Thursday, October 15, 2015

"The Big Chili"

Julia Buckley is the author of the Undercover Dish Mysteries, the Teddy Thurber Mysteries, and the Madeline Mann Mysteries. She’s a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Romance Writers of America, as well as the Chicago Writers Association. Buckley has taught high school English for over twenty years.

Buckley applied the Page 69 Test to her latest novel, The Big Chili, and reported the following:
From page 69:
I gave him a crushing hug, waved again to Jenny, and left. Jenny and I, to my disappointment, had not solved my dilemma. At least it had distracted her from commenting on my love life or asking about my past with Angelo, and her idea of sending a personal e-mail to Jay Parker was oddly appealing.

As I drove home I saw flashing red and blue lights in my rearview mirror; heart beating rapidly, I began to pull over, but the car flew past me. I sat for a moment, recovering. The thought of meeting with the police, in that instant, had been terrifying. For a split second I had feared they suspected me and were coming to take me away.

I sighed and pulled back into traffic.
Page 69 of The Big Chili is just a half page, the end of a chapter, so it might seem to have no recognizable content. Lilah has just come from an evening with her best friend Jenny Braidwell and Jenny’s adorable nephew Henry (that’s who Lilah is hugging in the first sentence).

Lilah has told a lie to the police for what she considers a good and noble reason; still, she feels guilty, and she had hoped that she and Jenny could find a way to alleviate her guilt. She leaves Jenny’s feeling no better or wiser, and that’s why police lights frighten her so much. Lilah has a deeply-rooted fear of authority.

In looking back at the book, I already see some punctuation that I would do differently, and you might note that I am one of that last bastion of writers who still find meaning and dignity in the semi-colon.
Learn more about the book and author at Julia Buckley's website and her blog, Mysterious Musings.

My Book, The Movie: The Big Chili.

--Marshal Zeringue