As Enim is pulled further and further into crimes that he both has and hasn't committed, he finds that his mind is slowly unraveling and his grip on reality is faltering, and unwanted comparisons are being drawn between his mother's withering health and his own. Soon, discovering who the killer is becomes his only concern. Yet before long, it becomes clear that there's an even more difficult task at hand than who's responsible for the horrid crimes: getting anyone to believe him.
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1.What, for you, is the hardest part of being an author?
The hardest part is the thought that no one will understand what I've written, or the point that I was trying to make. The fear of not being understood has always troubled me.
2. What inspired you to write this book?
This book was largely inspired by the feeling of being trapped inside oneself and not knowing where to go. It was important for me to write about the stigma that surrounds mental illness, as well, and hopefully to show that it is something real and it is something valid, even if no one else can see or touch it.
3. How many hours per day do you spend writing?
I spend anywhere from half an hour to eight hours writing, depending on the day.
4. Is this your first book?
This is my first published book; I've written others, but they're all hidden away and will probably never be shown to anyone.
5. Name your top five favorite books.
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist; Lord of the Flies by William Golding; Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë; Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer; and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
click 'read more' for excerpts:
“It’s the third one this year, Enim,” he said. “You can’t keep failing exams, especially in the year before college. What would people think?”
“Right,” I said absently, still squinting to see the students whispering feverishly about what they had seen. “What would they think.”
“I know this comes down to Jack’s influence – there’s no other explanation. I rather thought that you would have reevaluated your friendship with him by now, especially given the trouble that he got you into last year.”
“You were very nearly expelled,” Karl went on without acknowledging the flatness in my tone. “Anyone else would have been. You’re lucky that Mr. Barker was compassionate enough to let you stay on –”
“I’m lucky that my father paid Barker off, you mean.”
I wrapped the phone cord around my fingers as I gave the blunt response, reveling in the sound of static as Karl struggled to respond. He would undoubtedly run his hands through his hair before smoothing it down again as he thought of a way to counter my claim, but even the image of him so frazzled in his neatly pressed suit and straight tie couldn’t lighten the mood brought on by his phone call.
“I – he – that’s not true, Enim. He didn’t pay the headmaster off.”
“He bought the lacrosse team another stadium,” I said. “They’re very pleased about it.”
“That was a completely separate event. He donated the money so that you could have a better lacrosse team.”
“I don’t play lacrosse. I don’t even go to the games. The only reason he wanted Bickerby to have a better sporting field was so that I could stay in school.”
“That’s not true, Enim. If anything, he did it in the hopes that you might start playing a sport – we all agree that it would be good for you.”
I rolled my eyes to the ceiling, grateful that he couldn’t see my expression. Despite the fact that he was a lawyer, he had never been a very good liar: Barker had only consented not to expel me in return for a signed check.
“So what do you think?” Jack asked me as I sat down.
“About the murder.”
“I think I’m going to murder someone if I don’t get some coffee soon.”
“Hopefully it’s Sanders or Wynne,” Jack said with a cackle. “But what about the dead girl? Who do you think killed her?”
The pounding in my skull was louder than his voice; I paused to press my head into my hands.
“How would I know?”
“You wouldn’t, I just wanted your best guess.”
“I don’t have a guess,” I told him. I hadn’t liked hearing about the girl in the first place and wanted no reason to talk about her more. “Why would you want to think about something like that?”
He shrugged and took a bite of his English muffin.
“I can’t help it, Nim – I love a good mystery.”
His eyes were alight and mischievous. I could almost see the conspiracies forming in his mind behind the dark irises, undoubtedly searching for alternatives to the mundane theory we had settled on just hours before.
“I know you do,” I said. “But check one out of the library – don’t go looking for them.”
“Like I’d ever go to the library,” he said. “But it does have me thinking ...”
“What?” I asked warily.
“We should go to the boathouse.”
“What? How do those two thoughts even go together?”
“Think about it, Nim: it’s the perfect time to break the rules.”
“How is it the perfect time? The police are swarming the place.”
“Hardly,” he said. “Did you see even one officer on campus this morning? They’ve all cleared out.”
“Only because Barker’s hoping that no one will know what’s going on,” I countered. “I bet they’ll be back tonight after we’re all in our rooms.”
“Alright, forget the police, Nim – it’ll be fun.”
Even his most earnest of expressions couldn’t convince me to sneak out to the boat house and steal one of the rowing boats again. We had done it a few times in the past, of course, to feed his insane idea that it was possible to row all the way to the mainland and escape Bickerby, but we had certainly never achieved the feat.
“Why not?” he pestered. “We haven’t done anything fun all semester.”
“We haven’t been in trouble all semester, either,” I said. “And I’d like to keep it that way.”
“Why? It’s not like we’ve ever gotten caught before. Besides, I hear Barker’s in the market for a new stadium to match that nice sporting field he had installed ...”
“Karl will kill me. Besides, it’s too cold to go out to the ocean. We’ll freeze to death.”
“Better than dying of boredom,” Jack muttered, but he let the idea drop all the same.