Saturday, August 30, 2008

"Queen of the Road"

Doreen Orion's new book, Queen of the Road: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus with a Will of Its Own, was published in June, and has been chosen as Borders’ Featured Book Club Selection, a Celestial Seasonings Adventures at Every Turn Book Club pick, as well as a Target Breakout Book. It is already in fifth printing.

She applied the Page 69 Test to the book and reported the following:
I’m not terribly pleased with my page 69 test, as I don’t think it represents the rest of the book. In this selection, which occurs in the third chapter, I describe our bus “with a will of its own.” I suppose it does set up one of the major changes we went through during “the bus thing,” which was discovering we had spent too much energy and time supporting a lifestyle. We went a bit overboard in the design of our bus, and over the year we spent living in it, realized just how much we could do without.

In the prior two chapters, the reader gets to know the characters – me, a former Princess from the Island of Long (now reluctantly promoted to Queen of the Long Narrow Aisle), and my polar opposite husband, Tim (aka, Project Nerd: Domestic Superhero – he does more before 9 am than I’ll even think about doing the entire week. I never did understand that Army commercial: Is getting up at the crack of dawn to work your butt off really supposed to be a selling point?) Obviously, page 69 does not provide any clue as to all the adventures (and misadventures) we would have in our travels, nor the diverse people who would become a part of our lives. It also doesn’t portray what many readers have told me is the best part of the book: our relationship with each other. Tim and I are about as different as spouses can be, and during our bus trip this is underscored when we visit our respective families from New York City to small town Arkansas. As I observe, “In WASP families, if you don’t get along with someone, you have as little to do with them as possible. In Jewish families, if you don’t get along with someone, you move next door to make them as miserable as possible.” Hmm. Wish this was a page 51 test.

of our worldly possessions that we could not possibly live without for a year. Thankfully, the bus had a lot of closet and storage space in the living areas, and there was even more underneath in the bays, although two of the three were taken up with the heating/cooling systems, fresh, gray, and black water tanks, and generator.

Upon entering the bus, my buddy seat was immediately to the left, custom-made double-wide, both to accommodate the bus butt I planned on growing (I intended for my husband to learn that living one’s dream could have its nightmarish aspects) as well as one or two cats sitting up front with me. Across the aisle was Tim’s driver seat and behind that, a coat closet. Above the windshield was storage for all the stereo/TV equipment and just adjacent, folded up and hidden precariously (or so it seemed to me) in the ceiling over my seat, was our 42-inch flat-panel plasma TV. A coffee table that could extend into a dining table was behind the buddy seat, with a reclining sofa on the other side. Behind the sofa was a desk (which housed the satellite Internet system) and behind that, a breakfast bar which delineated the start of the kitchen.

For two non-cooks, that kitchen (not even counting the Blue Bahia granite) was a slight bit of overkill: side-by-side refrigerator/freezer, dishwasher drawer, combination microwave convection oven, sink, pullout pantries, pullout cutting boards, wine rack, appliance garage, and the Comb-o-matic 6200, aka Frankensudser - an unholy joining together of a washer and dryer into one space-saving unit. Further back, a stainless steel pocket door separated the kitchen from the bathroom, which included a toilet, the over-the-counter (and over-the-top) glass sink whose faucet was mounted on a stainless steel tile backsplash, and finally, a fairly large shower (to accommodate one human washing one standard poodle), also done in stainless steel tile.
Read an excerpt from Queen of the Road and learn more about the author and her work at Doreen Orion's website and blog.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue