I am so excited to be hosting a spot on blog tour for BURNING MIDNIGHT by Will McIntosh. I have a deleted scene to share with you! And make sure to enter the awesome giveaway!
Haven't heard of BURNING MIDNIGHT? Check it out!
For fans of The Maze Runner and The Fifth Wave, this debut YA novel from Hugo Award winner Will McIntosh pits four underprivileged teens against an evil billionaire in the race of a lifetime.
Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much—Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers—but it helps him and his mom make the rent. No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the greater the improvement—and the more expensive the sphere.
When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold—a color no one has ever seen. And when Alex Holliday learns what they have, he will go to any lengths, will use all of his wealth and power, to take it from them.
There’s no question the Gold is priceless, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they’re here.
Now on to the post!
A Deleted Scene from BURNING MIDNIGHT
At first I didn’t think I had deleted any scenes from Burning Midnight, but I went back through a very early draft, and there it was! It’s a scene where Sully, one of the two main characters, is meeting with his estranged police officer father seeking help after Sully was robbed of a valuable sphere.
I deleted the scene because I realized I didn’t need it--I could skip to the next scene and have Sully simply recall what his father had said during their brief meeting at a coffee shop. This way I avoid introducing a new character, because Sully’s father only appears in this one scene, and I pick up the novel’s pace.
An interesting side note: I wrote this scene before I realized I was writing a young adult novel. When I started writing Burning Midnight, I didn’t intend it to be a YA novel, but the book had other plans. I was about one-third of the way through before I realized I was writing a YA novel, and I had to go back and change the age of the characters. So in this draft Sully is in college. In the final draft, he and his friends are in high school.
Okay, here it is…
It wasn’t a coffee shop like Starbucks. Sully should’ve known his dad wouldn’t set foot in a place with couches and lattes. This was a hole in the wall with steel tables that served your choice of decaf and regular, along with bacon and egg sandwiches on white bread. A coffee shop that had been around since before coffee shops were cool.
His dad was slouched at a table, a Styrofoam cup in front of him. He was staring at a woman waiting in line. At her ass, specifically.
“There he is,” Pete Sullivan said as Sully pulled out the chair across from him. He looked the same as the last time Sully had seen him. Same buzz-cut, same stink of cigarettes, same blue uniform.
“Here I am.” It was hard to look his father in his squinty blue eyes, but Sully forced himself. If he didn’t, his father would interpret it as a sign of weakness.
His dad pointed toward the counter. “You want anything?”
Dad leaned back, folded his hands across his belly. “So, to what do I owe the pleasure?” He wanted to get right to it and be on his way. No small talk about how Sully was doing, no congratulations on graduating from high school. That was fine with Sully.
“Me and my partners were robbed of a pretty valuable marble at gunpoint, and I was thinking you might be able to give me some insight into how they did it.”
His Dad nodded as he blew air out his nose, as if it was just what he’d expected to hear. “How valuable a marble?”
“Six. Jesus.” That losing it made Sully a moron was right there in the tone, as clear as the broken blood vessels tattooing the end of his father’s nose. Sully pushed on, telling the story in detail as his father sighed and shook his head in disgust.
When he’d finished, his dad leaned forward and said, “It’s Joey or the girl. One of them screwed you.”
“No,” Sully said immediately. “Not a chance.”
“Not a chance.” Dad rolled his eyes. “And why is that?”
“You didn’t see their reactions. No one could fake what was on their faces.”
“Oh, bullshit.” His dad waved a dismissive hand. A woman in a business suit standing in line glanced their way. “People can give performances that’d win Oscars when fourteen thousand dollars is on the line.”
Sully shook his head emphatically. “They’re just not capable of doing something like this. Neither of them.” Inside, though, he wondered. He knew Joey wouldn’t. He’d known Joey his whole life. But how well did he really know Hunter?
“You’re too trusting,” Dad said. “That’s why that bastard Holliday was able to rip you off. If I’d been there, no way he gets his hands on that marble until a lawyer’s gone over that contract with a fine-toothed comb.”
“Well, you weren’t there, and I was thirteen, so excuse me if I was lacking in legal acumen.”
“Acumen. Let me get my dictionary.” He shook his head. “Acumen. Now I know you’re in college.” Pete Sullivan leaned forward until he was just about out of his seat, stabbed a finger at Sully. “Let me tell you something, professor: when fourteen grand is on the line, you have no friends. You got that? You trust no one. I’ve seen people screwed by best friends, brothers, wives, fathers. I’ve seen identical twins cheat each other for less than fourteen grand.” He settled back into his chair. “So I’ll say it again: Joey or the girl. My money’s on the girl. She’s pistol-whipped, but she’s up and running a second later? That’s awfully convenient.”
Sully had considered that. There’d been a wicked scrape on Hunter’s forehead, but no egg-sized welt like you’d expect from the butt of a pistol. Sully thought it added up to someone taking a hard swing, but mostly missing. Maybe Hunter had lunged backward to avoid the worst of it.
His father was looking at him, eyebrows raised.
“Okay. I’ll take it under advisement.”
His dad stood, offered Sully his hand. Sully shook it, squeezing hard, because Pete Sullivan would grind your knuckles together if you let him.
Back on the street, Sully mulled what his father had said. Was he too trusting? Did people look at him and think, Now there’s a sucker?
No. In his father’s eloquent vernacular, bullshit. There were people Sully knew he could trust. If his father thought he was deluding himself by thinking that, it was because his father was a selfish, miserable bastard.
Check out the gold orb!
Will McIntosh’s debut novel, Soft Apocalypse, was a finalist for both a Locus award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He is a frequent contributor to Asimov’s, where his story “Bridesicle” won the 2010 Reader’s Award, as well as the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. His third novel, Love Minus Eighty (based on “Bridesicle”) was published by Orbit books in June, 2013, and was named best Science Fiction novel of the year by the American Library Association. His upcoming novel, Defenders has been optioned by Warner Brothers for a feature film. Will recently moved to Williamsburg, Virginia with his wife Alison and twins Hannah and Miles. He left his position as a psychology professor in Southeast Georgia to write full time, and still teaches as an adjunct, at the College of William and Mary. Will is represented by Seth Fishman at The Gernert Company. Follow him on Twitter @WillMcIntoshSF
3 winners will receive a finished copy of BURNING MIDNIGHT, US Only.
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