Thursday, May 21, 2020

"What Lies Between Us"

John Marrs is an author and former journalist based in London and Northamptonshire. After spending his career interviewing celebrities from the worlds of television, film and music for numerous national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time author.

Marrs applied the Page 69 Test to What Lies Between Us, his seventh book, and reported the following:
Page 69 of What Lies Between Us is set twenty-five years ago in Northamptonshire, England, back when the relationship between my two protagonists Nina and Maggie was a positive one.

They are mother and daughter and while Nina’s teenage years have been rebellious and unsettling, it was once her mother who she turned to when things went wrong.

Told from Maggie’s perspective, this page follows her response to discovering Nina has suffered a miscarriage and it reveals how tender their relationship once was.
An hour passes before we move into her bedroom. And as I lay her down, her body folds in on itself like a fragile sheet of origami. I pull the duvet over her and up to her chin, then remove two painkillers from a packet, offering them to her with a glass of Lucozade. ‘Thank you,’ she mutters. It feels like so long since she last showed me gratitude for anything, so I cling to it. For the first time since her father disappeared from her life, I feel a bond between us. I love her more than anything I have ever loved or will ever love again. And nothing she does will ever change that.
However, over time and throughout my novel, Maggie gradually learns how was wrong she was when she is pushed to the brink by Nina. Today, they are a cohabiting in house with Nina living on the ground floor and Maggie on the second floor. But mother and daughter’s bond has dissolved into violence and mistrust. It’s obvious from early in the book that there is animosity between them yet every second night, they meet to share dinner on the middle floor. And within the first five chapters, we learn that for two years, Maggie has been chained up in the attic of her home by her Nina, who controls every aspect of her life.

Does this test work for my book? No, I don’t think so. Obviously I think this page works in the context of the story as a whole, and shows how there was once light even in a dark time for Nina. But as a standalone section, it doesn’t give much away about what to expect in terms of the whole story.
Visit John Marrs's website, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

--Marshal Zeringue