Monday, March 28, 2016

"No One Knows"

New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes dark psychological thrillers starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter.

Ellison applied the Page 69 Test to her first standalone novel, the newly released No One Knows, and reported the following:
From page 69:


Twenty-One Years Ago

Aubrey is allowed one toy. She has no idea which to choose—how to choose. They are all dear to her. And they will all be gone, just like the rest of her world. The teddy bear will be the best; he works as an extra pillow. She sleeps with him at night, her head resting on his, her curly hair mimicking his own curly fur. Yes, the bear is the right choice. Especially if there is no bed, no pillows, wherever she is going.

She looks to the dark-haired woman sent from the bad place, who is tapping her foot in impatience. She wants to ask if she may have permission to take two, but she is afraid. She reaches for Bear, careful not to meet the inquisitive button eyes of the rest of her brood. She knows they feel she is abandoning them. She understands their concern completely.

“All set?”

Aubrey looks at the walls of her room, painted a rosy pink. There is a picture of her parents next to her bed. She is too frightened to ask if she may take it with her, stow it inside her bag, her tiny little bag with three changes of clothes and one worn bear. When the woman glances away, she shoves the frame under Bear, trusting him to protect her secret.

“Aubrey? You hear me?”


“Are you all set?”

She nods. What other choice does she have?

“Good girl.”

The dark-haired woman stops at McDonald’s, buys Aubrey a Happy Meal. The car smells of fake evergreen and grease and cigarettes, and Aubrey can barely choke down the sandwich and fries. She leaves the small movie cowboy in the paper box. The woman said only one toy.
I love taking this “test”. I never know how the book is going to be formatted and printed, so page 69 could be completely innocuous, or devastating, it could have a murder, or a phone call. But in No One Knows, page 69 is a seminal chapter start. It is one of the few chapters that looks back at a young Aubrey, helping explain the woman she has become. It is written in present tense from Aubrey’s point of view. And it is truly devastating. Her life has just been upended. She has just lost her parents, is now an orphan. This scene starts with the woman from Department of Children Services coming to take young Aubrey to a foster home. It shows a young child who has been forced to become an adult overnight. It absolutely gutted me to write, to imagine what she must be going through. Still waters run deep, right?
Visit J.T. Ellison's website, or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

The Page 69 Test: Edge of Black.

The Page 69 Test: When Shadows Fall.

My Book, The Movie: When Shadows Fall.

My Book, The Movie: What Lies Behind.

The Page 69 Test: What Lies Behind.

Writers Read: J. T. Ellison.

--Marshal Zeringue