Blog Post...FOR SCIENCE!

Hey guys,

Writing books is a process where you spend 90% of your time just trying to figure things out. How will this plot line work? What will this character do? How does this world work? And so on-it's a nice and wonderful puzzle and there's nothing quite like discovering how things will fall into place.

That being said, we can't think of EVERYTHING*. Basically, unless it directly ties into the plot, I leave things be. I do this for several reasons**. One reason is that I do actually have to write the damn thing and that doesn't happen if I'm sitting around and detailing the world to death. Another reason is that I like to leave myself some breathing room. Basically, as I write more and more in a world, things keep filling in. And if I've already set something in book 1 that wasn't needed then and by book 2 I've decided something different...well, I can't change it now, can I? So I try to leave some wiggle room when I can. 

And honestly, some things don't occur to me***. Many, many months ago I got a fantastic email from a student named Kyle asking some questions about the genetics in HMC,N. Oddly, I have been spending some time brushing up on such things for the book I'm working on, but I hadn't done this for HMC,N because it wasn't really relative to me at the time****.

So I couldn't immediatly answer all of Kyle's questions. I don't really have what I would call a "science" mind, and I thought it would be a fun discussion if I threw his email out for response. So here it is:


I'm a highschool student in Portland planning on participating in
Oregon Battle of the Books. I loved your book, and am super happy it
got selected for OBOB, but have been bothered by one thing.

Kevin isn't a necromancer, but carries the gene. Indicating that a
person needs necromancer genes from both parents to manifest powers.

Contrarily, Kevin's children all manifest powers despite only
receiving necromancer genes from one parent. Like him, they are
carriers, but unlike him they have powers. How does that work?

On a similar note, do all hybrids have the same characteristics? Given
the complexity of their traits, I don't think it's possible for all
the were-characteristics or fey-hound characteristics to exist on a
single gene. Brid mentions shared strengths and weaknesses when she
explains hybrids to Sam. How do hybrids work?

And if this whole thing is just "magical" and not actually rooted in
science, how does Douglas manage to get meaningful results from his
scientific experiments?

Kyle, I hope your parents are very proud of you. Your email is well written and your questions are great. So I don't really know how to answer the necromancer gene question yet. Thoughts, anyone? This question troubles me the most because I'm just not sure. 

The hybrids have similar traits, probably to varying degrees, but not identical. I haven't really spent a lot of time with them to see what's what, because Sam has been taking up most of the plot. However, maybe the differences between the hybrids will come up. Because really, you're right, they wouldn't be exactly the same.

As for Douglas experiments/torture sessions: Though genetics and things haven't been sorted properly in the book, this question I can answer. Magic, much like science, has its own variables. Bacially, if you get the variables right, the result should***** be consistant. It might not be tied to the same rules as the natural/scientific world, but it will be tied to it's own. Example: Sam bleeds, he exerts his will, zombies rise. No science in that. But there is a series of variables that, when followed properly, end in a consistant result******.

So, those are the answers for now, and I'm curious to see if the collective has any answers for the rest of it. Well, my smart Interweb friends? Blind me with SCIENCE!

*at least I can't.

**One of them might be pure laziness.

***You have no idea how many things don't occur to me.

****at the time what was most relative to me was the whole-body panic that is writing your first novel and freaking out that I was going to screw up.

*****every exception has a rule, which is just a writer's way of saying that we like to change them on you.

******except when it doesn't.