Tuesday, April 10, 2018

"Just Between Us"

Rebecca Drake is the author of the novels Don't Be Afraid, The Next Killing, The Dead Place, which was an IMBA bestseller, and Only Ever You, as well as the short story "Loaded," which was featured in Pittsburgh Noir.

Drake applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Just Between Us, and reported the following:
I hadn’t heard of this test before, but it’s interesting, and in this case page 69 is representative of all of Just Between Us and I hope a reader skimming this page would read on. It happens to fall on the opening of a chapter, and right after a big reveal, and it really epitomizes what the book is about—the friendship between four women and their concern for one of them:
There are certain moments in life that you can remember with all the clarity of a photograph—where you were and who were with and how the place looked or sounded or smelled. I can see us just as we were, the four of us sitting in Alison’s living room, Heather hunched over on the sofa, hands cradling her midsection as if holding a child, Julie in the chair closest to her, unconsciously tearing a napkin to shreds in her lap, and Alison, so startled that she’d stopped talking, her mouth falling open. Everyone so shocked by what Heather had revealed that for a long minute the only noise you could hear in the room was the faint hiss and pop of logs burning in the fireplace. These are the things I remember with perfect clarity: The slight smell of woodsmoke, the taste of cabernet, dark and dry, the table lamps casting shadows on the walls. The light from the fire illuminating the wine as I refilled my glass, a gush of liquid splashing, deep red, like blood pouring from a wound.
I wanted to explore female friendship, and how women communicate with and about one another. The book is told in four, first-person POVs, with each of the women—Alison, Julie, Sarah, and Heather—taking turns discussing what happens after they discover that Heather is being abused by her husband. It was challenging to write in four different points-of-view, because I wanted to make each character distinct, but also make sure that they had some shared vocabulary, the way we do with those closest to us. In order to avoid any confusion for readers, I asked my publisher to put the character’s name as a header on each page in their individual chapters. So page 69 falls on the opening of a Sarah chapter, and if readers forget that, they only have to glance up to remember who’s speaking. The unspoken question on this page and throughout the entire book is this: How far would you go to help a friend?
Visit Rebecca Drake's website.

--Marshal Zeringue