Saturday, February 26, 2022

"Behind the Lie"

Emilya Naymark was born in a country that no longer exists, escaped with her parents, lived in Italy for a bit, and ended up in New York, which promptly became a love and a muse.

She studied art and was lucky enough to illustrate numerous publications before transitioning to the digital world.

She has a particular fascination with psychological thrillers, crime, and suspense. All the dark stuff. So that’s what she writes.

Naymark applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Behind the Lie, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Holly rarely felt tongue-tied, but a silence gripped her as she fell into step with the woman. When she was ten and Abigail fourteen, they’d walk this way to the ice cream shop, the conversation flowing in one direction toward the younger girl—instructions on makeup and hair removal (not that she needed it yet), gossip on who was a slut and who was a snob, and music, always music.

At the top of the hill, with the town stretching green and weekday-still below them, Holly reached and pressed Vera’s shoulder, wanting to touch the smallness of her bones. No denying it, this woman had something, more than something, of Abigail to her—the hair, the careless elegance, even the bags under her eyes, the unhealthy hollows under her cheeks. This moment, the touching, teetered on awkward, but Vera angled herself into Holly and tucked her arm around her waist as if they’d been friends for decades and not hours. It seemed to Holly that an odd and secret understanding vibrated between them.

With a great heave of self-control, Holly had successfully avoided dwelling on the circumstances of their meeting. But the woman’s closeness made this denial impossible.
I love this Page 69 Test. First, because for most books this will be nearing the 25% mark, which means it’s at the end of Act 1 and just about the beginning of Act 2. In genre novels, this is generally when a character is teetering at a decision point, and that decision is what will propel them toward Act 2.

The test works nicely for Behind the Lie because Holly, a suburban mom, wife, and secret romance writer, has gotten herself into an impossibly dire situation and is desperate for a solution that will save her family from foreclosure and bankruptcy. The solution is present on this page—although Holly doesn’t know it yet—and the seduction she will face has begun.

All kinds of lies are already evident in these paragraphs, not least the lies Holly tells herself. Lastly, I think the browsing reader opening the book to this page will get a good feel for setting (small town), and the unreliability of my character’s mindset. There’s a dreaminess here that I think reflects the tone for the first half of the novel, at least for Holly’s portion of it.

In conclusion—the test works!
Visit Emilya Naymark's website.

The Page 69 Test: Hide in Place.

My Book, The Movie: Hide in Place.

Q&A with Emilya Naymark.

Writers Read: Emilya Naymark.

--Marshal Zeringue