Title: BURNING MIDNIGHT
Author: Will McIntosh
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
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.
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
What gave you the inspiration for Burning Midnight?
When I first read this question, I wasn’t sure I knew the answer. Then answers began to pop into my mind--not one, but a whole series. I wasn’t sure which was the right one, then I realized they were all right in some way. There were layers of past events that led me to write Burning Midnight.
Here, then, is my psyche laid bare, at least regarding the origins of Burning Midnight:
1. The Easter egg hunt. Burning Midnight involves palm-sized spheres in a variety of colors, hidden all over the Earth. I wasn’t aware of it while writing, but that’s very much what an Easter egg hunt is. When I was seven, my mother took me to a huge Easter egg hunt on the lawn of our town’s city hall. There were eggs of all colors hidden on the grounds, but only one gold-colored egg. If you found it, you’d receive some fabulous prize I no longer remember. I was squatting beside the boy who found the golden egg. He tipped a piece of drain spout lying on the ground near the building, and out it rolled. In my memory it is bright and perfect and magical. And I was so close.
2. The bottle dump. When I was twelve, my sister, a cousin, and I stumbled on a 60 year-old dump hidden in the woods. We spent a summer hunting for antique bottles, and built a valuable collection of something like 200 that we displayed on our porch. Burning Midnight is about hunting and discovering incredibly rare things in the wild.
3. Monty Python’s Olympic hide and seek skit. Monty Python’s Flying Circus came to America when I was fourteen. I fell in love. One of the many skits that become canon to me involved the Olympic hide and seek finals, where the seeker counted to one million while the hider could hide anywhere on Earth. The game lasted eleven years, then they switched roles and did it all again. Terry Jones is looking in a trash can in Madagascar as the announcer proclaims to the audience in hushed tones that he is officially “cold”, because Graham Chapman is hiding in a cave in Sardinia. This is the hunt for the rarest spheres in Burning Midnight. They could be anywhere, including in a trash can in Sardinia.
4. I was a teenage comic book dealer. In the very first chapter of Burning Midnight, Sully is sitting behind a table at a flea market, selling spheres. When I was sixteen I sat behind a table at a flea market selling superhero comic books. In Burning Midnight, when you touch two spheres of the same color to your temples, you get some ability. If the spheres are Lemon Yellow, you grow an inch; if they’re Mustard, you become smarter. You get superpowers. Like a superhero. How did I not see this connection to my own past until just recently?
How did I not see all of these connections? All I can say in my defense is, I try not to think too hard when I write.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of BURNING MIDNIGHT, US Only.
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