of my writing decisions is simply, “I thought it would be funny.”
  3. Some of the dream that August recounts is a dream I actually had. The stuff with the cat is where it deviates.
  4. Yes, this receptionist was named Tommy solely for the sake of having someone call him “Lobby Tommy.” Again, I thought it would be funny.
  5. Honeycombs are what linked the comments about combing hair and losing one's beehive. Here, beehive is another word for “mind.” The term “hive mind” probably helped me come up with this.
  6. Verner says, “'There's no good in putting a lot of anger in cider.'” I'm pretty certain that this was inspired by an episode of Cheers where someone said “anger inside her.” I cannot remember the episode or situation at the moment, but knowing the show, my guess is that it had something to do with Carla Tortelli. Watching all of Cheers during summer 2018 really influenced my writing in subtle ways.
  7. I debated whether or not it would be too coincidental for Candid to be in London and bump into August. Ultimately, I decided it was worth it for the suspense of this interaction on the bridge.
  8. The pun “Sea how it feels!” is very subtle. I wonder how many people will catch it the first time.
  9. This intervention being for Anton instead of August? Again, I thought it would be funny. Come to think of it, this chapter actually does a fine job fleshing out Anton a bit more with so little. And hearing about this stuff happening beyond the pages fills out the world.

Chapter 33: Guaranteed to Know Pissed

  1. In 2015, there was a Friday the 13th in February and another in March. I realized after hearing the comment of a beta reader that I needed to make it clearer that this was a different date and that the story was not jumping back in time.
  2. I imagine Tomb Scone's blood splattering in an over-the-top manner similar to how The Evil Dead and Hatchet films have done it.
  3. I'm really proud that I found a way to make “rotisserie chicken” an insult. I just love coming up with new expressions in my fiction.
  4. I later realized that I needed to go back and make a mention or two of Tim earlier in the book so that it wouldn't feel like he wasn't created out of thin air. His fate becomes the catalyst for the new form of isolation that Randy feels in this chapter, and it changes how Gertrude perceives him, thus altering the dynamic of the Nap Kin.
  5. Randy thinking, “Did I do that?” is a reference to Family Matters, which is referenced again in the next chapter.
  6. I'm probably patting myself on the back too much by this point, but I just love that I made the beef talk work. Especially with the punny sentence, “Could a Nap Kin really get rid of a taco stain?”

Chapter 34: Family Tatters

  1. Yep. The chapter title is a reference to Family Matters, and Officer Johnson asking for Reginald is a shout-out to Reginald VelJohnson, who played a police officer on that show. I even had him say the words “family matters.”
  2. I suppose that throughout this book, there might be an impression that the elementals intend to do something to Pamela in order to regain their child. It's good to have readers guess that, but the fact is that they were never going to harm her. At least, that was not the original plan, before things got out of control.
  3. Now Frederick Filler does not feel like such a filler character. For a long time, I knew I wanted a slackliner character to jump-start all this. He's definitely a pivotal part of the plot.
  4. The imbalance that corrupts Stagmantel and Unicoren may have been partially inspired by Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal and Ridley Scott's Legend.
  5. Some people who read this book might not notice the differences in spelling of Mathis and Mathias' given names. Perhaps they might notice and think I'm an amateur making typos. That would make the flashback to Mathis' creation a surprise. And even for those who know that Mathis and Mathias are two different people, the flashback would still be somewhat surprising. This also goes back to my original idea for an FBI manhunt thriller novel, in which Mathis Dillard would have been a misogynist serial killer acting like a praying mantis and beheading women who drove Volkswagen Beetles. There would have been a Dr. Mathias Dillard, whose first name would have been mentioned once before simply being referred to as Dr. Dillard until a reveal of the two characters being twins. Here, it's more like a father-son relationship, but the son rejects the father.
  6. I knew I needed to give Mitch a surname. “The late Mitch” just doesn't have enough impact. So the surname Bunkle was one of the last things added.

Chapter 35: Library Charred

  1. Shed Cheese picking his ear with his back paw and then licking his toes was inspired by my chihuahua Olias, who has done the same. His mention of a wizard eating wax is a reference to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
  2. Doggerel Grill's comment regarding Rudolph and Christmas is one of the earliest things I wrote back in 2015, but in a different context. As I've said before, I considered having interludes that would have been unrelated to the main story. One of these interludes would have involved a man wearing antlers with which to kill people. At the end of the story, there would have been a student house party where the surprise would have been that one of the students found antlers to wear. And then the killer would have broken into the house, tried to kill her, and then gotten killed by the antlers. Then the student would have said the Rudolph comment to the others in the house deliriously, as they faced another threat.
  3. There's a bit of a Bride of Chucky vibe in the mayhem uniting Stagmantel and Unicoren.
  4. “The ancient evil” is actually a little reference to what was rumored to be the title for Star Wars: Episode VII.
  5. With the flashback to young Grady encountering the dog inserted into a later draft, this whole sequence where he's running from the werewolves and doesn't have August to help him has more meaning to it.

Chapter 36: Flying Pan

  1. In naming this chapter, I was thinking of the phrase “out of the frying pan into the fire,” which I associate heavily with a chapter of The Hobbit. Pretty fitting given all the fire that was in the previous chapter. I suppose that in this case it we'd be going from fire to pans.
  2. There are lots of other students at Tree Culler Hotel, but I needed to write them out so that the threat would be more dangerous. Plus, it would be too many characters to keep track of. Saturday plans seemed like a good excuse for most students to be out.
  3. I know it might seem out of character for these students to turn on someone like August so quickly, but it was just too funny not to include.
  4. I also thought it'd be funny to allude to what I think of as “offscreen episodes.” Just hearing about all these way that August helped people that readers were unaware of up until now. It's kind of the reverse of a scene from the Spongebob Squarepants episode “Band Geeks.”
  5. I ended up making “'Talk about a Toy Story situation'” a running gag, in the vein of gags I've seen on Archer and Arrested Development. In fact, I like to imagine Ron Howard narrating during the description of everyone laughing for a really long time. It might bring that “speech” scene from the latter to mind.
  6. The line “'To the tablecloths!'” is such a great line for concluding the chapter. It probably counts as an example of that Mundane Made Awesome trope. I was probably reminded of a lines regarding the library in Avatar: The Last Airbender and Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide.

Chapter 37: Double the Math

  1. This is an example of Mathias being out in daylight, just like Dracula in the Bram Stoker novel.
  2. For some reason, Darby Morineau intrigues me as a character. I might be interested in revisiting her in a later story.
  3. Remember the name Ibby Daga. There may be a bit more of him in a novel I'm working on. There are some seeds planted, and I'm a bit surprised that certain readers haven't picked up on them.

Chapter 38: Friending the Night

  1. It was really important for Jade to see August this vulnerable. It allows her to open up later.

Chapter 39: Stitches Be Rippin'

  1. Originally, Mathias was supposed to kill Stitch Tyke right after the death of Tim Yose. And Stitch Tyke's remains, not just his arm, would've been in the luggage case. I later decided that I needed a scene of Pamela struggling as Mandy killed someone, and it made sense to turn Stitch Tyke into one of the students who'd auditioned to be the school mascot. Since he's full of envy, the fight feels personal to him. And with the stuff going on with his arm, I added the earlier ironic line where he claims that he would've nailed the auditions with one arm tied behind his back.
  2. The arm-ripping sequence was inspired by a similar scene from the video game The Wolf Among Us, though this time it's not a wolf doing the ripping.

Chapter 40: OccuPied

  1. I chose Donnie as the given name when I walked past a toy of Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles once. Originally, this story about Donnie Teal was just going to be a random thing to add to the strangeness of this world. But I kept asking myself what happened to him. Well, you may find out in the next novel.
  2. August says, “The internet is a bit in this room.” I probably meant to write “a bit shit,” but he could also be too scared to say the whole sentence.
  3. I remember hearing about studies pertaining to people forgetting why they enter rooms once they go through doorways. I came up with the idea for a sequence like this and how the characters find a way around it, but it was within the context of a pirate story in a fantasy world. Maybe that will still happen when I eventually get to that story.

Chapter 41: Disaster Risks

  1. With the additional mention in chapter 24 of Chelsea and Shelley knowing about the tunnels, it does not seem to come out of nowhere anymore.

Chapter 42: The Answer

  1. The chapter title is a reference to the meaning of life being 42 in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  2. At the hotel, it is March 15, the Ides of March. Room 315 also doubles as a reference to a hotel room number in Twin Peaks.
  3. The ceiling with the protruding planks and the rings around the bulb are based on a room in an old building at an open house event I went to in Globe, Arizona back in March 2018.

Chapter 43: Pack Attack

  1. “The Landlord” is a poem that I wrote back in October 2012 for a club called Chula Vista High School Dead Poets Society. I guess that makes this the earliest thing written for the story.
  2. Even though Gertrude is full of anger over what happened with her brother, it was important to me that she still be worried about the safety of her friends.
  3. Gertrude's messy backpack comes back into play! I absolutely hate when glitter gets stuck on me. So I once imagined a fantasy world where a storm consisted of glitter that burned through skin. I'm not sure yet if that could still be in a future novel, but I repurposed the idea here.
  4. “'Sand alligator lips left glitter'” is a way of saying that time is greater than stone. In elementary, I was taught to imagine that the greater-than symbol looked like an alligator. So if the mouth is facing the left, then the sand is greater than glitter.
  5. Shed Cheese's name came first, and his fate as a Swiss cheese-looking corpse came later.
  6. Keeping track of the werewolves and their fates was tricky. It took me back to late 2013 when I did research on the Skeksis for The Dark Crystal Author Quest. This was a contest where the Jim Henson Company was looking for an author to write the now concluded four-novel series building toward The Gelfling Gathering. My submission was 10,000 words of what I imagined would be the first few chapters of what I titled Revelation of the Dark Crystal. Though I was not chosen, this was great experience.
  7. I thought it'd be funny to subvert the age-old idea of fond memories making someone snap out of whatever influence they're under.
  8. Randy says, “'That should've been me.'” But is he saying he should've been Grady, killing a werewolf and dying a hero? Or Mortimer, who turned into a werewolf and got killed for being a monster? I like having readers see multiple sides of stuff like this.

Chapter 44: Sheer Sharing

  1. I realize that I did not quite make it explicit here, but the monkey was sewn back together.
  2. Aster's past experiences talking through flowers are mentioned here. I do have more Aster-related details in mind, but for now, this brief allusion to Miunis Grund had to do.
  3. The readers already know the events that have happened up to this point, and they will learn the plan later in the moment. So it would have felt redundant explaining everything here. And it's actually funnier having these shorter sentences mentioning that things are being explained.

Chapter 45: Know Regrets

  1. The mention of both Frederick and Randy not receiving notifications is an indication that Randy has been removed from the group chat.

Chapter 46: Thesis Statement

  1. The bones are the remains of previous residents of room 315 who have gone through Cassie's situation.
  2. The word “orifice” was used a couple times in chapter 12. And the term “dark orifice” will be used again in the next novel. But I cannot reveal the context just yet...
  3. I later realized that with Mathias the father, Mathis the son, and Mathesis the ghost, I essentially had the opposite of the Holy Trinity in this book.
  4. Mathesis was not named in the draft that I sent to beta readers. I simply referred to him as “the ghost.” But then I thought of his final name, which sounded funny to me.

Chapter 47: Burning Bridges

  1. It's important to note that Pam asks “'Do you want to play with me?'” instead of “'Do you want to play with us?'” like she did originally. Aster certainly noticed...
  2. This passage in which Pam and Peyton reconcile is one that has brought me to tears upon multiple reads. Even though Randy is the “main main character,” I felt that Pam and Peyton's relationship was the heart of the story.
  3. There is a not-so-subtle Twin Peaks reference when Pamela has a vision of Randy's past.
  4. Stagmantel and Unicoren jumping off the bridge and then disappearing was partially inspired by an episode of Hannibal. For a while, I imagined a scene in which two characters jump off a bridge, and then the camera would pan over the edge to show cars passing by as if the bodies disappeared without explanation. It just seemed so funny to imagine for the end of a movie or something.

Chapter 48: Backup Pan

  1. The hot dog bit stemmed from an earlier idea I had to kill off Mathias Moseley simply by having him take a hot dog from one of the Nap Kin that turned out to have garlic. It sounded funny, but I went a different direction.

Chapter 49: A Bridge to Car

  1. During the revision stage, I realized that there was no moment where Randy realized that Vic had been killed. So I inserted it here.
  2. Fight scenes were hard to write. Part of it is figuring out what every character is doing at the moment. My beta readers told me that the fight scenes needed to be improved, and I think they got better.
  3. Shelley's ability to flip comes back into play here.
  4. There is no typo in Mathias' dying words, “'Vein Quish the vampire!'” I'm surprised that nobody has asked about this yet.

Chapter 50: Be Trayed

  1. I hope that I used enough of Anton beforehand for his death to feel like a huge loss here.

Chapter 51: Long Distance Bawl

  1. Despite what Pamela saw, I thought it would be authentic for her to not judge Randy in the present solely based on what he had done as a kid. The two had to become distant, but I wanted to let the readers know that she does not hate Randy. That just wouldn't feel like Pamela after all this.

Chapter 52: Mirror Mortal

  1. I thought the use of sentence fragments would look funny. They also convey just how paranoid Mathis has become.

Chapter 53: Taking the Shot

  1. Part Five is very much the denouement act of the story. I knew that there had to be breathing room between the climactic events in the previous act and what was to come in the final chapter.
  2. Much of this chapter was inspired by a trip that I took to Guanajuato with my older brother Alex (@alexshinderphotography on Instagram) in August 2018. My brother really took advantage of the photogenic aspects of the city, and I could imagine Candid doing the same.
  3. The phrase “dark orifices” pops up again when Candid looks at the mummies. Again, in my head, these words are a call forward to an idea I have for the future.
  4. The mantis goggles are a little bit of the original idea for Mathis creeping in. I remember I used to wear similar goggles with clear lenses as a kid.
  5. And now it is revealed that Candid cannot pronounce “s” sounds. If you go through all her dialogue in the book, she actively avoids having to use that sound in the real world. When it comes to something like Randy's horrific dinner table fantasy, she has no trouble.
  6. The chapter originally ended with a mention of how, a few years down the line, Candid would visit the Museo Casa Diego Rivera, where she would see Mauricio Avayú's painting Los Doce Tribus. When I saw it during my trip, the animal imagery felt like it could connect to aspects of this novel. But I ultimately cut out the mention of the painting because I did not think that my description could do it justice.

Chapter 54: Spring Cleaning

  1. I really had to think about what the aftermath would be like at CPU. And I wanted it to work well with how isolated I wanted Randy to feel. Sure, the school could have been shut down. But that conflicted with the direction I wanted to go.

Chapter 55: Reception

  1. I know the visions explanation is very convenient, but I just really wanted the families of those affected to believe what happened.
  2. I added the scene of August and Randy talking to each other after getting the feedback from beta readers. Again, I wanted to strengthen the connection between these two friends.
  3. By this point, people would be willing to believe anything after everything that has transpired in the story. So I thought it'd be funny to toy with the readers a bit by having this joke about Jade being a sentient stone. (She definitely is not one.)

Chapter 56: Car Parkage

  1. The name Preston Ward stemmed from “pressed onward,” and Benjamin Fitz is meant to sound like “benefits.”
  2. Mathis thinking “But why aren't I enjoying this?” may not be grammatically correct, but he's paranoid and mentally talking to himself in an intense moment.

Chapter 57: Ghost Host

  1. I'm surprised that nobody has asked about the vision of the green reptilian scales. That's another seed for a future story.
  2. Artie Crescent's name is partially derived from Cres Moon, the original name for the antagonist who became Mathis Dillard.

Chapter 58: The Last Lemonade Stand

  1. On September 27, 2015, I saw how the moon looked, and I really wanted to incorporate it in this book. It was one of the first things I put down, and the date became the destination.
  2. There is a Grand Theft Auto reference in here that I think I fairly obvious to anyone who has died in the game.
  3. Mathis makes a reference to the Nile turning to blood in the Book of Exodus.
  4. On August 10, 2014, I wrote the following Facebook post, which I found a place for in this chapter:

    “Those who are full of themselves make fools of themselves.”
  5. The reason for the sprinklers instead of actual rain? Again, I thought it'd be funny. And Mathis choking on sprinkler water is an absurd and unique death.
  6. Before I got feedback from the beta readers, the ending was more abrupt. Randy's paragraphs of reflection and the sentence “'I miss her'” were there, but he was lying on the grass and hearing the sirens of the ambulance. I later extended the chapter to make a proper ending. It felt right for August and Pamela talking to Randy in the last scene. Out of Randy's friends, they got the most focus. They are like a trinity, so to speak.
  7. The first sentence in the novel, “Rises him,” is actually an anagram of the last line, “'I miss her.'” Funny enough, the novel is bookended by opposite gender pronouns. And whom does Randy miss? Well, there are various possibilities... And I'd like to keep it that way. Heck, I'm not even sure who it is. For me, it's fun to leave it ambiguous and have people speculate.