Hannah has big breasts. You mention them a lot. What the hell’s up with that?
Okay, before I get to the mea culpa, here are the facts: there are nine breast mentions in The Flight of the Silvers, most of them centered around Hannah. In virtually each one, the context is either A) someone giving her unwanted attention or B) someone misjudging her based on appearance. It was designed to say more about the people around Hannah than Hannah herself. It was most definitely not my intention to idealize or fetishize her body type, and I still don’t think I did.
That said, nine breast references in a single book—even one as long as The Flight of the Silvers—is a lot. On hindsight, it was a boneheaded move, and I sincerely apologize to anyone who was distracted or annoyed by it. The last thing I want is to pull readers out of my story, or to undermine my female characters with excessive focus on their physical appearance.
Luckily, I’ve learned my lesson for The Song of the Orphans, and every book thereafter. I owe it all to a handful of critics who took the time to get their fact rights and present a thoughtful, nuanced argument.
As for the others…well, they’re entitled to their invective.
I don’t like the way you wrote your female characters in general, especially the sisters. When they’re not crying, they’re arguing. And when they’re not arguing, they’re obsessing over men.
There are literally hundreds of pages of counterevidence to that claim, but enough readers have complained about the issue that it’s worth talking about.
It should be obvious to anyone who read the book that the Silvers spend most of the story in a very bad headspace. They lost their world, their families, their sense of reality. They’re barely holding themselves together and they don’t always handle it well. Zack’s an emotional coward who hides behind his caustic wit. David is prickly and withdrawn, and occasionally borders on sociopathy. Theo steals away in the middle of the night with half his friends’ money so he can drink himself to death.
And Hannah and Amanda? Yeah, they fight a lot, as many siblings do in times of stress. And Hannah goes out of her way to start a “casual” fling with Theo, not because she needs a man, but because her whole world’s been turned upside-down and she needs something familiar to hold onto, something she has control over. Same goes for Mia. Her crush on David is almost a soothing distraction from all the shit that’s going on around her. And having once been an adolescent, I can assure you that even an apocalypse wouldn’t have cured me of my insecurities and body issues.
But this is yet another situation that I could have handled better, and I do handle better in The Song of the Orphans. The Silvers are all in a much stronger state by the time the book begins. They’re not traumatized newbies anymore. You’ll see some pronounced and surprising evolutions with all of them, especially the sisters and Mia.
And for what it’s worth, Hannah and Amanda don’t have a single squabble in The Song of the Orphans.
You often used reductive terms for the Silvers instead of their names—the actress, the cartoonist, the widow, the augur. It’s annoying as hell. Stop it.
I made an artistic choice and I stand by it. Some readers liked it. Others hated it. There’s no way to write a huge-ass novel without annoying someone about something.
For all you pet-name haters, good news! They were were strictly a Book One conceit. You won’t see them at all in The Song of the Orphans and The War of the Givens.
Yeah, but why did you make Amanda “the widow” instead of “the nurse”? You’re defining her whole being around her role as a wife, you mesolithic shitwhistle.
I originally had a plan for her personal story arc that made her widowhood much more relevant than it currently is. I also thought “widow” had a better rhythmic cadence than “nurse.”
I was in no way implying that Amanda’s martial status defines her. If that was the case, she would have mentioned her husband a hell of a lot more than she did.
In Chapter 12, Mia gets a note from her future self warning her that the Gothams were coming to kill her and her friends. Yet she doesn’t do anything about it! Why did you have to make her so stupid? It made me SO GODDAMN ANGRY!
If you think I’m exaggerating about the anger, you should see some of the comments on Goodreads. Holy shit.
Look, at that point of the story, Mia had already received bad intel from her future selves. One of the messages was hostile. Two of them directly contradicted each other. She has every reason in the world to mistrust the information she was getting. If anything, she was afraid that listening to the warning would steer her and her friends into even worse trouble.
Furthermore, she did do something in response to the warning. She went to Erin Salgado, one of Sterling Quint’s security guards, and spent all night with her in the monitoring room, keeping an eye out for trouble. And in fact she used her eye-in-the-sky vantage to save Zack, Amanda, and Theo the next morning.
Could she have handled the situation better? Of course. But for God’s sake, she’s a 14-year-old orphan who’s still reeling from the death of her world and family. She was still brand new to the intricacies of her temporal ability. Cut the girl some slack.
Yeah, well, the Silvers make a lot of dumb mistakes over the course of the book. It was very annoying.
I’m sorry you felt that way. I personally get annoyed by heroes who are flawless in every way and always make perfect choices. Those kind of characters bore the shit out of me, mostly because they have no room to grow. I also find them to very hard to believe in.
The Silvers are all highly imperfect beings who spend most of the story being in way over their heads. It’s only natural that they make bad decisions. But they learn from their mistakes and get stronger with each crisis. By Book Two, they’ll be battle-hardened veterans. By Book Three, they’ll be Jedi.
You make weird word choices sometimes.
I have no idea what you’re yartling about.
Like “leer.” You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Yes, I’ve heard that from several people now. My goof. Rest assured I won’t ever be using that word again, even at gunpoint.
Those who purchase the paperback edition of The Flight of the Silvers or the 2nd edition e-book (the one released after 1/6/15) will own a de-leer-ified version of the novel and will mercifully not know what the hell that issue is about.
Yes but sometimes you have someone “reeling in bother” or “chucking their hands—”
All right, all right! I get it!
But how did it happen?
Because I’m a fallible human being who was struggling to write a 600-page novel without starving. I may have made some mistakes along the way.
And your editors?
Also human. You can thank them for the 12,561 gaffes you didn’t see.
Well, The Flight of the Silvers was long. Like painfully long.
Believe me, it would be easier on my finances if I wrote shorter books. But the Silvers series has a lot of characters with a lot of problems on an aggressively complicated world. A story like that needs to space to breathe. Still, I worked damn hard to make sure that every single scene has purpose. You may not see it, but it’s there.
If you really had trouble keeping interest in The Flight of the Silvers, then it’s usually the sign of a bigger problem. More likely than not, I failed to make you interested in the fates of my main characters. Without that investment, you’ve got nothing. Lord knows I’ve read countless novels—some of them best-sellers—that failed to connect with me on any level. Not every book is for everyone.
Why did you spend all those pages on Jury Curado if he just ended up dead?
There’s something in Jury’s backstory that has huge relevance to the story later on. And by “later,” I mean Book 3.
What if I have a gripe that isn’t covered on this page?
Send me an email. I’ll see what I can do.