5 Things About The Crashers: Bridger Levi

1) Bridger is the most spiritual character in the main cast. Every other character is agnostic, atheist, or no longer practices the religion they grew up with for one reason or another. Bridger's relationship with faith has long been contentious, raised in a working class Jewish community and following his distant father's conservative views despite conflicting with his identity as a bisexual man. Marrying a Protestant woman further complicated this, neither at home in Caitlin's world or disconnected from his. Over time, he abandoned his faith, unable to reconcile his relationship with it.

It wasn't until his cancer diagnosis, his divorce, and gaining precognition that Bridger finally found his way back to spirituality. He doesn't believe in the existence of a concrete capital G god so much that there are fibers that bind all things together, under the surface of everything we see and know. There may not be a divine plan, but there are some things that happen for certain reasons, and some people we're supposed to meet along the way. His ability to see the future, as imperfect and fragmented though his visions may be, is proof enough that some things are simply meant to be.

2) Bridger didn't get arrested until the age of forty-five. Since then, for an entire host of reasons, he's decided to make a habit of it. It just makes sense for the wealthy white guy of the household to get left behind to deal with the cops in case there are unforeseen circumstances while on patrol. He always has bail money, and he'll never say no to an opportunity to irritate the East Brighton City police.

3)  Just like getting arrested, Bridger got his first tattoo at the age of forty-five, as well. אָדָם is the Hebrew form of Adam, which he had placed over his heart to remind him of what truly matters. His relationship with Adam represents his tether to the physical world whenever he's lost, tripping through futures with no context or guide, and is his line back home. This is the first of many personal talismans that Bridger has tattooed on himself over the course of the series, each meant to protect his mind from larger unknown threats as he travels into the future.

4) Bridger and Caitlin never had children. She once got pregnant five years into their marriage but terminated the pregnancy, choosing only to tell him after the fact. While at first he was hurt by her decision not to tell him about her pregnancy until it was already over, he knew when they met during college that she never wanted children. This was her choice, and in the end, he was grateful that she had made it. The idea of becoming his father - cold, cruel, and impossible to please - haunted Bridger for most of his life; never having to find out was a relief.

5) Weekends with Bridger: getting high, putting on Iggy Pop, and making everybody dance with him. His roommates have come to accept it.

Bonus:

6) Babysitting Hannah on a regular basis has made Bridger an honorary Brony, but not by choice. His now encyclopedic knowledge of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comes from Hannah's repeated marathons, from which there is no escape.

5 Things About The Crashers: Kyle Jeong

1) Kyle owns few things. He doesn't get attached to physical possessions, and carefully crafts his living spaces with the same utilitarian severity that he applies to his all-black wardrobe. The only thing he cares about in this world is his collection of original press Joy Division vinyl. His feelings about Ian Curtis are equally intense, so don't ask.

2) Kyle has full sleeve tattoos on both arms, based on the lush nature scenes of Joseon period paintings. As a child he was never much of a fan of the arts, always much more interested in academic pursuits, but his mother Soon-bak was. She owned numerous prints of reproduced Ahn Gyeon and Hyewon works, among extensive examples of French impressionism and Italian futurism. After his parents died when Kyle was six, his aunt kept the prints; while Kyle doesn't have access to them anymore, the tattoos are a reminder of his mother.

3) Amanda Sidhari was the only woman Kyle ever truly loved. He always planned to marry her; if he hadn't gone to prison, he would have proposed. But he did go to prison, and their relationship blew apart. It's easier to blame it on his mistakes, but she had no intention of marrying him, even before prison. He still doesn't know that. Amanda hasn't had the heart to tell him so. She doesn't know if it matters anymore.

4) Douggie is Kyle's blind spot in every conceivable way. After his parents died, his aunt and uncle tasked him with stepping up to look after his younger cousin, and ever since Douggie has been his number one priority. But because Douggie knows Kyle will always be there to bail him out, whether it's a fight or a bad loan or a night in jail, Douggie's never had to take care of himself. Even after everything that's happened, Kyle will always feel responsible for him. The problem is people like Ricky Nang and Raymond Gho know this, and this will eventually be used against Kyle in a big way.

5) While there are a wide range of unique powers seen across The Crashers universe, Kyle's invulnerability is possessed by another character. This character appears in every book but isn't revealed to be powered until the fifth installment. Their mirrored abilities will eventually draw Kyle and this character together in strange, potentially dangerous ways.

Bonus:

6) Kyle will never admit it in public, but the collected works J.R.R. Tolkien is his jam of jams. Once Clara discovers this, the fandom wars begin.

5 Things About The Crashers: Norah Aroyan

1) Norah is prodigal daughter of her upper class family, hailing from a prominent and tightly-knit Armenian community. While her family didn't show off their wealth quite as extravagantly as their neighbors, hers was a white picket fence life with private schools, country club memberships, and a new car in the driveway every year. Norah's education was paid for, her wedding was paid for, and even her first home with her husband Chris was paid for in-part by her parents.

While everyone else in the book grew up on the poverty line in their respective ethnically-delineated neighborhoods, or managed to make it into the middle class after years of hardship, Norah was set for life. This is why she comes out of it so hardened when her life finally does fall apart. Money equates to falseness, and falseness is to be avoided at all costs. She doesn't miss having money, but she despise those who still do. Maybe this isn't so healthy, and maybe this lacks some self-reflection on her own privileges, but that's the world view she begins with at the start of the series.

2) Norah graduated with honors with a double major in English and creative writing. Since Hannah was born, all of that useful information has largely been replaced by the subtle nuances of My Little Pony canon and the full Pixar filmography. When dealing with children, this information comes in handy, but, to her chagrin, it's not usually a great way to lead off at a party. At least Adam, with his Irish horde of nieces, nephews, and preschool-age second cousins, understands this plight.

3) Don't ask Norah about Jem and The Holograms. You'll regret this. Drunk Norah won't let an opportunity to explain her feelings on Kimber and Stormer's relationship pass her by. Also: under her bed, there's a shoebox full of pictures of Young Norah in various Jem Halloween costumes. Drunk Norah will tell you all about this, as well.

4) Norah will be the first among the cast to have a child after her powers are activated. Already a single mother to a non-powered kid, the idea of having another, undoubtedly powerful child will be a serious and terrifying issue for her to grapple with later in the series. The nature of the father's powers will further complicate this for her, since there's no telling what abilities their children will end up having amid such a chaotic genetic mix.

5) While the powers of the rest of the cast are largely self-contained and self-regulating (Clara is fast, Adam is strong, Bridger sees the future, and Kyle can't be hurt), Norah's are constantly evolving. What began as the power to manipulate gravity has slowly developed into the ability to generate force fields, control electromagnetic radiation, and pass through solid objects by changing her own density. No one really understands why she has these powers. Kyle, Clara, Adam, and Bridger's abilities are natural extensions of their personalities, skill sets, or other factors, and it doesn't make a great deal of sense to see a school teacher tap into the base forces of the universe.

However, as she learns to control her powers over the course of seven books, this dark horse proves to play an important role in a much larger story.

Bonus:

6) Norah has encyclopedic knowledge of Coen Brothers movies. This is much better to lead off to parties with.

5 Things About The Crashers: Clara Reyes

1) Clara was raised by women, growing up in a little house with her mother Doreen and her Abuelita. Her father Lawrence died when Clara was four. Doreen was an ER nurse who went back to school to become a surgical technician. Her Abuelita worked with their church and volunteered at local soup kitchens. There were no men in Clara's life until her mother started dating a coworker named Ben when Clara was thirteen. The Uncle Ben jokes started very quickly thereafter, although he has yet to die in order to advance Clara's heroic origin story.

2) Clara frequently rattles off quips about her intellect, the first to remind others that she's smarter than they are. This isn't just for show, however, as she possesses a genius-level IQ of 145. She's also 19, and hasn't quite come to grips with the fact that bragging about how smart you are doesn't endear people to you.

3) Clara has few real hobbies. Her entire academic career was consumed by advanced classes, summer math camps, and after-school science programs. If it didn't win her a trophy or a scholarship, it wasn't worth doing. When she discovered women's flat-track roller derby during a summer abroad in Germany, Clara fell in love with the sport. She became the jammer of the Bear City Brawlers under the derby name Snarl Sagan. She's very proud of that pun.

4) Clara is an amateur cosplayer. There are time-worn and much-beloved Spock costumes in her closet that she and her mother began making for San Diego Comic Con, including a genderswap version based off of Uhura's costume. She still takes them out for conventions whenever the opportunity presents itself.

5) Clara has a collection of sketchpads full of costume designs that she and Hannah have come up with for the rest of the cast. Nobody else is nearly as excited about this as Clara and Hannah are.

Bonus:

6) Clara refuses to speak of JJ Abrams or his Star Trek movies. It didn't happen. She'd rather talk about Star Trek 5.

5 Things About The Crashers: Adam Harlow

My inbox is usually a very stupid place, where people try to guilt me into either buying or podcasting about their junk. (Spoiler: I don't.) Recently I received this strange, somewhat emotionally exploitative email from Tablo. I started an account last year sometime just to see what was up and found it didn't really suit my writing/publishing needs. However, this email from them made me laugh:

From: Your Future Book!

To: Magen Cubed

Subject: Magen, I Miss You!

My Dearest Author,

It's been a while since I saw you, but I'm sure you didn't forget about me. (Let me down gently, please.)

I was hoping you might just be stuck for inspiration, so I put together a little prompt to get your words flowing again.

Write 10 things that readers will never know about my main character. These will bleed into the story and provide richness, even though you don't share the detail.

I get that it's all in good fun, but it's a bit silly to receive an email from a presumed abandoned novel. Especially when the abandoned novel in question has been finished and picked up by Booktrope, and I'm currently writing its sequel. That's a weird level of emotional manipulation attempted by a company that wants you to post your episodic genre fiction serial on their site. I don't know. Marketing, man.

That said, the prompt gave me the itch to write about The Crashers. Even though, you know, you're going to be able to read the book and stuff. (Whatever). But I want to change it up slightly. So for the next five Mondays, I will post five things about each of the main characters that don't appear in the first book (but may appear later on) for your eyeballs to gaze upon and enjoy.

5 Things About The Crashers: Adam Harlow

1) Adam doesn't own much in the way of physically-stored music. After joining the army and moving around three times since coming back from Afghanistan, buying music wasn't a priority. Except for his collection of old Motown vinyl he's amassed through trips to flea markets and second-hand stores across East Brighton City. He's very proud of that, without a drop of irony.

2) Adam doesn't own many books, either. His family never encouraged academic pursuits, especially not after his older brother Jamie refused to take over their father's car repair shop and went to college instead. It was better for everybody to push Adam toward the shop by taking college off the table, driving home his "average at best" test scores and grades. He only has a few art books, some books on Motown artists and history, a few fiction novels, and a well-worn copy of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass that he's owned since high school. This particular book, and a specific, well-annotated passage, bears a lot of significance in the next book, The Crashers: Koreatown.

3) Adam is Irish Catholic and the youngest of five children. While his parents weren't thinking about the religious significance at the time, Adam's name actually comes from the Hebrew noun ha adamah, meaning "the ground" or "earth." This means very little to Adam in the first book, but in Koreatown eventually plays an important part of his storyline and his relationship with Bridger, as well.

4) Adam doesn't dance. He swears he can't do it, even though Clara has well-documented evidence to suggest otherwise. He also swears he can't cook very well, even though he cooks most of the meals for the household every day. He swears he can't do a lot of things that he can, because he struggles with his feelings of inadequacy. Of being smaller, frailer, less competent than he actually is. That's his anxiety talking. Some days it talks louder than others.

5) Adam has never been to a gay bar. That seems  strange to people. Was he afraid? Was he in the closet? Didn't he want to feel that he was safe and connected within a community? Adam always just shrugs when asked.

Bonus:

6) Adam would like to have children one day, but is scared to bring it up. When it comes to family, whether being in one or starting one of his own, his anxiety controls that particular conversation. For now he's content to babysit Hannah most nights.