Tuesday, July 18, 2023

"Thicker Than Water"

Megan Collins is the author of Thicker Than Water, The Family Plot, Behind the Red Door, and The Winter Sister.

She received her B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, and she holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Boston University, where she was a teaching fellow. She has taught creative writing at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and Central Connecticut State University, and she is Managing Editor of 3Elements Review. A Pushcart Prize and two-time Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in many print and online journals, including Compose, Linebreak, Off the Coast, Spillway, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Rattle. She lives in Connecticut.

Collins applied the Page 69 Test to Thicker Than Water and reported the following:
On page 69 of Thicker Than Water, Sienna is trying to get her ex-boyfriend Wyatt, a cop, to tell her about the suspects in a murder case (since her brother is currently the main one and she’s hoping the police are following other leads, as well), but he is reluctant to share that information. This frustrates Sienna, who already has a chip on her shoulder when it comes to cops and the justice system (and Wyatt, for that matter, who cheated on her while black-out drunk at a bachelor party).

I don’t think this page gives the best glimpse of the book as a whole. For one thing, we’re only seeing a moment in Sienna’s perspective here, but her best friend and sister-in-law Julia has her own POV chapters, in which we see her become increasingly unsure that her husband (Sienna’s brother) is innocent. While Sienna and Wyatt’s relationship (and ex-relationship) is an important subplot in the book, the core of this novel is the relationship between Sienna and Julia, who have always believed that theirs is an unbreakable bond—until now.

What this page does do is give the reader a strong sense of what matters to Sienna: loyalty and justice. Wyatt’s reluctance to provide her with insider information about the case stirs up not only the pain she felt when Wyatt was unfaithful to her, but also reminds her of how she’s always disliked that he was a cop in the first place, because she associates police and the justice system with the fact that the man who killed her parents in a drunk driving accident years ago was given a very lenient sentence. That moment in her life was formative for her, and it’s why she’s particularly triggered by what she believes is the ultimate injustice of her brother, an innocent and good man in her eyes, being named a suspect in a brutal murder—and it’s why, throughout the book, she works so hard to prove he didn’t do it.
Visit Megan Collins's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Family Plot.

--Marshal Zeringue