Wednesday, October 10, 2018


Ellen Goodlett writes science fiction because otherwise she would spend her days plotting to take over the world. She figures that the former would benefit humanity ever so slightly more than the latter (which would be disastrous and involve a lot of cats in government positions). She lives in New York City with two demons masquerading as felines. She is a proud graduate of Bryn Mawr College and a Pittsburgh expat.

Goodlett applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Rule, and reported the following:
From page 69:
She sympathized, even though she hadn’t been there to witness firsthand.

She sympathized, too, when Danton cast a dark eye on the frippery at court. The king’s lavish wedding to a daughter of said Genalese invaders. The turn-of-the-month festivals, which used to be quiet religious affairs and had exploded into monthly revels. Kolonya spent more money on celebrations this year than ever before, in the name of “lifting spirits” after the war.

Never mind that the Easterners were struggling to put food on their tables. Never mind that all the feasts took place in Kolonya City, for Kolonyans, not the Easterners who died to protect them from Genal.

So yes, Ren sympathized.

Danton preyed on that.
This paragraph follows one of my three narrators, Ren, as she flashes back to the deep dark secret she’s carrying. This secret is the reason she’s being blackmailed at court, and it’s a doozy. It’s the kind of sin that could get her executed for treason, if it’s ever publicly revealed.

What I wanted to convey in this scene is why she did it. Because Ren isn’t a bad person—at least not in my opinion (others might disagree). She made a bad decision, in the midst of a stressful situation, and she did it for love.

The thing is, whatever her intentions, that decision went sour. It led to people getting hurt, badly. That’s something Ren is going to have to live with now, she’s realizing. And each of my other two narrators, her sisters, made similar decisions, with similarly bad impacts. Now they all need to deal with the consequences. Rule is about what happens when their pasts catch up with them.
Visit Ellen Goodlett's website.

--Marshal Zeringue