Interview & Giveaway: Nil Unlocked (Nil #2) by Lynne Matson

Posted May 15, 2015 by Melissa in Author Interview, Giveaway | 33 Comments

Interview & Giveaway: Nil Unlocked (Nil #2) by Lynne Matson

I am beyond thrilled to be able to welcome Lynne Matson to the blog today!! I can’t express how much I have enjoyed this series. If you haven’t started it, pick up Nil today! You will like it! I promise!

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway below for copies of both Nil & Nil Unlocked and to check back here Monday for my review of Nil Unlocked!
(I’ll give you a hint: It’s a winner!!)

Interview with Lynne Matson

1. Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a recovered lawyer, and mom of four amazing boys! When I’m not writing or reading (yay! books!) you can find me painting, listening to music, going for a run or a walk with friends or hanging out with my boys, probably at the beach. My husband is a big surfer; so are two of my sons. Florida is an awesome place to live.:)

2. Can you tell us a little about why you write Young Adult?

The feels and the firsts!

Think back, to the first boy—or girl—that caught your eye and held it. Close your eyes, and remember. Picture that moment when you first saw his slow smile . . . when you realized he was looking at you too . . . when you felt that tightening in your chest, like you couldn’t get enough air. That’s a first you never forget, because it’s SO powerful. Now think of your first near-miss kiss, when you felt the air disappear before yours lips then whoosh back . . . and your first real kiss, when his lips finally brushed yours. Think of the first time someone said “I love you” and meant it . . . and the first time someone said “I love you” and didn’t mean it after all . . . think of your first broken heart. Think of the first time you stood up for yourself, the first time you surprised yourself. Think of the first time you realized who you really are, and the first time you realized what you really want—from yourself, from your life.
Every first holds the promise of something amazing, and with that promise comes power. The power to love, the power to care, and the power to hurt. Oh, THE FEELS! Aren’t they the best?! And they’re HUGE in YA. Absolutely HUGE. I can’t imagine writing anything else.:)

3. Was it easier to write Nil or Nil Unlocked? In other words…how hard is it to start a sequel?

I think NIL UNLOCKED was actually easier, because I already had it in my head. I had the world in place, and I knew the characters. Even though I wasn’t planning on writing a sequel to NIL–I knew Charley and Thad’s story was done when I typed ‘The End’—the characters I’d left on Nil wouldn’t let me go, especially Rives. And so NIL UNLOCKED was born shortly after I finished NIL. Plus, I already knew all the answers to questions I’d left unanswered in NIL, since I’d purposely left them open to give the reader a sense of all that was (1) lost with each departure and (2) needed to be re-learned with each new arrival. So I just had to put it all on paper.

4. Nil is both amazing beautiful and devastatingly dangerous all at once-what is the significance of this juxtaposition?

Thank you, Melissa! I loved the idea of a deadly paradise, and it’s a theme that continues to run through NIL UNLOCKED. It’s a cool contrast to play with, because for those characters, they can never relax completely, even though their surroundings may look like the perfect island retreat. On Nil, the characters’ clocks are always ticking, making each day a race against death . . . even when the characters are running on a gorgeous white sand beach.
One character in NIL UNLOCKED says it perfectly: “A prison is still a prison, even when the walls are beautiful.” I think this quote says it all.:)

5. I really got quite a bit of a Lost (one of my fav shows) vibe from Nil? Was that show one of your influences?

I think indirectly, yes. I loved LOST (tons!) but wasn’t consciously thinking of the show when I wrote NIL. I honestly just had a vision of a girl waking up naked in a red rock field on an island, and it went from there.

6. What would you miss most if you ended up on Nil?

My family, no doubt about it. As for material things, I think I’d miss my bed the most.:)

7. How do you think you would adapt to survive on Nil?

Oh my gosh—great question! I’d like to think I’d adapt well, because I’d have to, right? At least I enjoy rumning. 😉 But I can’t imagine how hard it would be to wake up naked, without a clue where you are, not to mention the daily struggle for survival and safety. I’m glad I’m not on Nil.

8. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Biggest criticism? That the romance in NIL was insta-love, which was viewed as a negative.
On Nil, the time crunch puts all relationships in a pressure-cooker, especially since the teens can spend 24/7 with each other from day one, so I totally believe an insta-attraction could turn into true love. But, I learned that not everyone views relationships the same way, and that as an author, you won’t please everyone. And that’s okay.:) Because you will please some, and that’s where the compliments come in. I’ve had readers email me to tell me they loved NIL, and honestly, that’s the highest compliment an author can receive.

9. What book is currently on your nightstand?


And who are some of your favorite authors?

Oh gosh. How much time do you have?:) Marie Rutkowski, Sarah J. Maas, Kasie West, Huntley Fitzpatrick, Mary Pearson, Anne McAffrey, J.K. Rowling, Veronica Rossi, Stephanie Perkins, Megan Spooner & Amie Kaufman… I’ll stop now.:)

10. Do any animals share your life?

Yes! We just got a llwelyn setter and we named her Charley. (Yes, we totally named her after one of the main characters in NIL!:D) She’s white with black and caramel spots, and she’s super sweet and more than a little feisty. Her favorite pastime is stealing my boys’ socks and running around the house with them.:)

This or That?

Fiction or Non-Fiction? Fiction
Novella or Tome? Tome (but I’ll read novellas if they’re part of a series I love)
Cover or Synopsis? Both! The cover hooks me first but the synopsis reels me in!:)
Bookstore or Library? Yes.:)
Pen or Pencil? Pen
Hardcover or Paperback? Hardcover
Ebook or Audiobook? Ebook all the way
Science Fiction or Paranormal? Ahhh! Both?:)
Stand Alone or Series? Hmmm…I love both but I adore getting to stay in a world I love with a series.
Bookmarks or Dog Ears? I usually read books in one sitting so neither! But if I don’t finish, I use the cover flap as a bookmark or *cringes* dogear the pages. Terrible, I know.

Thank you SO much for having me today, Melissa!:) I loved your questions! Happy reading, everyone! #NILtribeLove

About Nil Unlocked

Interview & Giveaway: Nil Unlocked (Nil #2) by Lynne MatsonTitle: Nil Unlocked
Series: Nil #2
Also in Series: Nil Unlocked
Author: Lynne Matson
Publisher: Henry Holt, Macmillan
Publication date: May 12th 2015
Target Audience: Young Adult
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Length: 432 pages
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon|B&N|Book Depository

On the island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape—or you die. Rives is now the undisputed Leader of Nil City, but keeping the City united is tougher than ever.

Raiders have grown bolder, supplies are dwindling, and non-human inhabitants have taken a turn toward the deadly. New arrivals cause rifts within the City, putting the Search system at risk, and calling everything Rives knows into question. Desperate for answers, he teams up with the only other person searching for them: Skye, a new arrival with a mysterious past of her own. Soon the duo find themselves locked in a desperate race to save all the residents of Nil—and possibly destroy the island forever. But at what cost? And who will pay the price?

Excerpt from Nil Unlocked

Chapter 1
Day 241, Just After Noon

The ground shook, like Hades had lost his temper.

Or his favorite toy. Or both.

Given the last ten minutes of sheer insanity, I’d pick both. Three gates, twin exits, and one massive quake, all packed into today’s manic noon. Aftershocks tore through the black rock field as the island fought to win, and the battle seemed personal with the devil himself.

Right now I was doing my damnedest not to meet him in person.

Cracks tore through the rock, ripping the ground into a fresh jigsaw puzzle. One lava field away, red blurred like liquid rust. A buffalo lurched awkwardly in the distance, bracing against the very island that held it hostage. Quakes always scared the animals—me included. I scrambled over the trembling rock, aiming to retrieve Charley’s gear and not kill myself in the process.

Nil wasn’t happy—that was clear.

Another aftershock hit. The ground jerked; black rock splintered on my right. I shifted direction with the wind, already calculating a safer route.

The grizzly roared. I spun to place him. I’d forgotten he was my new sidekick.

I caught the bear in my line of sight and skidded to a sharp halt; my current vector put me on a crash course with the grizzly. He barreled toward me, erratic and unsteady, pointlessly trying to outrun the quake. It was a toss-up as to who was more terrified: me or the jacked-up bear. But it didn’t matter. All that mattered was staying alive, a personal mandate that did not include me playing chicken with the grizzly.

I backpedaled, unwilling to take my eyes off the bear, and stumbled five steps before I tripped and caught myself one-handed on a large chunk of shifting rock. Three meters out, the ground where I would’ve been standing cracked into a cruel smile—one with teeth. Jagged black rock, dripping decay, lining a wide hole. The grizzly’s eyes were wild, his pace uncontrolled. He hit a patch of gravel and slid—and then he fell. Sideways, into the chasm, a brown blur clawing at empty air. The island jerked, the toothy trap clamped shut. Rock crumbled into the dwindling crack as the island settled, then stilled.

No shake, no quake.


The only animal left was me.

The stillness was shocking. I gingerly let go of the rock and stood. Alone in the field of black, I marveled at the quiet. At the abrupt calm, which was as remarkable as the preceding fifteen minutes of mayhem.

Thad’s shocking play.

Charley’s escape.

The bear. The quake. Thad leaping toward a gate floating over a deadly black rift, Thad hanging in midair like a crazed long jumper, one heartbeat too long. But he’d made it.

Nothing like cutting it close, bro, I thought.

I exhaled a breath I’d been holding for days.


I had 124 left.

I took a breath, steady and deep, reveling in the feeling of being alive, then I turned in a slow circle, absorbing the look and feel of the island in the wake of today’s noon. The red rock in the distance jutted crisply against the cloudless blue sky, all blurred edges gone. On my right, Mount Nil stretched high like an island sentinel. A near-vertical black rock peak slapped with patches of stubborn green, its tip speared the only clouds in sight. Wispy steam bleached the sky on the backside, visible if you knew where to look, where hidden vents released deadly pressure. Directly in front of Mount Nil sat the meadow, lush and green and more than a little deadly. I couldn’t see the meadow from where I stood, but I knew it was there, just like the rain forest to the northeast and the City due west. So much of Nil was unseen. I understood that now more than ever.

As I stood alone in the wake of today’s noon, the island looked exactly the same—and felt completely different. Foreign and new.

I gave a sharp laugh.

Of all the people here, you’d think I’d be the most accustomed to change as the constant, but then again, in my pre-Nil life, the places didn’t change; I did. I moved; I traveled; I adjusted to new cities and countries as easily as changing my shirt. Here, I was the constant, forced to continually reassess the island and everything I knew, which made it impossible to get a handle on where I stood. Every time I thought I had something figured out, it changed.

And with the twin losses of Thad and Charley, things had definitely changed.

Welcome to Nil, Rives, I thought.


I’d just finished my full rotation when the breeze shifted. Dulled, as if interrupted. Or expectant.

Incoming, I thought.

I soundlessly fell to one knee beside the rock.

A moment later, a gate dropped a few meters away in midair and glittered, a writhing disco ball no one wanted to play anywhere near, especially me.

Perfectly still, I remained crouched by the boulder, once my anchor, now my shield. And I waited.

One second.


On three, every speck of the disco ball turned matte black. Deep black, the color of a night with no stars, the color of birth on Nil. This gate was an inbound, and now that it churned black, I knew it had a rider.

Friend or foe?

I’d barely finished the thought when the gate coughed out a flash of gold. An animal, with tawny fur the color of the waking sun and a thicker mane of the same, lay motionless on the black rock, his paws facing me.

Foe, I thought.

As the lion lifted his head, another gate popped a meter farther out and dropped. It, too, shifted into charcoal black, a dangerous aperture primed to open. One tick later, the second gate dumped another golden animal, only this one lacked a mane.

Lion number two rose to her feet as inbound gate number three appeared and instantly flashed black. Three gates, all inbounds. All with riders.

This time the newcomer wasn’t a lion; it was a large, scrawny beast covered with dark splotches and a nasty mop of scraggly fur running down its back. It dropped out of the gate, rolled to a lifeless stop, and had barely stilled before raising its wobbly head. It sniffed once, swung its head around toward the lions—and me—and bared its teeth.

I didn’t move.

With a high-pitched keen, it rose to its feet and took off after the lions at a blistering pace. Hyena, I guessed, although I’d never seen one so large. The trio sprinted away, toward Mount Nil and the meadow, the mangy mutt chasing the lions, an unsettling visual if ever there was one.

On Nil, even the king of the beasts ran in fear.

I stood, alone again.

Assessing again.

Charley, gone. Thad, gone. The grizzly, trapped in rock, lost for good. Three out, three in, the island’s balance still intact, only today the Nil scales took a hard tip toward the deadly.

When the trio vanished from sight, I went after Charley’s gear. Her clothes, sandals, and satchel lay in a clean pile. Inside the satchel, Charley’s maps and fi re bow waited, intact and undamaged. Thad’s knife glinted like a dull gate, like life and power and something primitively badass. An island offering, just for me.

Thank you, Nil.

I took it all and didn’t look back. The City was waiting.

I hoped it was still standing.

The Giveaway

Courtesy of Macmillan, I have an amazing giveaway today! One lucky US winner will win a copy of NIL (paperback) and NIL UNLOCKED (hardcover)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Lynne Matson

I write the sort of books I love to read…stories that ask “what if” and are full of feels. My second novel, NIL UNLOCKED (full of answers and mystery and swoon) comes out May of 2015.

I grew up in Georgia, drinking lemonade, and later, sweet tea. My first word may have been y’all. (Ok, it was “apple” but I LOVE the word y’all–so handy.:) Our house was chock full of books. Science fiction novels, mysteries, Dr. Seuss–we had them all; reading was a huge part of our family’s life. So was the outdoors. Each fall we’d travel to North Georgia to pick apples and pumpkins and feel leaves crunching under our feet; each summer we’d go the the beach in South Carolina and marvel at the ocean. I still love the mountains and the beach with equal passion.

When college rolled around, in an inexplicable quirk of fate, I defected south to the University of Florida and fell in love with the cutest boy EVER. And then I stayed. Florida’s awesome–not counting the mosquitoes and freaky bugs that still weird me out.

Now I still stay up late reading books and writing them. When I don’t have a book in my hand, you’ll find me listening to music, going to concerts, attempting yoga, messing around with paint, or hanging out with my husband and our four boys . . . or all of the above. Possibly at the beach. Or the tennis court, lacrosse field, soccer field, or basketball court….:)

Cookies are my kryptonite, especially Thin Mints.

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33 responses to “Interview & Giveaway: Nil Unlocked (Nil #2) by Lynne Matson

  1. Carl

    A haven’t read Nil yet and I’m very intrigued by Nil Unlocked. Thanks for the chance to win both and satisfy my curiosity.

  2. A recovered lawyer. Love that. I agree that is one reason I still enjoy YA. The firsts and the feels. I am so excited to read this series. I have heard great things. Thanks for the chance to win. Enjoy your weekend.
    Heidi recently posted…Friday Forecast May 17th-23rdMy Profile

    • I just finished THE WINNER’S CRIME and I pretty much need THE WINNER’S KISS right now! <3 this series! Having just toured with Marie, we tried to get her to spill ALL THE SECRETS. lol (Note the "tried.:D) Thanks for stopping by, Melissa!:) I hope you enjoy NIL UNLOCKED!
      Lynne Matson recently posted…NIL 3 has a title!!!!!!!My Profile

  3. Sui generis

    I read the first book last month and I really loved it! I can’t hardly wait for this one! Thanks for this chance. 🙂

  4. Jennifer Y.

    I cannot wait to read these as I’ve heard so many good things. I’m also from Georgia & “y’all” is definitely one of my frequently used words as well.

  5. Alisha S.

    I absolutely love the covers on both Nil and Nil Unlocked. I haven’t started these yet but they sound fantastic! Thanks for the chance to win!

  6. Anita Yancey

    Sounds like an amazing book with great characters. I would love to read it. Thanks for having the giveaway.

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