Saturday, June 4, 2022

"Poison Lilies"

Katie Tallo has been an award-winning screenwriter and director for more than two decades. In 2012, she was inspired to begin writing novels. Dark August is her debut novel. Tallo has a daughter and lives with her husband in Ottawa, Ontario.

Tallo applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Poison Lilies, and reported the following:
Page 69 in Poison Lilies is actually the end of a chapter so it only bears a few lines. They go like this:
“I’m so sorry, my dear,” she whispers. “I shouldn’t have pried. Everything’s going to be okay, love.”

Gus doesn’t believe her.

Then suddenly time flips upside down and everything comes at her like a freight train from a tunnel. That snowy November night three months ago barrels toward Gus. The mistake she made. The reason she moved.

She can’t look away.

She’s there.

And he’s there too.
Though short, this page is a perfect reflection of how the story mirrors the protagonist’s thoughts which flip from the present to the past in the blink of an eye throughout the novel, often triggered by an image or a conversation. On page 69, Gus is about to go back in time to a mistake she made—a life changing mistake that triggers the events that unfold in the novel.

In the sequel to Dark August, Poison Lilies continues the amateur sleuth adventures of Gus Monet and her trusty dog, Levi. Together, they help their elderly neighbor look into the mystery behind her long lost love’s disappearance decades earlier. The blind woman hasn’t left her apartment since the 1950s. Determined to solve the mystery, Gus becomes the old woman's eyes. With the help of a feisty twelve-year old and a nerdy journalist, Gus digs up secrets, uncovers lies, and stumbles upon a body in a basement. The story is told in a series of flashbacks as Gus forces herself to recall the events of her investigation. It’s how she escapes the present where she's trapped in a basement dungeon about to go into labour.
Visit Katie Tallo's website.

The Page 69 Test: Dark August.

Q&A with Katie Tallo.

--Marshal Zeringue