Thursday, December 14, 2017

"Woman Enters Left"

Jessica Brockmole is the author of At the Edge of Summer, the internationally bestselling Letters from Skye, which was named one of the best books of 2013 by Publishers Weekly, and Something Worth Landing For, a novella featured in Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War.

Brockmole applied the Page 69 Test to her latest novel, Woman Enters Left, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Woman Enters Left comes at the very end of a chapter where Louise, a jaded actress in 1952, is parked on the side of a Nevada highway, trying to decide whether to obediently go to a shoot in Las Vegas or rebelliously head towards Route 66.
She wipes off her face again with the handkerchief, knowing she’ll have to pull over and reapply her makeup before arriving at the Flamingo. An actress never knows who might be watching. The publicity department would collectively faint at a LOUISE WILDE SWEATS headline.

Does she really want to go through with this? If she shows up on set tomorrow, shows up for that bikini and ukulele and insipid script, that’ll be it. There will be no negotiating a better contract. No fighting for better roles. She’ll be giving in.

But giving in is better than hiding. Better than ignoring her problems, hoping they’ll just go away. They won’t. Life requires patience and, these days, she doesn’t have much of that.

She slides behind the wheel and pulls on her gloves. Beneath them she can just barely see the line of her wedding band. She turns on the car and looks out onto the road.

But she doesn’t get too far, because she’s staring at that cactus-shaped sign again. It stands in front of another road, barely a track of dust between the sagebrush. It suddenly comes to her that she knows exactly what the sign says. Though she still can’t make out any of the letters, not with the paint peeling in the relentless sun, she suddenly knows she’s read it before. PRICKLY PEAR RANCH—AN OASIS IN THE DESERT.

Vegas would have to wait.

She turns down the road.
It’s an excellent peek at the whole book, with my heroine teetering on the brink of decision. Despite a ferocious streak, for years she’s been a loyal and uncomplaining subject of the Hollywood studio system. But she sees in this moment on the side of the highway her chance to break free, to run away from both a stagnant career and marriage. Instead, a sign on the side of the road stirs up memories and sends her on an adventure in search of a family secret. I think I have a lot packed into page 69!
Learn more about the book and author at Jessica Brockmole's website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

The Page 69 Test: Letters from Skye.

My Book, The Movie: Letters from Skye.

My Book, The Movie: Woman Enters Left.

--Marshal Zeringue