Monday, April 18, 2016

"A Drop of Night"

Stefan Bachmann is the author of the internationally bestselling novel The Peculiar and its acclaimed sequel, The Whatnot. He was born in Colorado, spent most of his childhood in Switzerland, and is now studying modern music at the Zürich University of the Arts. When he’s not writing, he can be found traveling to someplace chilly, or holed up beneath his college in the dimly lit labyrinth of practice rooms, which may have inspired the subterranean scenes in his new novel, A Drop of Night.

Bachmann applied the Page 69 Test to A Drop of Night and reported the following:
From page 69:
Dorf clears his throat. "Your parents have all been informed of your safe arrival. We will be keeping them updated and will have a complete folder prepared and sent to them before your return. Once the media embargo is over, they'll know as much as everyone. I think they'll be quite pleased with what you are capable of."

I hate how he talks. Like we're not even real people. Like we're a row of dumbbells with painted faces, supposed to nod and smile at his performance.

"The palace," Will says He's fiddling with the silverware, straightening it on the starched linen napkin. "It must have taken decades to build. Versailles took fifty years. How could they have kept something so large a secret?"

Dorf smiles. "They couldn't. At least, not entirely. There were reports of a great undertaking in Pérrone, and certainly local rumors, but many historians thought it was simply another tall tale fabricated by Paris revolutionaries. Slander was rampant against the aristocracy. An underground palace as large as the Sun King's court but buried a hundred feet below ground was probably too ridiculous and excessive a luxury to even consider."
A Drop of Night is a YA thriller about a group of American teens who are given the opportunity to explore a mysterious underground palace built during the French Revolution. It's my first attempt at YA, and also my first attempt writing something not overtly fantasy (though it's still a little fantasy-ish, what with secret underground palaces and such) and it ended up this wild, weird, sci-fi historical horror mash-up about an angry girl named Anouk and her attempt to survive what's in the depths. The modern day scenes are spliced with historical scenes of the wealthy aristocrats who fled to the palace during the Revolution. It took many drafts to sort out.

On page 69 the kids have just arrived at the chateau that now stands above the site of the fabled buried palace. They're being briefed by their chaperone, Professor Dorf, and are beginning to become suspicious that maybe this trip will be dangerous, and maybe something bad is down there, even now, two hundred years later.
Learn more about the book and author at Stefan Bachmann's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: The Peculiar.

The Page 69 Test: The Peculiar.

The Page 69 Test: The Whatnot.

--Marshal Zeringue