Friday, December 1, 2023

"The Mayors of New York"

SJ Rozan, a native New Yorker, is the author of at least eighteen novels and six dozen short stories. Her work has won the Edgar, Shamus, Anthony, Nero, and Macavity awards for Best Novel and the Edgar for Best Short Story. She’s also the recipient of the Japanese Maltese Falcon Award and has received the Life Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America.

Rozan applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Mayors of New York, and reported the following:
Page 69 of The Mayors of New York is a pretty good sample of the book, though it would confuse a reader trying to use it as a test. It's almost entirely dialogue. Four people speak, and two others are mentioned, so anyone who hadn't been with the book from the beginning would be lost.

Still, the use of a lot of dialogue is typical of my writing, a deliberate choice from the time I started because dialogue puts the reader in the immediate "now" of the story. It's also one of the chief joys I get from writing: trying to capture each character's unique voice -- rhythm, contractions, sentence length, word choice. In The Mayors of New York I had the opportunity to write dialogue for people of a wide variety of ethnicities -- South Asian, Latinx, American Southern Black, African immigrant, Upper East Side WASP -- which was a great excuse for eavesdropping, one of my favorite New York activities. Authenticity, you know?

Bill Smith and Lydia Chin, of course, by now practically write their own dialogue, we've been together so long. Other characters take a little getting to know, a process I enjoy. By page 69 in this book, the two others on it -- the private chef, Rick Crewe, and 15-year-old Madison McCann, the Mayor's daughter -- had made a couple of other appearances, so I felt comfortable with them.

Also on that page is a clue useful later, though the reader doesn't know that. (Oops, did I give something away?)
Visit S.J. Rozan's website.

The Page 69 Test: Paper Son.

The Page 69 Test: The Art of Violence.

Q&A with S. J. Rozan.

Writers Read: S.J. Rozan (February 2022).

The Page 69 Test: Family Business.

Writers Read: S. J. Rozan.

--Marshal Zeringue