UnStrung!

ImageFor the longest time, people have been asking me what happened to Lev in UNWIND between the time he left CyFi, and turned up at the graveyard.  What was it that turned him into a clapper?  Since I chose not to deal with it in the book, my answer basically was “nasty stuff,” and left it to the imagination of readers.  But I became curious myself.

When Simon and Schuster asked me to write a story to bridge UNWIND and UnWHOLLY, I knew I wanted to tell Lev’s story.  But now I had to actually come up with one!  “Nasty stuff,” just didn’t cut it anymore.Image

            Since I had deadlines mounting up, I knew I didn’t have the time to write the story alone, so I asked my friend, and fellow author Michelle Knowlden to work with me on it.  We had, more than  ten years ago, collaborated on an “X-Files” novel called “DARK MATTER.”  Writing with her was a great experience, and we worked together well.  I also suspected her style and writing sensibilities would mesh well with the tone of the Unwind world.  I was right!

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Michelle Knowlden

 UNSTRUNG takes place on an Indian reservation.  In the Unwind world, the new politically-correct term for Native Americans is  “People of Chance,” or “Chancefolk.”  We were playing with the idea of Indian casinos, and how, in future years, it will have subtly shaped those cultures.   The “Rez” is far less dystopian than the outside world.  They’ve resisted unwinding, and have managed to find a balance between tradition, and the modern world.

            The trick was sending Lev on a journey that would bring him to a place that he would seriously consider becoming a “clapper.” What is it that turns a once-innocent kid into a suicide terrorist?  Michelle and I gave this a lot of thought, and came up with a story  featuring Lev and a gifted guitar-playing Native American kid.  The story is compelling, very real, and very much an UNWIND story.  I won’t give you any spoilers here, but will tell you that Lev meets some new characters who not only play a part in this story, but in UnWholly, and the third UNWIND book as well.  (And when I say “part,” in one instance I really do mean “part!”)

            We wrote the story in Google docs, both of us working in the manuscript simultaneously – it was a fantastic process to do a real-time collaboration online, from two separate places.  What began as a short story evolved into a full-fledged novella of 62 pages!

            I hope you enjoy UnStrung.  Here’s a link to buy it for Kindle,

http://www.amazon.com/UnStrung-ebook/dp/B008CF3PMU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343348703&sr=8-1&keywords=unstrung ,

and a link to buy it for Nook,

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unstrung-neal-shusterman/1111637917

and for apple http://bit.ly/QhMnds .  The cost is $1.99  And if you like it, I hope you’ll let your friends know, and post a review!

One Response to “UnStrung!”

  1. Allison Says:

    Hey, I’ve read most of the books you’ve written (just finished reading Unwholly) and I wanted to say that your books always make me think a lot, especially with the Unwind series and the Everlost books. I think Camus might be my favorite characters. When you mentioned Frankenstein it was just after I’d been thinking that myself. Your vision of political correctness in the future seems really plausible, too. I can definitely see “umber”, “lily-sienna”, and “People of Chance” becoming new terms.

    It’s also really interesting for me to see how you’ve changed as a writer by reading your older books (Full Tilt, Downsiders). You’ve always had the ideas, but I think it’s really cool how your writing has just gotten better and better.

    Question: Is the Unwind series going to be a trilogy of sorts? (That is, Unwind, Unwholly and another “Un” book? I’m not counting UnStrung since it’s a bit like Lion King 1 1/2 in that it takes place during the events of the first book.) If so, you did a great job on making the second book equal to or maybe even better than the first; I know that writing the bridging book is really difficult in a trilogy.

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