He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, One True Sentence, and reported the following:
It’s my understanding the Page 69 Test is cousin to a similar test that grew out of an assertion by Ford Madox Ford that one could assess or try to judge the reading value of a book by opening to its 99th page, reading what was there and seeing if one was pulled in.Learn more about the author and his work at Craig McDonald's website and blog.
Appropriately enough, on page 69 of my new novel, One True Sentence, Ford Madox Ford is actually name-checked. Ford is but one of several historical literary figures who people my new historical thriller set in 1924 Paris.
The novel centers on the murders of literary magazine editors/publishers along both banks of the Seine during one week of February. Gertrude Stein, an unabashed fan of crime fiction, assembles a group of Paris-based mystery and crime writers in an attempt to stop the killings. Among them is my series character, Hector Lassiter, and his friend, the still relatively unknown and little-published Ernest Hemingway.
One True Sentence was conceived to be a kind of re-imagination of Hemingway’s memoir, A Moveable Feast, as an erotic crime fiction thriller. One of the other authors Stein recruits is the fetching and mysterious writer Brinke Devlin, a woman who will leave an indelible mark on Hector. Brinke is also the woman who moves Hector, then a struggling young writer and lone wolf, away from the path of being a literary novelist and into the field of writing crime fiction novels.
The novels endeavor to be as driven by character as they are — as a result of genre expectations — driven by plot.
Page 69 of the book finds Hector jousting with a French inspector who is displeased with the notion of expatriate mystery writers playing cop around real crimes. The inspector says of Hector:
“From your stories, I can see you have an astute eye for human weakness and motivation…of the low strong drives that can unbalance people.”
The action then shifts to the Hemingway’s apartment above a sawmill, where Hector and Brinke — still in the earliest phases of a passionate and very physical love affair — find themselves unsettled by the domestic life of Hem and wife Hadley and their newborn son, Jack.
That tension between the desire for family and the hedonistic spin of Parisian (or simply single) life is also a key undercurrent of this novel and the one intended to follow.
Read "The Story Behind the Story: One True Sentence, by Craig McDonald" at The Rap Sheet.
Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.