To be honest I made it up, but so far, two different government employees have told me they’ve seen a smaller variation being played (i.e., people betting on how many votes will be cast for a certain bill). That’s just scary. Also, I’m honestly amazed by how many staffers on the Hill, when they hear the plot, say, “I wouldn’t be surprised if someone was doing that right now.” God bless America!
I wish I could say all of it makes it into the final version, but that’s just not the case. For me, it’s the early chapters of a book that get cut down the most. When I’m done with my research and ready to start a new novel, I’ve got so much I want to put in there, I just vomit it all out in the opening chapters. Those are the same chapters that all my family and friends read and say, “Nice research, but can you get on with the book?” So the early chapters get cut. In The Zero Game, the first seventy pages were originally a hundred and twenty. And the scene in the mine was another thirty pages longer. Welcome to the cutting room floor.
Yep. Probably not the smartest move, but I did—eight thousand feet straight down. The first time I went, because of a flood, we could only go down two thousand feet. I went back two weeks later and they took me to the very bottom. Two weeks after that, those miners got trapped in that Pennsylvania mine. They were 240 feet down; I was 8,000. My wife wanted to kill me—but for my readers, I’ll risk my life.
Far harder than I thought. Viv is a young, black female Senate page. So let me put it this way: There are three things that, no matter what I do, I know I’ll never be in my life: young, black and female. But I just didn’t want to write a walking cliche, so I spent months researching…talking to friends…interviewing people…anything that would put me in that character’s brain. The gender part I could manage—the race issue was tougher. I hope I did her justice.
Tie. Crawling around the basements and attics of the Capitol—and going down into the mine (c’mon, they let me wear that hat with the flashlight—what beats that?).
Read more Q&A with Brad here.