Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pg. 69: "Pale Immortal"

Anne Frasier is the USA Today bestselling author of Hush, Sleep Tight, Play Dead, and Before I Wake.

Her latest book is Pale Immortal.

I asked Anne to apply the "page 69 test" to her novel; this is what she reported:
This is a scene I reworked and reworked and I’m still annoyed with myself because it still comes across as awkward and stilted. This is the reader’s first introduction to Old Tuonela. I’d wanted the dead, abandoned town to be a dark, ominous presence that isn’t seen until we are deep into the book. My editor thought it should be on the page early in the book. I’m still not sure who was right. Maybe there really is no right or wrong, but this scene was an editorial request. Some people have actually said it’s one of their favorites, so it apparently worked on some level even though I still feel saving the town for later would have made for better suspense. It’s one of those writing choices where something would be gained and lost either way.

Coroner Rachel Burton is searching for the grave of the Pale Immortal, a vampire who has been dead a hundred years….

page 69:

The buildings looked as if they were growing out of the ground. They had sunk over the years, slanted, decaying, shrouded in vegetation. Except for the flour mill at the end of the street, most of the structures were being devoured by moss and creeper vines, the wooden beams rotten and mushy. Roofs had caved in, and what was outside had come inside.

Rachel spotted the church with its crumbling bell tower. The stone wall surrounding the adjoining graveyard was only a couple of feet high, and she climbed over easily.

Hidden in the grove of cottonwoods was a tree that could have been an oak. She knew an oak leaf when she saw one, but this tree hadn’t begun to leaf. Dead? Dying? It appeared to be blighted, the trunk dark with sap and crawling with ants.
Many thanks to Anne for the input.

Visit the Pale Immortal blog here. Click here to read Chapter One from the uncorrected page proofs, and here for Chapter Two.

To watch the Pale Immortal video, click here.

Among the rave reviews:
"[G]rab a copy of ... Pale Immortal; then lock the doors securely, put the phone off the hook, order some garlic and wooden crosses and wrap up tight because you will be chilled."
--Ali Karim

"The characters are rich, complex. The story is masterfully spun."
--Sandra Ruttan, author of Suspicious Circumstances

"Anne Frasier delivers thoroughly engrossing, completely riveting suspense."
--Lisa Gardner

"It's a great horror book because it doesn't make you turn on all the lights and look for things that will leap out of dark corners at you: lights on or off, the scary part of this book is all in your head."
--Bethany K. Warner

"Pale Immortal is one of those nifty, page-turning thrillers that keeps you reading non-stop till you turn the last page."
--Martina Bexte

"This is just simply a masterpiece. I can't wait for the sequel so I can walk Tuonela's streets again."
--Maximum Horror Reviews
Pale Immortal was a Sarah Weinman Pick of the Week.

Ali Karim interviewed Anne and posted part of their conversation at The Rap Sheet. Tribe also interviewed Anne.

Visit Anne's official website for more information.

Coming Fall 2007 -- the Pale Immortal sequel.

Previous "page 69 tests":
Michael Lewis, The Blind Side
David A. Bell, The First Total War
Brett Ellen Block, The Lightning Rule
Rosanna Hertz, Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice
Jason Starr, Lights Out
Robert Vitalis, America's Kingdom
Stephen Elliott, My Girlfriend Comes To The City And Beats Me Up
Colin McGinn, The Power of Movies
Sean Chercover, Big City, Bad Blood
Sigrid Nunez, The Last of Her Kind
Stanley Fish, How Milton Works
James Longenbach, The Resistance to Poetry
Margaret Lowrie Robertson, Season of Betrayal
Sy Montgomery, The Good Good Pig
Allison Burnett, The House Beautiful
Stephanie Coontz, Marriage, A History
Ed Lynskey, The Dirt-Brown Derby
Cindy Dyson, And She Was
Simon Blackburn, Truth
Brian Freeman, Stripped
Alyson M. Cole, The Cult of True Victimhood
Jeff Biggers, In the Sierra Madre
Jeff Broadwater, George Mason, Forgotten Founder
Alicia Steimberg, Andrea Labinger (trans.), The Rainforest
Michael Grunwald, The Swamp
Darrin McMahon, Happiness: A History
Leo Braudy, From Chivalry to Terrorism
David Nasaw, Andrew Carnegie
Leah Hager Cohen, Train Go Sorry
Chris Grabenstein, Slay Ride
David Helvarg, Blue Frontier
Marina Warner, Phantasmagoria
Bill Crider, A Mammoth Murder
Robert W. Bennett, Taming the Electoral College
Nicholas Stern et al, Stern Review Report
Kerry Emanuel, Divine Wind
Adam Langer, The Washington Story
Michael Scott Moore, Too Much of Nothing
Frank Schaeffer, Baby Jack
Wyn Cooper, Postcards from the Interior
Ivan Goncharov, Oblomov
Maureen Ogle, Ambitious Brew
Cass Sunstein, Infotopia
Paul W. Kahn, Out of Eden
Paul Lewis, Cracking Up
Pagan Kennedy, Confessions of a Memory Eater
David Greenberg, Nixon's Shadow
Duane Swierczynski, The Wheelman
George Levine, Darwin Loves You
John Barlow, Intoxicated
Alicia Steimberg, The Rainforest
Alan Wolfe, Does American Democracy Still Work?
John Dickerson, On Her Trail
Marcus Sakey, The Blade Itself
Randy Boyagoda, Governor of the Northern Province
John Gittings, The Changing Face of China
Rachel Kadish, Tolstoy Lied
Eric Rauchway, Blessed Among Nations
Tim Brookes, Guitar and other books
Ruth Padel, Tigers in Red Weather
William Haywood Henderson, Augusta Locke
Jed Horne, Breach of Faith
Robert Greer, The Fourth Perspective
David Plotz, The Genius Factory
Michael Allen Dymmoch, White Tiger
Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, Civilizing the Enemy
Tom Lutz, Doing Nothing
Libby Fischer Hellmann, A Shot To Die For
Nelson Algren, The Man With the Golden Arm
Bob Harris, Prisoner of Trebekistan
Elaine Flinn, Deadly Collection
Louise Welsh, The Bullet Trick
Gregg Hurwitz, Last Shot
Martha Powers, Death Angel
N.M. Kelby, Whale Season
Mario Acevedo, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats
Dominic Smith, The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre
Simon Blackburn, Lust
Linda L. Richards, Calculated Loss
Kevin Guilfoile, Cast of Shadows
Ronlyn Domingue, The Mercy of Thin Air
Shari Caudron, Who Are You People?
Marisha Pessl, Special Topics in Calamity Physics
John Sutherland, How to Read a Novel
Steven Miles, Oath Betrayed
Alan Brown, Audrey Hepburn's Neck
Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor's Tale

--Marshal Zeringue