Sunday, March 11, 2007

"Shotgun Opera"

Victor Gischler is the author of four novels. Gun Monkeys was nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best first novel. He followed up with two satirical crime novels The Pistol Poets and Suicide Squeeze.

His latest novel is Shotgun Opera, to which applied the "page 69 test" and then reported the following:
The infamous page 69 test. What do you do if there isn’t quite so much to work with? Here’s the total of what you’ll find on page 69 of my novel Shotgun Opera:

Part Two
Obligations of Flesh and Blood

That’s the whole page. As luck would have it, page 69 happens to strike at the beginning of a new section. I try to be sensitive to the ebbs and flows of the story I’m telling, so I find it natural to break my novels into sections. I’ve done this with three out of four of my published novels, and I’ve also done it with my forthcoming novel. It’s just how the story breaks up in my head, I guess.

So here I am, with the opportunity to submit my work to the page 69 test, and the fated page is a blasted section heading. Huh.

This doesn’t tell us too much does it? You can’t get a handle on the characters really. Page 69 tells us little of the former hired gun who’s been hiding from his old life in the Oklahoma wilderness for forty years. We don’t get a sneak peek at the deadly trio of sisters who bring such a savage, quirky element to the story. Nothing about the hapless college kid who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But maybe we do get a little hint of the theme, at least one of the themes so prevalent throughout the novel. Obligation. Seldom are we allowed to choose our own obligations, but often we are tied to them by blood. Shotgun Opera is very much a story of obligation.

And blood.
Read an excerpt from Shotgun Opera.

Check out Victor Gischler's Blogpocalypse to learn more about Shotgun Opera and his other books and stories.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Series.

--Marshal Zeringue