In this chapter’s journal entry, we get a sense of the conflict between Rain and Queenie over Galen. We don’t know yet that it’s more complicated than it looks at first. Why do you think Rain reacts so strongly to the news that Queenie has supposedly dumped Galen? Is her behavior in line with the way she usually faces conflicts? If not, what does that say?
This is the first chapter in which Rain meets The Flash in person. How do these two characters seem different? What might they have in common?
What are your first impressions of Dmitri, Marie, and Spence? What about their actions, speech, or Rain’s descriptions leads you to these impressions? What do you think that these three characters might think about her and why? Why not rewrite the scene from the point of view of one of these three characters?
How does Rain react when she finds out about the proposed trip to the Leech Lake Reservation? Why do you think she feels this way?
This manuscript had already been purchased by HarperCollins for publication when the shootings at Columbine High School took place. The boy shooters at that school were associated in the media with their dress, which involved trench coats, and triggered suspicion against many perfectly innocent high school students across America based on their choice of dress.
So, The Flash wearing a trench coat and the trench coat imagery associated with Columbine were a coincidence. At that point though, in light of that tragedy, I considered what—if any—impact the reference in my story might have.
(People often discuss what an author ‘meant’ to do in a story. They’re not always right.)
Essentially, it all came down to four possibilities: (1) everyone would’ve forgotten about the trench coats at Columbine by then and not make the connection; (2) the reference would be seen as distasteful, or my worst fear, intentionally insensitive; (3) because the story deals with the sudden death of a young person, it might be viewed as a thoughtful nod to the perception that today’s generation is faced more often with death during the teen years; (4) because The Flash is a positive and peaceful character, it would be read as a subtle commentary on students’ dress rights.
I decided to keep in The Flash in his trench coat. My editor told me that enough time would’ve passed by the eventual publication of the book that the readers’ connection was an unlikely one. My original visual image of the character was quite strong; it was linked into his role as the outsider in this tightly knit small-town community.