Hackers – HitList excerpt


First a warning: this week I chose not to do a story–ripe as it was with all sorts of possibilities–political and otherwise. Instead, I chose cheated and am posting an excerpt from my book HitList, a YA Novel about a teenage girl who writes a computer virus to get revenge on cyberbullies. I think this might be the first excerpt I’ve shared. Hope you enjoy. Interestingly, it was written well before Russian hackers made the daily headlines. Excuse the indulgence. Hope you enjoy….

Would anyone connect it to me?

Viruses were written by nerdy, disaffected teenage boys–guys who couldn’t get laid. Not teenage girls who topped of the honor roll. Not girls who had a shot at a full ride scholarship at MIT. Hackers smoked cigarettes in rooms lit by analog monitors, plotting to take down websites that ended in .gov. Cyber-criminals lived a half a world away, concocting Russian phishing scams. Not people like me; they had no reason to suspect me.

As for Eli . . .  Well, he was a strange character and there was no telling exactly why he thought he had me. He had no proof about the virus, not on my phone. Did he? No one else suspected me, as far as I could tell. I just needed to keep it that way.

I peeked out the blinds to see if Dad’s car was back.

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  1. Excellent and engaging piece. I think that if you can take a snippet out of context and have it hold up on its own, this is a good indicator that your novel is a polished work. I recommend anyone who likes this prompt pick up a copy. HitList is a fantastic book and deserves to be read.

    1. Very sweet of you to say. My mother thinks so too. And so did my agent. But no one else!

      1. Except Kirkus, you mean. “The story scores high marks for its taut pacing and for Rawson’s pitch-perfect ear for teenage talk. It also clarifies the nuanced nature of cyberbullying, in which distinct definitions of perpetrators and victims are difficult to come by.”

  2. Excellent excerpt. An intriguing character and setup and very topical. Hope it brings a few more readers to your novel – I know how disheartening it can be sometimes! Stick with it.

  3. Love the language here – very true, real feeling – what a strong premise! Just checked the premise on Amazon – really original idea, sounds like a thrill ride. And this is the first excerpt you’ve shared on here? You should have been shouting this from the virtual rooftops. Strong snippet giving a good flavour of the rest of the the book

    1. Very kind of you! This book has been a roller coaster ride in every way. I went from multiple agent offers to winding up hearing “Great writing but we’re already doing a cyberbullying book” from all the big presses. I felt the message was so important I wanted to get it out anyway. But I really suck at shouting from the rooftops…It’s all I can do not to take this post down! But your encouragement means a lot.

      1. Self promotion is the toughest bit, I think. We all want to be home, creating our next world, getting to know out characters and finding where they’ll lead us. The last thing we want is to have to major in online marketing in order to make a success of things. I posted a link to Iain’s book the other week – if you were happy for me to do the same, it would be a pleasure to. I only have 1200 followers, so it may not help one jot, but anything I can do … 🙂

      2. Oh wow, that’s very kind of you! I ‘d be glad to return the favor. Do you have anything you’d like to promote? Really don’t feel like you have to….

      3. Really, my pleasure entirely! It’s lovely to be able to share someone’s work. And thank you for the offer to reciprocate, but I’ve nothing out at the moment – potentially a YA novel I might put on Swoonreads, but it needs another read through first. If you’re happy to share it, I will give you details in the future, though. Thank you.
        Would you be happy for me to share and extract on my blog? Only a snippet of what’s already on Amazon? And links of course. Let me know what you’d like. And a real pleasure 🙂

      4. I’ve never heard of Swoonreads–what a wonderful concept. Of course I’d be glad to share when you’re ready! Looking forward to hearing more what your book is about 🙂

        Thank you for your generous offer. Do you need me to send you anything? Found it on UK amazon at https://www.amazon.co.uk/HitList-k-rawson/dp/0692461035/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485097088&sr=1-6&keywords=HitList

      5. Apparently Swoonreads was just YA romance to begin with, now open to all genres. I like the idea of it because it relise on the readers steering the publisher towards something they like – not the publisher deciding what should be read.
        Thanks for the Amazon UK link. The only problem I have is I (quite rightly) can’t copy and paste direct from the teaser pages on Amazon. I could type the first few paragraphs out myself though. I’ll post something this week 🙂

      6. Thanks so much. Related to swoonreads have you looked at amazon scout? At the time I pub’d they didn’t do YA but now they do. Is your book romance?

        Thanks again for everything.

      7. Thanks, Karen, no I’ve not heard of scout – I’ll look into it. My book is a time travel story, with a female lead and a strong romantic relationship at the heart. Not sure if that makes it romance, fantasy or romantic fantasy (fantasy romance? 🙂 )
        And my absolute pleasure 🙂

      8. Love a time travel romance. Sounds swoonworthy to me!

      9. Ah, thanks so much. Maybe one day folk will read it 🙂

  4. lillmcgill

    You are so clever, Karen! I am so proud of you.

  5. A lot of common hacking code is mined from sites on the dark web. It would be interesting to see if your protagonist wrote her virus independently, or had formed a loose association with other hackers to modify existing code.

    1. Ha, you can read the book and find out 😉

      Kidding… She wrote it. As a developer myself, it’s frightening to know how vulnerable we can be, and how simple it is to do a lot of damage.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. Dear Karen,

    Don’t give up. It took my agent three years to sell my first novel. Very engaging excerpt. It makes me want to read it. And putting an excerpt in your blog is never cheating in my book. As long as you’ve posted the photo prompt it’s all Kosher. 😉



    1. Haha! Perfect 🙂 Thanks for your kind words and encouragement!

  7. What a wonderful excerpt! This sounds like a novel well worth reading. Kudos!

  8. […] What pegman saw will have already discovered the talented writer and fellow Friday Fictioneer K. Rawson‘s stunning short fiction, but did you also know that she’s written a novel for young […]

    1. Lynn, thanks so much for the shout out! I love your writing and I’m honored by your kind post.

  9. K! This is a wonderful excerpt and not cheating at all. Thanks for sharing it with us. Toot your own horn – OFTEN!

  10. What a wonderful excerpt. I would love to read the full novel. Wish you the very best.

    1. Thanks Neel, very kind of you!

  11. well the snippet from your book was SO interesting….
    nice take on the prompt

    1. Thanks for reading 🙂

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