Wednesday, January 6, 2021

"Monsters Among Us"

Monica Rodden lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Greg, and a dog who loves to chase everything. When not preventing Hamlet from terrorizing the local squirrel population, she writes murder mysteries for young adults...with a classic twist!

Rodden applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Monsters Among Us, and reported the following:
Page 69 brings us to right before the murder, which is told from the victim's perspective. It was one of my favorite scenes to write--not because I'm a psychopath (I think) but because it's both haunting and important. I wanted to do justice to the looming terror of it and focus on the victim the entire time.
Amy checked the clock, did the math. The clifftop was a ten-minute walk...She told herself if it was raining hard, she wouldn't go--she wasn't totally reckless--but thankfully the night was almost clear, with just a faint drizzle falling. She zipped up her coat to her chin, shoved the note into her pocket, and took a full thirty seconds to close the front door with white-mittened hands. It was freezing outside, so she walked fast, her stomach rising up her throat. She swallowed. Nerves. Relax. At least you won't get bug bites. Rain dotted her hat, caught on her eyelashes. She blinked to clear them, and they fell onto her cheek, like tears.
Here, a character is walking to her doom, arguably by her own free will, which is a theme I explore in Monsters Among Us: victims--primarily women--making a "bad" choice and being "punished" for it, in the eyes of the world. But really it's just a girl making a decision to go somewhere. And sure, maybe that was a mistake. Maybe she should have stayed inside. But she is a human making a human choice and that cannot and should not take away her humanity.

I was dubious about this test, but page 69 is actually a solid representation of my book. If you like page 69, chances are you'll enjoy the other pages of Monsters Among Us.
Visit Monica Rodden's website.

Q&A with Monica Rodden.

--Marshal Zeringue