Sunday, November 22, 2020


Mark de Jager isn’t sure if his love of writing led to his love of gaming or vice versa, but his earliest memories involve both. He now spends his time trying to find a balance between these and working a full time job in banking, a process made slightly easier by his coffee addiction. An ex-MP in the South African army, de Jager now lives in Kent with his wife Liz (herself a published author) and their lazy dog in a house that is equal parts library and home.

He applied the Page 69 Test to the US debut of his novel Infernal and reported the following:
From page 69:
‘I am Stratus...’ I tried to say the rest of it; I really wanted to, but I couldn’t. His magic was sly and cunning, but it wasn’t strong enough to reach a secret that was buried as deep within my mind as that was. ‘I am going towards the city.’

‘Which city, Stratus?’

‘I ... I don’t know. The closest one.’

‘Why, Stratus?’

‘I seek the counsel of your wise men.’ I had an inkling of what he would ask me next, and I really didn’t want him to ask it but had no way of stopping him. Every word that the spell coaxed from me strengthened its intent and power, like a chain being forged link by link.

‘What is the counsel that you seek, Stratus?’

‘I ...’ The strain of my mental struggle against the compulsion was spilling into the physical word, the chain that linked my wrists rattling as my body tensed. ‘I want to know .. who .. what I am.’ ‘Who do you think you are, Stratus?’
First thing to say is that the person questioning Stratus in the extract above is using a very formulaic way of speaking because it’s part of an ongoing spell!

That said, this is actually a very fitting exchange for this test. In this scene Stratus, who had been wandering through a war zone, has been captured and is being interrogated by a wizard. He’s confused, and as the wizard’s spell burrows deeper into his mind, trying to pry the truth from him, he’s afraid of what it will uncover and what it might mean for both of them.

The one certain truth is that he doesn’t actually know who, or what, he is at this point. Even as he’s trying to fight the wizard’s influence, he’s finding out more about himself, and that’s a key concept for his story.
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--Marshal Zeringue