A guest post from Lynne Matson:
Author of Nil on Fire
Henry Holt, May 2016
We loved Charley and Skye from NIL and NIL unlocked, and Lynne kindly sat both of them down to share some words of wisdom for us!
(With bonus appearances from Thad and Rives!)
(Please note that this interview with Charley and Skye was conducted in the weeks before NIL ON FIRE. At the time this interview was taken, Skye hadn’t slept in days, and Rives was going out of his mind with worry).
Charley: “Hi everyone!” She waves and smiles.
From across the room, Thad winks at her. Charley shakes her head slightly but her smile widens.
Skye: “Hi!” She waves and resettles in her seat. Her smile is small, her face pale. The shadows under her eyes are dark half-moons.
Rives keeps his eyes on Skye. Despite his arm slung casually across the back of his chair, his expression is pensive.
Charley: “Okay, so today we’re going to tell y’all five tidbits that we wished we had known before landing on Nil. First, you’ve got to get confident in your own skin. You’re going to wake up naked as a jaybird, and it’s a bit of a shock. I’ve been there. But soon you realize it doesn’t matter. Being naked I mean, or more to the point, what you look like naked. The thing is, you’ll find clothes eventually, especially when you find the other kids on Nil, but seriously, the superficial stuff doesn’t matter. Try not to worry so much about what you look like, about what people will think. Because no one’s body is perfect, but it’s perfect for you. Okay? And—” Charley pauses, as if she’s trying to find the right words. “On Nil, there’s just more important things to worry about than being naked.”
Skye (nodding, her expression solemn): “It’s very true. You need to watch your back at all times on Nil. Always be aware of your surroundings. There’s all kind of creatures on Nil. And some have fangs and claws and definitely aren’t house pets.” She stiffens, then shakes her head as if to clear it.
Thad mutters something under his breath that sounds like “Nil pets.”
Rives raises his eyebrow at Thad, then looks back at Skye the instant she resumes talking.
Skye: “I’d also recommend being prepared for a heavy seafood diet, and to do a lot of running. Because even when you don’t think you’ll have to run for a gate, sometimes you do.”
Now Charley is nodding.
Charley: “Nothing on Nil ever seems to go as planned. And sometimes you need to run away from a gate, instead of to it.” She briefly catches Thad’s eye. He half-smiles, as if they’re sharing a memory. She continues without break. “The thing is, sometimes you don’t have time to run, either for a gate or away from it.” Charley shoots Thad a dark look. He laughs. She turns back at the interviewer and her voice softens. “On Nil, you don’t have as much time as you think. The days fly fast, sometimes faster than you’re ready for. So if there’s something you want to do, or say, do it. Say it. Don’t wait.”
Skye: “No regrets.” Skye’s words are a murmur. For a moment, her gaze is far off. She is still, so still, that Rives sits up.
Rives: “Skye?” Her name is loaded with worry. Questions hang mid-air, unsaid.
She blinks, her gaze settling on Rives. She hasn’t moved, but no longer seems frozen. She smiles at him, slowly, her eyes on his. Something passes between them and he relaxes.
Skye: “No regrets.” This time her voice is confident. Strong.
Skye turns to the interviewer. “I know we said five pieces of advice, so I’m going to circle back where we started. Charley’s right about clothes. About not worrying about them, and about finding them. If you head west, all the way to the coast, you’ll find a City. Nil City. And one of the huts will be stocked with supplies.” She falters, as if unsure. “At least it should be. But—” Skye bites the inside of her cheek. “I think you need to be prepared not to find anyone, at least not right away. When we left, there was only one person left on the island. Paulo. I don’t know if here’s still there, and—”She pauses. “I don’t know what the island is like now.”
Rives: “Or if it’s even there at all.” His voice is hard.
Skye: “It’s still there.” Skye’s voice is somehow both flat, and pained. “But I don’t know if it’s how we remember. When we left, the island was on fire.”
She’s already getting up, going to Rives, her skin ghostly pale. Rives wraps her in his arms. Thad and Charley talk in low tones as Charley looks at Skye. Charley’s worried expression mirrors Rives’ own. The four leave together without a backward glance.
Interviewer’s note: Clearly the interview was over. But before we started, Skye told me in confidence that she can’t stop thinking about Nil. That her time on the island haunts her, and she can’t figure out why. Charley admitted that she still wonders why she left early—as if her own role on Nil wasn’t finished. But Rives was adamant that Nil is history, at least for them. Thad wouldn’t even talk about it.
My take? I think the story isn’t over—or at least the final chapter. I think the end of the story is just beginning. NIL ON FIRE, indeed.
Celeste, thank you so much for having me today! It was a blast to get to hang out with Charley, Skye, Rives, and Thad for a little bit longer.:) And thank you to all my readers for taking a chance on a crazy island, and for sticking with me to the end. This book is for you!:) To the #NILtribe! #NoRegrets #ToNow
Oh, Lynne! Thank you so much for taking the time to share Charley, Skye, Rives and Thad's thoughts today! I'm so proud to have loved this series from the beginning!
About the book:
Expected publication: May 31st 2016 by Henry Holt and Co.
Despite Rives and Skye's attempt to destroy Nil, the island remains. And back in this world, Nil won't let Skye go. Haunted by a darkness she can't ignore, Skye wrestles with Nil nightmares that worsen by the day and threaten to tear her apart. As Skye fights to keep her mind intact, she realizes that to finally break free of Nil, she must end Nil's vicious cycle once and for all--and she can't do it alone.
Who will return to Nil, and in the end, who will survive? In this thrilling final installment of the Nil series, the stakes have never been higher: everyone's fate hangs in the balance, including Nil's own--and Nil will fight to the death. When the full force of the island is unleashed, Skye faces an impossible choice, a cruel one she'd never imagined she'd have to make. Soon one Nil truth becomes painfully clear: only one side can win.
Losing isn't an option, but winning will cost Skye everything.
Perfect for fans of Lost and survivalist stories, NIL ON FIRE is a stunning conclusion to the Nil trilogy that will leave readers breathless.
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