Friday, April 9, 2021

"Whisper Down the Lane"

Clay McLeod Chapman writes novels, comic books, and children’s books, as well as for film and TV. He is the author of the horror novels The Remaking and Whisper Down the Lane.

Chapman applied the Page 69 Test to Whisper Down the Lane and reported the following:
Right at the top of page sixty-nine, there's this bit of dialogue:
"When your mom and I first started seeing each other, we talked a lot about you. When it might be the right time to tell you about me and what my childhood was like. I told her I wanted to wait a little while. Until it felt like the time was right. And I guess now is the time. To tell you. Because... Here's the thing, Eli. There's something I've been wanting to ask."

Too late to turn back now.

To run.
Some context: Richard has just married Tamara, who has a son named Elijah. This conversation is between the two of them, where Richard is struggling -- failing, even -- to tell Elijah about his own tangled childhood. It's a father-son chat that deep sixes itself pretty much before it even gets started. Richard can't help but see a little bit of himself in Elijah -- both grew up in single-mother families, both had absent fathers. But what Elijah doesn't know, and what the reader is slowly beginning to suspect, is that there's more to Richard's childhood than he's letting on. It's a murky place full of repressed memories and lies...

...So is it a perfect page to represent the rest of the book? Absolutely. It claws at the surface of something far more sinister, lingering beneath an innocuous conversation. The words themselves are relatively simple. Harmless, even. But it's what's hiding within the words, the secrets we keep, that suggest there's something more foul afoot.
Visit Clay McLeod Chapman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Whisper Down the Lane.

Q&A with Clay McLeod Chapman.

--Marshal Zeringue