1. Which scenes were your favorites to write?
3. Did all of your favorite-to-write scenes make it into the final draft of the book?
Okay. A few of my favorite-to-write scenes:
China Lake: Evan Delaney discovers a garbage can on fire in her brother’s back yard. When she sees what’s in flames… the plot turns. This scene had been in my head for more than a year. Finally writing it felt cathartic.
Mission Canyon: Evan suffers through a bridal-shower/cheesy-lingerie party. I survived a horrific lingerie party myself. I wrote the scene to cleanse myself of the memory. And when the book was published, I presented my editor with a handmade version of the lingerie set she couldn’t believe I’d invented: the Jackie Kennedy.
Jericho Point: Evan discovers what P.J. Blackburn has been up to, and confronts him in the most embarrassing and public way possible. I admit that while writing this scene, I made myself laugh. Partly because Evan gets to use a cocktail called a Flaming Asshole.
The Memory Collector: Jo Beckett flees a marksman firing at her with a high-powered rifle. While she’s zip-tied to the steering wheel of an SUV. And the marksman doesn’t realize that his family is in the vehicle. The scene was an emotional and logistic juggling act, and it raised my own blood pressure.
The Liar’s Lullaby: Jo body-rappels down the side of a San Francisco skyscraper. While wearing a tight black suit. I loved putting my research on rappelling to work. And putting Jo through the wringer.
The Shadow Tracer: I’m torn on this one. I loved writing the chase scene through Roswell where Sarah Keller fights Fell Worthe in the cargo bed of a pickup truck. There’s a nun at the wheel, homicidal maniacs in pursuit, a van of UFO tourists in the way… and Sarah’s only available weapon is a baby doll. But even more, I loved writing the scene where five-year-old Zoe Keller stands up in the middle of a desert sheriff’s station, stares out the door into the endless night, and tells a spooked U.S. Marshal, “Something’s coming.” Because scaring readers: that’s fun.
Phantom Instinct: Detective Erika Sorenstam makes her stand. Because she’s a badass.
A scene I like that didn’t make the final cut: In an unpublished manuscript, I wrote about a sting operation. Two people carrying out the sting go the office of a software millionaire and convince him they’re federal agents. They bamboozle him, to the point that he goes purple with rage, and tears off his tie and shirt.
Someday, maybe, that scene will find a new home.
Thanks for letting me talk about these scenes. It reminds me how rewarding writing can be.