Monday, August 17, 2009

"A Bad Day for Sorry"

Sophie Littlefield grew up in rural Missouri. Like her heroine, she enjoys quilting and sewing. She lives with her husband and two teenage children near San Francisco, California.

She applied the “Page 69 Test” to her new novel, A Bad Day for Sorry, and reported the following:
So much of my book has to do with the way women see themselves and each other – and with the way middle age can bring a determination to be true to oneself. I have this theory that self-acceptance just naturally leads to un-judgemental-ism, and I used my character, Stella Hardesty, as a vehicle to get that across.

Stella spent most of her first fifty years towing the line. She was a good housewife, a helpful neighbor, and she worked hard to play nice and do what society expected of her – even when that meant sublimating her own opinions and desires, and even when that meant keeping quiet about her husband’s physical and verbal abuse.

One day she kills the son of a bitch. This act, which goes unpunished by the law, unleashes a whole unstoppable torrent of won’t-back-down. With nothing left to lose, Stella sheds her timidity like a worn-out apron and never looks back.

Now she’s found herself unexpectedly in a position to help other women deal with their own abusers. She sets up a sideline business of beating, threatening, and intimidating these men until they’re “rehabilitated.” Her reputation spreads by word of mouth and she soon has all the clients she can handle. In dealing with these women, who come from every walk of life, Stella has to examine all the little judgments she’s been carrying around about other women – judgments that she’s picked up from half a century of societal pressure and media input and small-town gossip-mongering.

On page 69, she’s discovered that her young client, Chrissy Shaw, has not been entirely forthcoming about her personal life. Chrissy has failed to mention that she’s been seeing – in addition to several other suitors - an ex who may or may not be a suspect in the kidnapping of her baby.

Page 69:

“You’ve been seeing Pitt,” Stella said.

Chrissy shrugged. “Not regular or anything. Just, you know, sometimes.”

Stella heaved a sigh. “You know, back when you first came to talk to me, I told you that I had to know everything. Remember? Don’t leave anything out, I told you, because every detail counts, even the ones that might not seem important at the time. Well, I surely wish I wasn’t only finding out about Pitt now.”

“I’m sorry,” Chrissy said, staring down at her hands. “It’s just…I didn’t want you to think I was…”

She swallowed and Stella could see her eyelashes fluttering.

“…a slut,” she finished in a whisper.

Stella’s annoyance shrank up to see the girl so remorseful. “Oh, wait, I’m not trying to judge here. I don’t think that, I really don’t. Only it’s been suggested that, uh, Pitt was the one who hurt you.”

“Pitt?” The tremulous note in Chrissy’s voice gave way to a snort of disbelief. “Pitt ain’t but five foot three on a good day and a hunnert twenty. ‘Sides, he wouldn’t never hurt me. He’s crazy about me. We’d prob’ly still be married if I hadn’t taken up with his boss.”
Read an excerpt from A Bad Day for Sorry and watch the video trailer.

Learn more about the book and author at Sophie Littlefield's website and blog.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue