I’m a little bit of what some people might call a nerd. I’ve been a bookworm ever since I could read, and unlike some, I actually liked school. In fact, I loved it. I love to learn, which is why, 9 times out of 10, I would rather be watching the Discovery Channel or the History Channel than the newest craze on TV.
That’s partly why my young adult novel , Lurkers, was such fun for me to write. I got to incorporate real science into the plot line. While I’m nowhere near as good with science as one of the main characters, Jackson, I still enjoy learning about it, and even extrapolating known scientific theorems to create the backbone of my plot.
While I loved science in high school, it was never my best subject (that would be English). Luckily, after leaving high school, I maintained a good friendship with my high school science teacher, Andy Rorabeck (find him online here: http://ajrorabeck.wordpress.com). In fact, we even formed a writer’s group which we called Exarare -- Latin, meaning: to till, cultivate, or plough; to write; or to flog severely. Although I’ve moved away from the quiet rural town where I grew up I still continue to contribute to the group through email instead of in person.
Now that I’ve set down my confession in writing, who else is a closet nerd?
You can learn more about Lindsay at her blog: http://lbelow.blogspot.com/
or her twitter: http://twitter.com/LBelowtheauthor
Excerpt from Lurkers (unedited), available July 2011 from MuseItUp Publishing:
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw something move, a shadow. She turned her head. More shadows loomed in the darkness. They were definitely people. “Shit!” she swore. “The gang!”
Jackson immediately stepped out of the way. “Inside!” he shouted. “Quickly!”
Kayla pushed Josh inside and stumbled in after him. Morris shoved his way in before Jackson could close the door. He pushed it closed behind him, and Jackson locked it. “There,” he sighed. “Better.” He inserted another key into the light switch beside the door, and flicked on the lights overhead.
“There’s not another door, is there?” Kayla asked, gnawing on her lip. The gang was huddled together, conspiring.
“Not one that’s open,” Jackson grinned. He clapped a hand to Josh’s shoulder and looked her in the eye. “Come on. We need to work quickly.” He scowled at his cousin. “You can stay here. Or better yet, go back outside.”
“Sorry?” Jackson sniped. “That’s all you seem to be saying lately. Too little, too late, Morris. And don’t bring up the insulin.”
Morris walked along side him as they crossed the entryway to one of the labs. She could still see the door from here. The gang wasn’t going away. If anything, they were coming closer. “Can’t I--”
“Jackson,” Kayla whispered. “They’re not going away. Are you sure they can’t get in?”
She heard a smash in the other room, and looked through the doorway. One gang member pushed out the glass with the butt of his baseball bat. “They’re in!” she shrieked. Jackson flipped through the pages of the notebook he’d snagged off the shelf. Kayla backed up into the room and shut the door. She didn’t realize that Morris was on the other side of it until he started pounding on it. “Why do they have to make doors out of glass?” she lamented to the ceiling. “Honestly, why do they do that?”
“I found something!” Jackson exclaimed. He stood on the balls of his feet as he scanned the book so fast she could barely follow them. “Hold them off!” he called without looking up.
“Let me in!” Morris called from the other side of the door. He pushed on it, but she dug her feet into the ground, shoving with all her might. “Kayla, come on, please let me in! Don’t leave me out here with them!”
“It’s what you did to us!” she yelled back.
“I said I was sorry about that. Please!”
Kayla ignored him, and glanced at the window of the room. “This isn’t going to hold them for long!” she said to Jackson. “They’ll only break the window. What do we do?”
He glanced up from the book. His mouth was a grim line. “I know something that will hold them off, but you need to be careful with it.”
“Jackson! They’re inside the building, please!”
Jackson scowled. “And you might as well let him in, too. He won’t shut up.”
Kayla stepped aside from the door, and Morris burst in. Jackson glared at him. “Sit over there with Josh, and don’t say a word, or I swear to God--”
“You got it, cuz,” Morris said quickly.
Kayla peeked through the door herself. It was like Morris said; almost all of the gang members were inside. The leader was just stepping over the glass. They were stopping to regroup and wait for her orders. Kayla turned back to Jackson. She probably matched the walls for pallor. “We don’t have a lot of time.”
Jackson nodded and dashed to the cabinet. He fumbled to get the lock open and threw it away. Finding five small flasks, he spilled some liquids in them. He stuffed wads of cloth into the tops, sealing them. Then he grabbed a Bunsen burner and fitted it to a nozzle, twisting the tap. He groped with the matchbook, trying to get one lit, until Morris called his name and tossed him a lighter. He touched the flame to the burner. Blue flames shot out the top. He looked Kayla in the eye.
“Light the Erlenmeyer--”
“Light the what?”
“The flask! Light the flask and throw it out, but don’t throw it too close to them. It shouldn’t make a big explosion, but it’ll be loud. Wait until they start forward again before you throw another one. These are all we have.”
Kayla grabbed the first one. She peeked out the door before she lit it, trying to gauge how close the gang was. They still hadn’t started past the mouth of the entry, but they stirred like they were planning to at any second. She lit the cloth on the fire, and tossed it gently out into the larger hall. From the arc, it would land about six feet or so from the gang. She shut the door.
The explosion blew out the glass in the window. She winced, her ears ringing, and looked around for Josh. He was behind Morris, on the other side of the room. He was safe. She sighed and rubbed her ears. Jackson unplugged his ears, scowling. “Well, don’t throw it too close to us, either!” he called. He thundered, “DON’T TOUCH THAT!” as Josh closed his hand around one of the flasks.
“Stay in the corner!” Kayla screamed at her brother. He glowered at her, and she looked at Morris. “Keep him there!” Morris snagged him and dragged him away from the ruckus.
She lit another flask and threw it out through the window. This time it landed three feet from the gang. She plugged her ears as she turned away, but not quite in time. Her vision swam, the blast was so loud. She was afraid it would blow out her eardrums. She crouched behind the lab counter for a minute, panting, before she stood and peeked through the window. The gang was milling away in confusion. Sighing in relief, she slumped against the counter.
Jackson’s eyes were glued to the page in front of him. With each line he read, he seemed to push himself higher on the balls of his feet. He jiggled his ear absently, trying to get his hearing back. Then, he stopped, dropped back down onto his feet, and pressed his nose close to the page. He straightened, pointing to it. “There it is! I’ve got it!” His lips moved as he memorized the wording.
Then the lights went out.