Tuesday, February 6, 2018

"The Burial Society"

Ballantine published filmmaker Nina Sadowsky’s debut thriller, Just Fall, in March 2016. She is developing a TV series based on the book. Sadowsky has written numerous screenplays and produced many films including perennial favorite The Wedding Planner. She also teaches script development and producing at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.

Sadowsky applied the Page 69 Test to her second novel, The Burial Society, and reported the following:
The Page 69 Test doesn't work so well for The Burial Society. I'm proud of the writing but it's not the page I'd pick if I could give readers only one page to introduce the novel as it introduces aspects of my protagonist’s character that need to be revealed within the context of the story.

But page 99? Well, that page speaks to the very essence of my thriller.

The page begins with this line: “If my manipulations make you squeamish, remember my goals are worthy.” The voice is that of Catherine, the founder of The Burial Society, a darknet-based organization dedicated to rescuing abused women, whistleblowers and others whose desperate, dangerous lives have made turning to her their last resort. Catherine has overcome a horrific childhood only to cast herself in the role of a savior, but while she has a firm moral code of her own, she doesn’t always operate within the law.

That first line of Page 99 perfectly encapsulates one of the major themes of the novel, which explores this arena of moral ambiguity. The page continues:

“I shake off my misgivings. Natalie had shared useful information, which was also unexpected. Brian Burrows was afraid before he died. This presents me with a trail of sorts, a start. I need to talk to Brian’s co-workers right away.”

The chapter ends there. This is also emblematic of the novel as Catherine’s quest to solve Brian’s murder and help his teen daughter Natalie is the beating heart of the story. Catherine failed to protect Natalie’s mother years before and this has haunted her ever since. Drawn back into the family’s orbit when Brian is murdered as well, the tale is one of redemption, and another major theme of the novel, the need for courage in order to face reinvention.
Visit Nina Sadowsky's website.

Writers Read: Nina Sadowsky.

--Marshal Zeringue