On page 69, the two most important characters in the book have interior moments, as one chapter ends and another begins. Nicholas Moss, a maverick entrepreneur, has just given a speech about personal responsibility at yet another high-ticket fundraiser and is rushing to the place he’d much prefer to be — sitting high in the canopy of a redwood tree on the Northern California Coast.Check out Leslie Schnur's website and read an excerpt from Late Night Talking.
He looked out over the Pacific and breathed in deeply, his chest expanding with the cool, clean ocean air. He let it out and felt empty. Something was missing. He knew what it was, but he didn’t want to be dopey or sentimental. For crying out loud, he’d just said what he had to say at the dinner, he was buying a crack little radio station, his companies were flourishing, he had his friends, and here he was sitting in his favorite tree, his face against the wind.
But he had nobody to share it with…
And the new chapter, "The House on Allston Way," begins, this one from the point of view of my protagonist, Jeannie Sterling, host of the late-night talk show on rudeness, “Sterling Behavior”, whose surprise visit from her father brings up memories of childhood and her mother, who died many years before.
She stops a moment to look at the family photos on her wall, the ones she passes ten times a day and never really notices. And she is transported back in time to the difficult family life she had growing up in a commune in Berkeley in the 70’s.
The characters — their longings, their desires, their failings and failures — are what drive my book, and page 69 illustrates that. They tend to be a complicated, somewhat neurotic crew, with complex relationships and histories.
What page 69 doesn’t have is any dialogue, and my characters do talk … a lot. Nor does it reflect the humor of the novel, nor the wit of Jeannie’s late night talk radio show and the warmth of her friendship with her on-air cohort and best friend, Luce. This is a romantic comedy, for god’s sake! Will Jeannie make peace with her Dad? Will she find love? Will Moss find someone to share his tree-climbing life? The answers are probably evident, but for how’s and who’s, you’ll need to read the book!
Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.