Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Out of Warranty"

Haywood Smith's novels include Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch, The Red Hat Club, Red Hat Club Rides Again, Wedding Belles, Ladies of the Lake, Waking Up Dixie, and Wife-in-Law.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her latest novel, Out of Warranty, and  reported the following:
On page 69, curmudgeon Jack shoves the info about his condition into a mental cubbyhole and slams the door, distracting himself by trying to find the parts to fix the derelict tractors in his yard. Stuck in gridlock on the way home, he stews about how much money it cost him at the specialist's office.

I know a funny book about health problems sounds weird, but Out of Warranty was inspired by my own weird form of arthritis, which I've had since childhood, but never knew what was causing my problems--until I got bitten by a rabid raccoon. The book is about a 55-year-old widow with my condition who goes broke paying for her healthcare and meds, and decides she has to remarry for better health insurance. When dating and fix-ups don't work out, she ends up marrying a one-legged curmudgeon with the same condition for his health benefits, and they both live happily ever after --in separate bedrooms in "like," with lots of house rules.

I used a male point of view to contrast the female response to health challenges. So many men just don't want to know what's wrong with them, but when they find out, they go into denial. Jack just wants to be left alone to read, uninterrupted, for the rest of his life. He lives his life on his terms, but only when it looks like he's not going to live much longer is he finally willing to compromise and get with the program. He can't afford to make his house safe to live in, so he looks elsewhere. Older people face health challenges every day, but in America, when you have a chronic condition, insurance often stops paying for necessary meds and procedures. After what I've been through with my insurer, I send up the medical profession, the health insurance industry, and the drug companies.
Learn more about the book and author at Haywood Smith's website.

Writers Read: Haywood Smith.

--Marshal Zeringue