Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Foxes After King's Men

+ What's on: Fix Me, by 10 Years

So this got a lot longer than it was supposed to. I think this pretty much answers all the questions I've gotten so far? I might've missed something. If so let me know! Also, if you'd rather leave post-King's Men stuff to your imagination, I don't recommend clicking through the link.

First, regarding book four: I think only one or two of you alluded to this, but I'm sorry, there is no book four. I know I could scrounge together enough plot for it, from Aaron's long-awaited trial to the complications of the new recruits to whatever, but honestly? I don't think it's worth it. Neil's life continues but his story is done, and I am happy to just put the pen down and leave him where he is. He can take it from here, and I need to let him go.

On side stories: Most of the extra scenes and side stories that you all haven't seen are stories that are no longer relevant. A lot of them were written about three drafts ago, when relationships and plot points were a little different. Everything current is up, so sadly we're done as far as the side stories go.

But while there won't be a continuation on the series, I can at least answer some questions about the Foxes' futures!

Riko's death: The Foxes are of course thrilled to find out what's happened and more than happy to pretend it's a suicide. Considering who's involved they are smart about what they say in public or where anyone might overhear them. There's some ugly backlash against the Foxes for breaking Riko's arm, but it's scattered at best considering the circumstances.

It'll take Kevin a couple years to get out of Riko's shadow--for years the comparisons and questions and sympathy will continue, and Kevin will have to play the part as best he can. Riko's "suicide" and Moriyama's resignation help cement Edgar Allan's decision to shut down the Ravens' Nest. There's the usual public argument about the cost of perfection and obsession, and dismay over such a senseless loss of life, but eventually it all dies down.

The Ravens: The original replacement coach for the team was Mikaela Dawson, a former Raven who'd gone on to coaching New Jersey's professional team. Considering all the controversy going on at Edgar Allan and their need to change their image, though, she wouldn't be a suitable replacement this time 'round. Instead the Ravens get an outsider, a well-qualified coach eager to take on a bigger and better team (who doesn't realize what he's getting into).

Even with Moriyama gone, they're a toxic and scheming lot. The upperclassmen have been around too long to be redeemed under a new coach, and the freshmen get pulled to panicked pieces between the upperclassmen's rot and their coach's saner approach. It takes them years to work that poison out of their ranks. In the meantime the USC Trojans become the dominating team in NCAA.

Collateral damage: Proust is researched and executed when Neil's story checks out. Clearing out Oakland takes a little more time considering there's a trial pending and a lot of people digging around in Drake's past, but with enough forged evidence it looks like the lawyers were targeted by past clients.

Aaron's trial happens early in the summer. Cass Spear comes to the trial, but she can't look Aaron or Andrew in the eye because they're identical and Aaron is the man who killed her only biological son. She can hate what sort of person her son was and hate the things he did, but he was still her son and she mourns him. She isn't ready to forgive Aaron and shunts some of that blame off on Andrew for never telling her and for letting it get to this point. It will be years before she can write Andrew a letter. Andrew will never respond to it, and she will never try again.

The Foxes: Adding six recruits to the line-up is a necessary mistake. The Foxes have gone through hell this past year, and it's finally brought them together. Now there are six strangers in the mix who only saw a fraction of the real story in the news, and it's bound to cause problems. The upperclassmen are of course more willing to reach out, but Andrew's lot predictably steers clear. Neil is supposed to be the bridge between them, but even he's tempted to close ranks considering how many problems he has with two of the new players. They'll get to where they need to be eventually, and Neil grows into his new position as vice captain. He takes over as captain when Dan graduates, though ordering Kevin around on the court is never a pleasant experience.

Post-graduation: Jean finishes school with the Trojans and goes pro when he graduates. He never aims for Court and never makes the cut, but he has a solid career and a lot of counseling along the way. Only four of the Foxes continue playing after college--Matt, Kevin, Neil, and Andrew. They are signed to the pros upon graduation, though none of them end up on the same team at first. Neil eventually makes his way onto Andrew's team.

Kevin is the first to be signed to Court. Andrew gets the second offer but turns it down initially. Neil is the last to get called on, though Court has been keeping an eye on him since they saw the Foxes' finals game against the Ravens Neil's freshman year. Kevin leans on Coach Kinzie as soon as he finds out Neil's being recruited, and Andrew gets a second chance. This time Andrew takes the offer.

A couple drafts ago Renee went into the Peace Corps post-graduation, where she met a fellow volunteer named Emilio. They were together for a few years before getting married, and somehow they managed to raise a couple children around their work. Of course, this final version of the series is the first one in years where Jean's survived King's Men, so I guess it's up in the air. Whatever Renee does with her life, I know she'll be happy, and she'll make the people around her happy.

Wymack and Abby never get married, but they do move in together during Neil's senior year.

Andrew and Neil (and Aaron): Aaron was smart enough to make his move on a Wednesday, at one of his and Andrew's shared sessions with Betsy Dobson. He'd figured out by that point that Andrew hadn't told her about Neil yet, and he hoped outing Andrew to her would give him an edge in the argument. Needless to say Andrew was still pissed off the next day when he had to drag Neil to the library and face Katelyn.

Andrew and Neil's relationship isn't without its problems, but it is lasting. They understand each other and are learning to talk to each other without keeping score. They aren't afraid to point out each other's flaws or call each other on the stupid things they do. Their openness and trust make them stable. Their relationship isn't a secret on the team, but it is private--they aren't the sort to share things about each other with anyone else (save Renee, from time to time, since Andrew's trust in her and her keen understanding of Andrew make her a good candidate for a confidante).

Finally(?): A playlist I think I forgot to post a long time ago and a partial playlist for Andrew & Neil. Hearts & stars to everyone who understands why #8 is on their playlist. ♥

The Upperclassmen
1. Meant to Live (Switchfoot) 2. The Fighter (Gym Class Heroes ft Ryan Tedder) 3. Face down (The Red Jump Suit Apparatus) 4. Sober (Kelly Clarkson) 5. How to Save a Life (The Fray) 6. Castle Walls (TI ft Christina Aguilera) 7. Changed My Mind (E-Dubble) 8. Fix Me (10 Years)

Andrew and Neil
1. 4AM Forever (Lostprophets) 2. Up in the Air (Thirty Seconds to Mars) 3. The Mighty Fall (Fall Out Boy) 4. Flaws (Bastille) 5. Bang (Armchair Cynics) 6. Hello Lover (The Empires) 7. It's Time (Imagine Dragons) 8. Those Who Slay Together, Stay Together in the End (Chiodos)

Edited to add, love it or hate it, Neil's ringtone.


SarSar said...

Oh my God, I love you :) That was awesome :)

Olga Katri said...

Thank you!!!!!!! I'm really sad that there will be no more Neil and Andrew, could never get enough... but thank you for the closure!!! A little sad that Renee and Jean aren't together but... A perfect story and a perfect ending!!!! One (story) of my absolute favorites!!!!!

Olga Katri said...

oh, oh, and what problems does Neil have with two of the players? Is one of them his choice? Does Jean get into trouble for not making Court? so many questions... I'll just stop now...

Marina Elena said...

Thank you! That was great! You have no idea how happy I get every time you tell us that something got a lot longer than it was supposed to. ^^

I also have one last question. I could never figure out if Neil was still wearing handcuffs when the feds brought him to the motel for his 30 minutes with the foxes. Did they take them off at some point after leaving the hospital or was he wearing handcuffs during that whole scene with Andrew? It's just a silly detail really, but I don't know how to imagine it in my head... u_u

nora said...

SarSar : Glad you liked it!

Olga : I think Jean & Renee's workability (fake word alert) depends on how well counseling works out for him. He and Renee can communicate, but he still has some deep-seated issues he has to work through first before he's real boyfriend material. She deserves better than what he is right now.

One of the strikers doesn't think Neil should be starter or vice captain, and the other is a bigot. Not as loud about it as Seth, but in that condescending drawling way that really gets under Neil's skin. Jack, I think? I'd have to look up the file again to find their names.

Marina : Neil's handcuffs were removed en route to the hotel. Sorry, I probably left that detail out. o_o

Marina Elena said...

No problem! Thanks for clearing that up for me! :o)

SJ Himes said...

Seriously impressed with all three books. I felt as raw and damaged as the Foxes were, right up until the middle of the last book. I am equally impressed with the plot weaving and character development, and how you managed to make all three books feel like one book, one story, broken up into three only due to size. I was able to switch from them seamlessly, and that's rare; most writers have trouble keeping that mindset and voice between books in a series. You kept it intact, and that left me confident enough to believe that the sequels wouldn't be a disappointment. I loved all three, but the third one is my favorite. Love the way Neil steps up, becomes a force to be reckoned with and lets go of his fears.

Bravo! (and thank you for the resolutions to the characters, though I am assuming correctly that Aaron was NOT convicted? I can't recall if you answered that.)

laraine said...

I wanted to thank you for not writing a fourth book. I loved your guys in all their irrepressible manifestations of psychosis. I also loved that your long term story arc finished with such blood splashed splendour. So thank you for being brave and walking away. It seems to be so rare these days for authors to know when to do this. I really look forward to whatever you write next.

nora said...

SJ Himes : One day I'll write a proper trilogy that has three beginnings and ends, haha! I'm really glad you enjoyed the series! And in my self-indulgent world, the jury clears Aaron of his charges and he's free to go. :D

laraine : Thank you, I really appreciate that! ♥

Kristin Lee said...

Totally have this playlist downloaded now. Thank you for sharing it! And thank you so much for the amazing series! I have a bit of an obsession, I'm not ashamed to admit! I've read the first two books probably four times each, then re-read them again before the last one came out (read that one twice already *blush*) Such a wonderfully written series. I loved every second and seeing those little future blurbs just makes me love the Foxes even more!

Rebecca said...

Ohh thank you so much for sharing this all! ♥ Man with them ending up on different teams it's really fun to think of how it'd go matching against each other *_*. And I'm so glad you put up more playlists I'm super into that kind of stuff!

If... you don't mind being bugged with more questions... I was just wondering about something small I confused myself over haha. What exactly was the bet on Neil and Andrew (besides Neil's sexuality)? Just because with Matt and that conversation about the car deciding his Renee bet, and with that one day he teased Dan I was convinced he was betting on them hahah. I wasn't expecting him to say he bet against Andrew. What exactly was that bet/their bets then?

nora said...

Kristin Lee : Thank you! I'm really glad you enjoyed the series and the music! :)

Rebecca : Ha, Kevin will give them hell if they don't give him a proper challenge on the court... The first bet was Neil's sexuality, the second was on whether or not Neil and Andrew were an item. Matt might have lost one bet, but Dan lost both, since they can't switch which side they're betting on after the money's in the pot.

Etra Greco said...

I need to thank you from the bottom of my heart for these books. I read a lot, and your story literally took my breath away. It's rare for me to put down a book (my iPad) and just sigh in contentment, without any complain. There isn't a single flaw in the whole story, everything was perfect, and my only problem was that I never wanted it to end. And don't misunderstand me, it ended at the right time, but my brain just couldn't tear itself away from the universe you've created.
My little secret dream is to write for a living, and I wanted to thank you also for all the things you've taught me about pace, character development, subplot, side characters. You were really inspiring.
You got me hooked, I'm officially your fan and I will follow to hell and back.
I hope you're half as proud for this story as I am in awe.

Last but not least, I wanted to add the song that I put on loop for the whole three books, since its lyrics is incredibly fitting for Neil, and the rhythm perfect for the matches. Florence + The Machine - Breath of Life

Lege Artis said...

I love Renee. She is solid, a person you can always count on and she is loyal to the bone. I can totally see her in Peace Corps.
I never doubted Kevin would be first signed to Court. :)
Andrew and Neil... <3

Thank you for this. As much as I love these characters I agree with your decision on fourth book.When I finished TKM, I had this feeling of full satisfaction as a reader.I was so invested in characters and everything I hoped to read, questions I wanted answered..I got it. I literally finished it with a happy sigh. :)

Anonymous said...

Love this summary! I'm glad you're stopping Neil's story with the third book - I think you ended at a really good spot. This is the first time ever I've been so satisfied after reading a series, and I think this is easily my favourite series ever. Seriously. While I would, of course, love more stuff from this 'verse, I'm really looking forward to seeing what other things you come up with in the future in any genre!

Carrie Clay said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Kavita said...

Thank you for these books. I stumbled on to your series and I'm so happy I did. I loved the world you created within the actual world. Your creativity blew my mind, the characters, the college, the sports...truly amazing. It's been a long time since I read something so moving and unique. Thank you for putting it out there. Good luck and I can't wait to read what you come up with next!

Anonymous said...

thank you very much.
I love you for this :>

Margot. D said...


First of all, thank you so much for this. For those books, for your time, and for your willingness to share it with us. Those books were amazing, and they really moved me. I finished them and re-read them and I can't get them out go my head, I am a MESS.
I was like " okay, take a breath, you just have to sit tight until the next one, easy-peasy " .... And then I realized there was no next one.
I crashed like a stone someone would have thrown off a cliff.
I felt like the first three books were just the beginning of the story, you know ?
Like they were the first step, established, to Neil, and Andrew, and all the foxes and Wymack's life. The starting point to a tough but exhilarating future. Gosh, I can't tell you my innate turmoil right now, and I know I can't change your mind on writing until at least book 20 - so I can see Neil evolving as a captain, reaching his dream, his relationship with Andrew that is so heartbreaking, how they'll manage in this tiny but unbreakable family, and hell, even Allison I wanna know about - but I just had to give it a try. T
The hope thing, you see.
Thank you so much again.

Rhea said...

I just finished the king's men and this series has left a little hole in my heart. I've been scouring the Internet for a chance that you would write a fourth book, but unfortunately there was none. Now as I reflect, I realize a fourth book would have been unessecary, but I needed some closure and this post gave me that. A selfish little part of me wants you to make a companion novel in the world of Exy, but I know it cannot be. Thank you for this series it has really been amazing

Igor Reinaldo said...

HI, first of all congrats you're amazing. Second THANK YOU FOR THE AMAZING STORY.
I have no idea why I took so long to read your books (maybe the fact that I couldn't read English until last year) and I'm really happy I did.
I cried so many times over the story because I felt that it was so unfair that he was going to die after creating a bond with his fellow teammates:( but I got happy with the end.
I love all the characters and I wish there was a fourth book, but it's nice how it is.
I just want to thank you so much for giving a really amazing story with such an incredible development <3

Ann-Theres said...

Holy moly!! I am so glad that I came over this blog! I read and re-read and re-re-read the series last week, and I`ve been searching Your name everywhere to find a blog or a FB Group or anything. So glad I found this, cause these books have left me in such a book- funk, that I can hardly function after Reading... I think about the books many times a day, I`m trying to read something else, but it doesnt Catch me.... Thank you so much for this experience! The story has some of the best caracter Development i`ve ever read, and the story is dark, but clearly happy as well. I`m stunned, and in awe over Your writing!!
I fully understand that you will not Write a New story in this series, but I soooo hoped there would be a book from Andrews point of view... I find his thoughts through the story so important. Both while on meds, but also sober.
Well, I am so glad that I will always have these Three books to re-read, they just keep getting better!! Thank you so much!

Unknown said...

These characters will forever stay with me . Thank you

Unknown said...

These characters will forever stay with me . Thank you

PyGe said...

It seems there's nothing to say that hasn't already been said, except - Neil's ringtone. God that broke me, I love that song. Best choice you could've made.

Rizki said...

I just finished all books yesterday and I dont know,I kept recommending it to everyone that I know can speak in english, even until this moment I still feel overwhelmed!
I havent read that much of english books but among all english books I've read, this is the one that really makes me fully truly in love with the whole book. The exy, the foxes, damn, I'm totally in love with the whole thing, even that sick riko, I love to hate and pity him. Nora, thank you thank you, I love the foxes and you, this definitely gonna be one of my all time favorite book! - love fr Indonesia ^_^

Юлия Орлова said...

Нора ты просто великолепна!эти книги не просто истории,это целая жизнь,которую с волнением проживаете. Никогда не смогу забыть их!