She applied the Page 69 Test to Bloodroot, her debut novel, and reported the following:
On page 69 of Bloodroot, Doug Cotter is watching the girl he has loved since they were children leave him behind to marry the beautiful but sinister John Odom:Read an excerpt from Bloodroot, and learn more about the book and author at Amy Greene's website.A week or so later, I saw Myra and John Odom together. He was waiting for her in the school parking lot, leaning against his car. Girls stood around giggling about how pretty he was, but he looked like the devil to me. Long and lean, tall and dark as a shadow, eyes black as pits. It was like he reeled her across the parking lot by an invisible hook in her perfect lip. I was standing close enough to smell her hair as she walked by, but she didn’t even see me.Knowing that he has lost Myra forever, Doug goes to his friend and neighbor Haskell Barnett for comfort:The next day, for the last time, I went to see Mr. Barnett. He was in the garden pulling weeds. When he saw me he took off his cap and wiped the sweat from his brow. He didn’t ask what I was up to. We stood for a while in silence, looking toward the woods at the edge of the yard where we had walked together so many times. “You were wrong,” I told him at last. “She won’t ever come around.” Then my knees came unhinged and I sank down in the black dirt. Mr. Barnett knelt with me and hugged me tight. “You’re the one she ought to be with, Douglas,” he said. “You and me both know it’s the truth. But Myra’s got a choice. Everybody’s got a choice. She just made the wrong one.With his final words to Doug, Mr. Barnett sums up one of the themes of Bloodroot. In the writing process, I thought about how much inheritance shapes who we become; whether or not childhood suffering causes someone to inflict pain and suffering on others; whether characters like John are cruel by nature or have been formed by childhood abuse; whether it’s possible to overcome circumstances and achieve happiness. I also explored whether or not a dark love like John and Myra’s was destined or if they could have resisted their obsessive passion and saved themselves. In ways, Myra and John might be products of genetics and upbringing, but they have free will. As hard as it is to overcome inherited traits and circumstances—as Mr. Barnett says—everybody’s got a choice.
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