The time it was about Nil on Fire

Posted May 17, 2016 by Stacee in Blog Tours and Hops, Giveaways, Interviews / 8 Comments

I’ve been a fangirl for Lynne Matson and her books since the first Nil book was published. Thankfully, I’ve had a chance to flail all over her when she came to Pasadena for the Fierce Reads tour last year.  It goes without saying that when I saw the invite to sign up for the blog tour, I couldn’t type fast enough.


Before we get to Lynne’s interview, let’s check out the book.

25689041Despite Rives and Skye’s attempt to destroy Nil, the island remains. And back in this world, Nil won’t let Skye go. Haunted by a darkness she can’t ignore, Skye wrestles with Nil nightmares that worsen by the day and threaten to tear her apart. As Skye fights to keep her mind intact, she realizes that to finally break free of Nil, she must end Nil’s vicious cycle once and for all–and she can’t do it alone.

Who will return to Nil, and in the end, who will survive? In this thrilling final installment of the Nil series, the stakes have never been higher: everyone’s fate hangs in the balance, including Nil’s own–and Nil will fight to the death. When the full force of the island is unleashed, Skye faces an impossible choice, a cruel one she’d never imagined she’d have to make. Soon one Nil truth becomes painfully clear: only one side can win.

Losing isn’t an option, but winning will cost Skye everything.

Perfect for fans of Lost and survivalist stories, NIL ON FIRE is a stunning conclusion to the Nil trilogy that will leave readers breathless.

Sounds good, right? {I can’t wait to get my greedy hands on it!!}


1. Please give the elevator pitch for the NIL series.

Teens trapped on a mysterious island have exactly one year to escape, or die. Think Survivor meets LOST with dashes of The Twilight Zone and lots of feels. :)

2. Where did the idea come from?

I’m going to share the precise moment the idea for NIL fell into my head.

Flash back to February 2010: My husband had won a trip to Hawaii (the Big Island) with his job, and it was our first vacation without our boys since the arrival of baby boy number four two years earlier. This meant that our car was crazy quiet—no one fighting, no one asking for a sippy cup. It meant I had time to just chill, look out the window, and let my mind wander.

And wander it did!

Minutes after leaving the airport, we found ourselves driving through miles of ancient lava fields. Broken red rock stretched endlessly both sides, gorgeous and desolate. There were no roads, no buildings, no people—and in the quiet of our car, all I could hear was the eerie sound of wind blowing over the rocks. I remember thinking how much the landscape looked like an alien planet, and thinking how creepy would it be to wake up there, alone, without a clue to tell you where you were? And what if you were a teenager? And what if–because let’s be honest, isn’t this every teens’ worst nightmare?! Or maybe just mine lol-–you woke up naked?

NIL was born in that moment. That barren-red-rock visual locked in my head, and that’s what Charley sees when she first opens her eyes on the island of Nil…that first moment when she wakes up with no cell, no clothes, and no clue. It was the first scene I wrote minutes after checking into our hotel, and from that point forward, the story exploded in my head with the island at the story’s core.

For me, islands offer the perfect mix of paradise and doom. The ocean provides a clear and ever-present barrier to escape, but at the same time, beaches embody natural beauty. The idea of being trapped in paradise gave me heaps of material to work with as I created the world of NIL . . . especially the idea of a dangerous paradise, one with cracks in the facade. What if the teens aren’t alone on the island—what if there are other creatures there too? Deadly ones? And what if some teens on Nil have more knowledge than others? What if the island has an entire history, a complicated backstory that creeps into the present? And of course, the year deadline was key. It’s how the teens choose to spend those precious, dwindling days that drives each book.

In the end, the Nil series is more than just a survival story; it’s about love and friendship and above all, hope. Because without hope, we have nothing. Many of my characters felt that way too. :)

3. What is the weirdest thing you Googled while researching?

Oh my land—I’ve Googled hippo aggression, solar flares, Samoan tattoos, and how to make the perfect rock sling. Writers are always Googling the strangest things!

But my favorite Google research story? For NIL ON FIRE, I was researching vicious mammals. Literally, I Googled “vicious animals,” because as y’all know, the island of Nil is home to warm-blooded creatures, and at the time, I was trying to add new (and vicious) animals to the trilogy that readers hadn’t seen before. But the first hit was for a band titled –you guessed it—Vicious Mammals. So, because the internet is the worst time suck ever and because I’m a music junkie, of course I hopped over to their Facebook page. Vicious Mammals is an Alaskan rock band, and the next day I wrote entire scenes to their tunes. Then I messaged the band’s lead singer, we chatted, and I ended up sending him a book, and he sent me VM merch. One day I’ll wear my Vicious Mammals t-shirt to an event. :)

4. Who has been the easiest and hardest character to work with?

Easiest to write? A tie between Thad and Rives. I just got both of them from the start.

Hardest to write? Honestly, probably Skye. Because the Skye you meet in NIL UNLOCKED is not the same Skye you meet in NIL ON FIRE. She’s still strong, still a thinker, but in NIL ON FIRE, Skye is suffering; she’s fading and hurting and constantly fighting the growing influence of the island over her. So as I wrote her in NIL ON FIRE, I had to constantly think: would Skye do this? And would she do this at this moment, as the island’s influence on her grows? Her decisions were hers, and yet at times, they were almost forced on her. But the important choices still completely belong to Skye. It was a fine line to walk.

5. What will you miss the most about writing this series?

The characters! I could have made NIL ON FIRE massive, adding more Thad and Charley, more Rives and Skye. But the island drove the story in NOF and kept me from going back down comfortable (and familiar) character roads; it was how it was meant to be. So, as the series ends, I truly will miss hanging out with my favorite four. (I still miss one of my favorite characters that I killed off in book 2.) But, I think Thad, Charley, Rives, and Skye live on, where they need to be. Which hopefully is in reader’s hearts.:)

Speed {ish} round:

1. What book do you wish you could read again for the first time?


2. If you could go to dinner with any three characters that aren’t your own, who would you choose?

Hermione, because she’s the smartest witch of her time

Kestral, because she’s brilliant and strong and a survivor

Rhysand, because, well, he’s layered and nuanced and the High Lord of the Night Court (okay fine—he’s also ridiculously hot)

3. What Harry Potter house have you been sorted into?


4. Where in the world do you most want to visit?


5. What is your current guilty pleasure?

tv series: ARROW

book: ACOMAF

food: chocolate croissants


6883551I love books–both reading and writing them. When I’m not reading or writing, you can find me hanging out with my husband and four sons. At any given time, at least one of the 6 of us is up to no good.:)

My books: NIL and NIL UNLOCKED are out now; NIL ON FIRE ends the trilogy in May of 2016. Join the #NILtribe…we have cool snacks.:)


Huge thanks to Macmillan for the invite to the blog tour and to Lynne for always taking the time.  Make sure you’re checking out Lynne’s website, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, and adding all of her books to your Goodreads TBR shelf.

Definitely check out the rest of the blog tour for more goodies.

NIL on Fire releases 5/31, but Macmillan is so nicely offering one up now.  Giveaway is US only and additional rules are here.

**Good Luck!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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8 Responses to “The time it was about Nil on Fire”

  1. Great interview. I really loved the Vicious Mammals story. I mean, how often does something like that happen? I haven’t read the first book, despite owning it, but now I’m even more excited to find the time to read it.

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