Thursday, March 22, 2018

"City of Sharks"

Kelli Stanley is a critically-acclaimed, multiple award-winning author of crime fiction (novels and short stories). She makes her home in Dashiell Hammett’s San Francisco, a city she loves to write about.

Stanley applied the Page 69 Test to her new Miranda Corbie Mystery, City of Sharks, and reported the following:
I love the Page 69 test, but this time I’m afraid I’ve flunked it. Page 69 in the hardcover of City of Sharks is actually the division page for Act Two of the novel!

Here’s what it says:
Act Two: The Plot

“The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven.”

William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act V, scene i
It’s also got a very nice decorative scroll element at the top, thanks to the awesome production designer of the book.

Now, while you won’t get any clues about Miranda’s state of mind, her investigation of Alcatraz, or her vacillating physical and emotional feelings for Gonzales, you can glean from this page that City of Sharks is essentially about writing.

And writers.

And publishers.

And the many crimes that occur in the creation of crime stories.

Like most writers, I’ve spent a good amount of time not just thinking about the process of creativity, especially in regard to the written word, but about what happens to creativity when it is commodified … about what happens in that dance between the subconscious talent and the conscious craft when it’s forced to march rather than to waltz.

There’s a lot of San Francisco history in City of Sharks—famed columnist Herb Caen steals every scene he’s in, and backdrops include Playland-at-the-Beach and Alcatraz. There’s also a thorny mystery, some ethical questions to ponder about crime and punishment and, as always, social and political commentary.

But don’t overlook the writing/publishing theme. As page 69 tells you, it’s the structure the story’s built upon.
Learn more about the novel and author at Kelli Stanley's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Kelli Stanley & Bertie.

--Marshal Zeringue