Sep 8, 2016

Giveaway + Interview: The Giant (Quarantine #4) by Lex Thomas

The Giant (Quarantine #4) by Lex Thomas
September 1, 2016 from Carolrhoda Lab™

In the violent early days of the quarantine, Gonzalo joins a gang of thieves who live in the ductwork of McKinley High School. There he falls in love with Sasha, but as he grows too big to fit, he is forced to leave without her. 

A year later, he scours the infected zone for her. No matter how many murderers, puncture wounds, or militia he has to survive, Gonzalo can't give up on Sasha. 

In the fourth installment of the Quarantine series, Lex Thomas delivers two intertwined stories about love and longing, which merge in a conclusion where the fate of the entire infected zone hangs in the balance. 

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As the series progressed, was it easier for you to collaboratively write? Was there a moment where you knew where the other was going to take a character or story since you've been writing together many years?

THOMAS: The process stayed pretty similar but I feel like we got more in sync across the books. In the first book, we misunderstood what the other was trying to do more often, and it required a lot more work to figure everything out and resolve it into a single draft. As we’ve gone along it’s taken less work to get on the same page, and writing The Giant went the smoothest of all four.

LEX: Yeah, I think it did get easier because of a couple things. One, we did get more accustomed to each other’s writing styles and habits. Even though we’d written together for a long time before we’d taken on the first Quarantine book, those were screenplay collaborations. Most of our work before had been done in the same room. Often, we were literally talking out the dialogue while one person transcribed it. When we threw ourselves into the process of writing a novel together for the first time, it was a rocky road. Our good outlining habits carried over and that helped, but when we had to step away and write separately, that’s where there was a learning curve. We went through such a trial by fire with the first and second book that by the third we were kind of a well-oiled machine. I think we anticipate each other’s thoughts and expectations now which helps have a more cohesive approach. We also adjusted our process along the way to check in at act breaks so that we can make sure the story is tracking the way we'd hoped it would. The second thing that helped make things easier is that after the second book, the universe, the tone, the characters, the rules, etc. were mostly set in stone, so we had less to figure out every step of the way. Choices that we’d made in the first two books locked us in for choices in the second two, which actually left us freer to enjoy the writing process a little more. 

THE GIANT follows Gonzalo, a supporting character in the previous three novels. How did you go about picking Gonzalo over any others?

LEX: It’s funny — after we wrote The Loners a lot of people close to us, people that maybe read early drafts, had basically said, “Gonzalo rules. You should find a way to get him in the books more.” And we totally agreed. He’s a badass, but we couldn’t justify bringing him in as much as we actually wanted to. To keep the pace that readers have come to expect (and that we want) from the first three Quarantine books, we really had to stay close to David, Will, and Lucy, and their antagonists. Eventually, we found a way to weave Gonzalo into the third book, The Burnouts. 

THOMAS: In the third book, we left it hanging whether Gonzalo’s quest to find his girlfriend Sasha in the infected zone ever ended, and a number of fans emailed us asking whether he ever finds her. To add to that we just loved him as this hulking kid with a fire ax character, the school monster who barely spoke, but who loved his girlfriend and had a strong moral compass. We loved him but he leaves the story 3/4 of the way through the first book. I always thought we could have done more with him, and gotten inside his head more, and this story gave us that chance. 

LEX: Yeah, those fans who emailed us wanted answers!!! Bit by bit we figured out more and more of what might happen to him, and we started to get excited about the possibilities. Things took off from there, but when we dedicated The Giant to all the Quarantine fans out there, we meant it. This book wouldn’t have happened without them being so enthusiastic about Gonzalo.

Who, or what, would you scour the infected zone for if it was lost?

LEX: That’s easy. I have a wife and two daughters. If we somehow were separated and they were somewhere in an apocalyptic wasteland, populated with infected teens and roving hunters, I’d make a souped-up van like Gonzalo has and hit the road in search of them. It was never hard for me to imagine Gonzalo throwing himself deeper and deeper into danger to find Sasha. If you care about someone enough, that’s what you’d do, but theirs is young love, which I actually think makes it harder. Gonzalo has this horrible but relatable internal struggle as he decides to risk his life over and over — was his relationship just a high school fling or was it the real thing? He believes it was real, but the question that plagues him is — does she? 

THOMAS: My girlfriend. Anyone in my family. Also maybe for a lifetime supply of Mexican Coca Cola. They use real sugar.

Thank you, guys!!

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