She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter, and reported the following:
Page 69 in my debut novel, Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter, actually contains a defining scene in the book. When the novel opens my heroine, Leelee Satterfield, has been sweet-talked by her husband Baker into uprooting their family to follow his dream of becoming an innkeeper. It means leaving her beloved hometown of Memphis, Tennessee and traveling 1473 miles, due North, to start over.Read an excerpt from Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter, and learn more about the book and author at Lisa Patton's website and blog.
On page 69 she's just moved in to their new home - a dankly, Teutonic old inn in a small village in southern Vermont. Helga Schloygin, a six-foot-tall spinster and the former inn owner, is coaching her on the accounting principles of inn and restaurant ownership and is not at all amused by Leelee's naivety on the subject.
"I'm actually not much on bookwork," Leelee tells her.
Here's what happens next.....
After peering at me over the top of her reading glasses for what seemed like a full minute, Helga remarked, "Not much on bookvork? Then how are you planning on running zis business?"
"Well, I ... it's just that ... bookwork's never been my responsibility - in Memphis, I mean."
She kept her stern gaze.
"But I suppose I could learn to do it here."
Her voice climbed. "Your husband vill not have time to operate this business all by himself. You must carry your own veight!"
"Oh, I plan on it. Helga. It's just that I have two daughters who need my full attention. In fact I should go -"
When our girl tries to defend her most important job, Helga makes it clear that Leelee's stay-at-home-mom days are over.
"You are a vorking mozer now!" she declares loudly, and bangs the table with her fist. "Let's get down to business."
Over the next several months, Helga's stern admonishments turn into venomous spews but Leelee won't be run out of town so easily. She's discovering a Southern grit she never knew she had. Page 69 sets the tone for the calamity to come. With the help of new-found Yankee friends as well as her three best friends from home, Leelee learns to stand up for herself in sandals and snow-boots against the odds.
Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter is a story about what happens when a Southern belle tries her hand at running a quaint Vermont inn. It is my hope that you might have as much fun reading it as I did writing it.
Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.