What's the Deal with Five Points?
I get a lot of questions about Five Points, the fictional blog/website that exists in many of my books. What the heck is it? Is it just some convenient device that I've created to use in all my books? Is it inspired by any real-life sites? Do you have to read all the books in this series? Is it even a series?
First, the Five Points books are not really a series. The books are loosely connected, and some of the characters show up in multiple books, but I believe each novel can be read as a standalone. Yes, it is sort of a convenient device for me as a writer, because, as a reader, I like to revisit my characters. It's cool that I can offhandedly mention in a book that Jemma and Gabe are getting married, or have Jordan and Reed visit Nick and Colin's new house in California. It feels like checking in with old friends and it fills me with warm, fuzzy feelings.
It was originally inspired by an ESPN affiliate, Grantland, which has since been shut down. The original creators now run The Ringer. Also, I can't help but be inspired by the behemoth that Buzzfeed has become.
Like so much of media in the internet age, the website Five Points has changed and evolved with books I've written. The site is initially mentioned in Summer Attractions, as the employer of journalist Jemma Keane, as well as her boss, Nick Wheeler.
In it's first iteration, Five Points is a sports-based site, but they don't just post recaps and scores of sporting events, they also delve into the background and story of the event and its participants. Think more Moneyball than a live baseball game on ESPN.
When Jemma is in Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics, she ends up writing a very quintessential Five Points story--the story of Olympic swimmer Kimber Holloway and her controlling, gold medal winning mother. The story changes Kimber's life, but it also changes Jemma's life. She gets a promotion and becomes a full-time reporter for the site, not just Nick's assistant.
Nick Wheeler is another major player at Five Points. He was one of the first journalists that the owner Duncan Snyder, hired, and after a few years, he's the top writer for the site. His status and also his sexuality are why Duncan sends him to Miami to interview top NFL football player Colin O'Connor, who wants to reveal his bisexuality to the world.
In The Rainbow Clause, Five Points publishes the article, and also gets the exclusive scoop when Nick and Colin start dating. At the end of the book, he's freelancing for other media outlets, but when the site begins to evolve and change, he's promoted to chief operations officer.
Like other popular sites like Buzzfeed, Five Points has started to branch out to more pop culture and lifestyle topics. After their successful run on Kitchen Wars, the reality TV show, Landon Patton and Quentin Maxwell are hired to host a cooking show for the site. Called Dream Team, it's the first produced, filmed show for the site, and helps boost Five Points' culinary credibility.
By the time Reed Ryan is hired to be the culinary director for the food side of Five Points, that part of the site has been growing exponentially. Landon and Quen have made a huge success out of Dream Team, and are about to start filming their second season. Reed's story, and the story of his ex-boyfriend, Jordan Christensen, who also works for Five Points, is featured inWrapped with Love.
Five Points even connects to my new Kitchen Gods series, in the first book: Bite Me. Reed features again, but this time he's Evan's boss, and Reed and Evan are looking for a great pastry chef to star in a serious pastry show for the site. They find Miles Costa, and he agrees to leave a prestigious restaurant to work at Five Points. But like all things, it's never that simple.
But Five Points isn't just about food shows. They're still primarily a sports-based site, and Nick and his site also crop up again in Luck isn't a Lady, the last book in the Portland Pioneers series.