Tate and his father don’t exactly get along. As Tate sees it, his father has unreasonably high expectations for Tate to be the best—at everything. Tate finally learns what he’s being prepared for when he steals one of his dad’s odd tech inventions and mercenaries ambush his school, killing his father and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans.
All Tate knows—like how to make weapons out of oranges and lighter fluid—may not be enough to save him as he’s plunged into a secret interspecies conflict that’s been going on for centuries. Aided only by his girlfriend and his estranged mother, with powerful enemies closing in on all sides, Tate races to puzzle out the secret behind his father’s invention and why so many are willing to kill for it.
Walter Jury talks about the main character’s intense relationship with his father:
SCAN, at its core, is the coming of age story for Tate Archer. Tate’s journey is heavily influenced by the pressures, lessons and knowledge passed down from his father, Fred. When we were writing the story, the influence of parents on their children and the extent to which discipline affects a child weighed on how Tate's coming of age would play out.
Fred was extremely hard on Tate—he really drove him hard to pull the best out of him in every aspect of his childhood. In addition to previously discussing radio host Colin Cowherd’s influence on the story, two short anecdotes influenced us as writers when we were writing this story:
A) The great football family, the Mannings, have had three members chosen first in the NFL Draft: father Archie Manning and his two sons, Peyton & Eli. When asked what Archie did to raise such wunderkind children, Archie responded (to paraphrase), "I just wanted them to finish what they started."
B) The autobiography of Bo Jackson with Dick Schaap, BO KNOWS BO, has a small section about why Bo Jackson strived to become a professional athlete. Bo said he grew up with a number of other athletes who were every bit as talented as himself, but he had to make it out of their town because the lack of a father's influence and discipline drove him to find a proxy for that support system he never had.
I called upon these thoughts as well as my own upbringing to create a father-son dynamic that asked the question, "How much discipline is too much?" When is a father too tough on his child and when does it become counterproductive to put children through such rigorous hurdles that they fail to enjoy their youth?
While these questions were being posed as metaphors during Tate's journey, it was important to us to remember that Tate felt loved by his father and that the events that occur in the book are explosively revealing. They bring out the best of Tate and hopefully our readers will see both sides of the coin.
About co-authors Walter Jury and Sarah Fine:
Walter Jury was born in London and has a background in the film industry. He is a big enthusiast of Jamba Juice’s Protein Berry Workout smoothie, only with soy, never whey. Sarah Fine was born on the West Coast, raised in the Midwest, and is now firmly entrenched on the East Coast, where she lives with her husband and two children. She is the author of several young adult books, and when she's not writing, she’s working as a child psychologist.