Saturday, April 10, 2021

"The Speed of Light"

Elissa Grossell Dickey is a mother, writer, and multiple sclerosis warrior who believes in the power of strong coffee and captivating stories.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her debut novel, The Speed of Lightand reported the following:
On page 69 of The Speed of Light, Connor is asking Simone out for the first time:
I clear my throat. “Nothing major, really. How about you?” I pray my voice is casual, though my hand inside my pocket is trembling.

“I’m supposed to meet a few friends at a bar downtown around seven o’clock. Do you . . . I mean, would you want to come?” Yes. The word comes quick, the snap of a whip. I don’t want to let him get away again.

But on the outside I hesitate. I meant what I told Nikki—I need time to adjust, to wrap my brain around my diagnosis. The thought of a first-date conversation now makes me cringe: Hi, I’m Simone and I like going to the theater and reading books and talking about movies and by the way remember when I mentioned I might have a chronic neurological condition? Well, I sure do, and to be honest I don’t know what it’s going to do to me tomorrow let alone years from now but would you like to see me again?

And yet despite everything, Connor is standing here in front of me, this handsome man I never thought I’d see again, smiling with so much hope. Maybe we wouldn’t have to talk about it, not right away. Maybe we could just have fun.

Finally, the word pushes its way past my lips. “Yes.”

We exchange numbers, say our goodbyes, and when I walk back across campus, my steps are lighter somehow, almost like I’m floating.
The test was proven right—this scene does indeed give readers a good idea of what my book is about! It shows the blossoming love story between my main character, Simone, and her love interest, Connor. It also demonstrates Simone’s hesitancy to enter a relationship so soon after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and her uncertainty about her future, which are major themes of the book.

The Speed of Light actually has dual timelines. Page 69 falls during the past timeline, one year in the past, when Simone has recently been diagnosed and is starting her relationship with Connor. The other timeline (present day) is a lot more suspenseful—Simone is hiding from an unknown shooter at the campus where she works. But Simone and Connor’s relationship is central to the book regardless of the timeline, as are her hesitancy to enter a relationship and her uncertainty about her future. So again, I believe The Speed of Light passes the page 69 test.

The book’s two, quite different timelines demonstrate why I chose the book’s title. The Speed of Light does refer to the fact that they are both Star Wars fans and the fact that snowflakes falling against a windshield can make it look like you’re flying at light speed. However, it primarily refers to the fact that life can—and does—change quickly, for better or worse, be it a devastating diagnosis, a handsome stranger, or a chilling act of violence at work. You never know what life will throw at you, and The Speed of Light shows how one woman navigates this.
Visit Elissa Grossell Dickey's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Speed of Light.

--Marshal Zeringue