On page 69, three-year-old Tyler Colten observes an ultrasound image of the unborn baby sister he ardently does not wish to have.Learn more about The First Stone at the publisher's website, and see how "the page 99 test" served the novel.
Tyler frowned at the grainy swirl on the monitor. “Looks like icky soup.”
“Let me help.”
My obstetrician, Dr. Carla Piacenza, slowly traced the fetal contours with the tip of a long, blunt finger.
“There’s the head, the tummy, and a foot. And look. The baby’s sucking its thumb.”
“That,” Tyler said, leveling an accusatory finger, “is not a baby brother. No way.”
My books often examine what happens when evil invades ordinary lives. Before things begin to unravel, Emma Colten’s biggest worries are fairly typical. Is she a good enough mother? How will her son accept the new baby? Is her husband too interested in an attractive young female resident? How will their expanding family fit in the tiny New York City apartment the hospital provides?
In crisis, perspective shifts. Resilience is tested, and the measure of the character’s core strength is revealed. Emma copes through the considerable force of her intelligence, humor and determination, but she’s also humanized by insecurity and self-doubt. In writing the book, I grew to know and like her more and more. Like a dear friend who’s moved far away, I miss having Emma in my life.
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