Brooke Shaffer

Author, Gamer, and Cat-Collector Extraordinaire

10 Facts About Tick Tock

With the release of Tick Tock as an audiobook, I thought it would be fun and exciting to let you in on a few interesting tidbits, facts, and secrets about the book, from the story itself to some of the production behind it.

  1. Tommen's petition was not in the original plans.  He and Sifura were supposed to meet in a very different way, and the conflict was meant to stay confined to humans and Borelians, with little or no interference from the Hands.  Later plotting showed this to be somewhat lacking in narrative bulk, so I went back and sent him before the Hands, making Sifura one of the Hands.
  2. A side experiment saw the plot staying entirely within the Time industry.  But I found this idea boring, and I wanted to explore at least one new world out there.
  3. The idea that the xur babies grew on trees actually came from a discussion about the movie Avatar, debating whether the Na'vi were able to get pregnant like humans (considering that the scene in question was deleted).  I thought it would be interesting if they grew on trees, given their symbiosis with nature, and it carried over into this book.
  4. The xur appearance in general started as making fun of the Na'vi being giant blue cat people.  So I decided that I would make actual cat people, and it would be awesome.
  5. There was a short time where I considered giving Tommen an alien girlfriend (be it Sifura or otherwise), but when all things were considered, I decided it best to pass, at least on these species.  Physiological anomalies aside, the logistics would be too difficult to juggle going forward, and the resulting subplot would eventually overpower the main plot.
  6. The story of the Akari on Sifura's world was entirely made up, and even I didn't know what the hell it was at the time.  Later on, however, the story would prove crucial in developing the origins and limits of the Akari.
  7. Hasax flowers resemble day lilies.  I hate day lilies, so I made them poisonous.
  8. The Red Desert is a Sahara-like desert with large dunes, versus a scrub desert such as Death Valley.
  9. I debated for a while over whether I wanted to actually maim Rifun and remove his fingers.  This was actually at the same time period when a coworker had severed his fingers (his were successfully reattached).  Eventually I decided that, not only would it be plausible and realistic, but that minor setback would help to develop Rifun's character, and it provided a bit of a framework for Micaiah's injury later on.  It also proved to be a critical point in book nine, Turning Point.
  10. The answer to Rifun's riddle can be found in book seven, Imminence.
  11. [BONUS] The restoration of Tommen's color vision is the first instance where the Akari's capabilities began to truly take shape.

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