Time to get crackin’ on finding those little gems and background bits mixed into my latest novel. **Spoilers**

So Colby recognizes Broo because of a necklace she’s wearing. This is the necklace that he gives her when they go to lunch with her parents for her birthday in the very first book, Of Sun & Moon. The necklace is unique because it’s half emerald, half sapphire, to match the couple’s eyes.

Dressing Broo for a Dream
Broo’s wardrobe throughout Colby’s dream was very carefully chosen. First, she’s wearing a strapless pink minidress, a combination of the outfits she wore when she and Colby were first starting their relationship in Book 1. Second, she wears her midnight blue gown from prom, though it is in rags to symbolize the her descent that night when she viciously turned on his friends leaving Ann with the scar. And the t-shirt, of course, was chosen to be a big red flag to make Colby pay attention. Although in the first drafts, it said, “Save the Humans”, a homage to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and a bit too on the nose. Later it was changed to the school name to keep the story at a fast pace.

Oh, The Places We’ll Go
When developing the finale, there were several characters I wanted to bring back, but there were also several places I wanted to visit one last time: The Landing, Citadel throne room, West Woods, vanity, Keira’s training room and Elsted, and the fields of the Hayes farm. There is only one that I didn’t get back to, the Dairy Dog, which is the spot most mentioned by readers because it seems so real.

Nana’s Tails
Keira’s first protector is a kitsune. In Book 1, she celebrates her 500th birthday and earns her fifth tail. For each tail she gains a special ability. Some are highlighted in the story; others are subtly used. For the curious, here’s a list of Nana’s powers in order of how she received them: Shapeshifting, Calming Influence, Forgetful Bliss, Hypnotic Eyes,  and Possession.

Extendable Duster
I wrote Chapter 5 in my bedroom and looked around to see what I would pick up to protect myself. My Swiffer duster was in the corner as I’d just finished cleaning the ceiling fan, so I wrote it into the chapter as Bob’s weapon of circumstance.

Timelock. Shmime-lock.
Keira’s brushoff of the timelock makes me think of Shmebulock, a gnome from Gravity Falls and that makes me smile.

Bye Now.
In Chapter 10, Broo tries to walk away from Colby with a “Bye now,” a homage to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Keira and the book
If Keira could read the book, why didn’t she notice before? She never opened it. It was always her Dad or Arden who studied the book. The few times she held it, it was closed. Not-So Subtle Message to Kids: Crack open a book, you might learn something unexpected.

Traditions of the Empire
When naming the book and its chapters, I asked myself what would J.K. Rowling call them?

Way Back
Chapters 14 and 15 were written before Book 4 was released. The 8 moments and 5 marriage rituals were finalized during the writing of Book 3.

Why didn’t Ann just show Colby the 5 phases, why 8?
The five phases were:
1: Inflict damage on a common enemy – attack on Jumper
2: Gifting of betrothal knife – Christmas at Jamie’s
3: Blood sacrifice – Serpent Mound collapse
4: Kiss at Sacred Site – caverns beneath the Citadel
5: Drinking of Metheglin – Fall Ball
Gets a little complicated. Basically, Ann took Colby to see #1 and 2 because those had already happened in Colby’s timeline. The other phases had happened for Ann, but not for Colby yet, so she couldn’t take him to witness those because she can’t take him to his future. Because those were the only ones she could show him, she supplemented by taking him to other moments that would reinforce that Brun couldn’t be trusted, Drew’s ability with the shadows, and that Jumper was a charge (prepping him to figure out #3).

Why the Metheglin
Keira’s father avoids telling his daughter why the Metheglin is part of the wedding tradition. This is another one the mogdocs stolen from other ancient cultures. In some cultures it is believed that if metheglin is consumed during the first moon cycle of the marriage, the couple will have a son in the first year. Metheglin is made from honey and this is where the term “honeymoon” comes from.

Nana, Alfred, and Kendric
My own elderly version of Hermione, Ron and Harry.

Why did Colby perform CPR?
I imagine he learned it in 4-H.

The Ending
I had always planned for the gifting of the second Vox, the Voice of Truth, to end the story. Seems kinda poetic.