Sunday, January 30, 2011

"Managing Death"

Trent Jamieson lives in Brisbane, Australia. A multiple Aurealis Award winner for short fiction, he has taught short story writing at the Queensland University of Technology, and Clarion South Writer's Workshop. Death Most Definite, Book One of the Death Works Series, was published by Orbit Books in September 2010. Book Two, Managing Death, was released in January 2011, and Book Three, The Business of Death, is due for publication in September 2011. He has just sold a two book series of Steampunkish novels to Angry Robot Books, the first of which, Roil, is due for publication in September 2011.

Jamieson applied the Page 69 Test to Managing Death and reported the following:
Page 69:
He fires again. The window shatters this time, glass going everywhere. The bullet thwacks against the wall behind me. Alarms sound throughout the building and the One Tree's creaking intensifies to a dull roar now there's no glass to block it out. Hell has entered the building.

My arm tingles then burns. Wal extrudes from my flesh. He pulls the most impressive double-take I have ever seen, his wings fluttering madly.

"What the hell?"

'Gun!' I shout. "Assassination attempt!"

"Right, then. Shouldn't you be running the other way?"

"Shut up and help!" I yell.

I charge towards the gunman, the chair gripped in my hands as though it's some sort of medieval weapon. Here's a guy with a pistol, and me with something that I bought from IKEA. My boots crunch over glass, a big chunk of which slides through the side of my shoe and into my foot. It should hurt more, and it will, I'm sure, but right now all it does is make me angry.

I'm so pleased this is my page 69, though it pretty much represents the pace of the book, and, hopefully, my sense of humour.

You get to see a bit of the magic of the world. Wal is a tattoo of a cherub that becomes real the moment Steve enters the Underworld. But, with the reference to IKEA there's a grounding in the real world, too. That reference to medieval weapons comes into play much later in the book, and while it's more than likely to be missed, amused me at the time.
This scene is the first major attempt on my protagonist Steven de Selby's life in the book. But the action comes thick and fast after this.

Steve's the sort of person more likely to run at danger (when he isn't tripping over it) and yet, he also tends to put off anything that might be difficult until the last moment (something I do, myself, far too often). It's a tendency that he's going to rue by the end of the book.

I wrote this scene fairly early in the book, and it's always been a favourite. Gun shots, IKEA furniture and a sardonic cherub, it still makes me smile. My Death Works books are dark romantic thrillers about Death, but they're supposed to be funny as well. After all you don't want your reaping to be too grim.
Learn more about the book and author at Trent Jamieson's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue