Monday, May 13, 2013


Terra Elan McVoy has been reading and writing since she first learned how to, and her whole life has been motivated by her enthusiasm for those two things. She received her BA in English at St. Andrews University, and an MA in Creative Writing from Florida State University. She has worked as an event coordinator at a major chain bookstore; an editorial assistant at an NYC publisher; as manager of an independent children's bookstore; and as Program Director of the AJC Decatur Book Festival. She is the author of Pure, After the Kiss, The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, Being Friends with Boys, and Criminal.

McVoy applied the Page 69 Test to Criminal and reported the following:
From Page 69:
I wanted Dee holding me again, like he had been only an hour ago. Making the world only him and me and nothing else.

“Go in there,” she gestured to the bathroom around the corner, “look in the mirror, and you tell me just how happy you are.”

“Maybe you should do that yourself,” I spat, turning around and leaving her there alone in her clean kitchen.

But when I went to wash my face and brush my teeth, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t meet the eye of my reflection for more than a few seconds at a time.

Bird and I had fought before. Usually, after, we didn’t even apologize. She didn’t like dwelling on much of anything, but especially not ugliness. But apparently she’d been dwelling on her dislike for Dee even more than I thought. And now that it was out, I didn’t know how long it was going to stay around.

The next morning, I kept out of her way. I was still mad, too. She had to do her KFC job though, and I had to go to work myself, so that made avoiding her easier. When I got home we ate dinner at the TV and then went to bed, not talking more than we had to. I was calmer at that point, but it was clear she still needed space. I understood she was mad about the police, because they freaked me out too. But they hadn’t come around to ask me anything else today...
Surprisingly enough, this is a nice little microcosm of Criminal. It mentions Dee (Nikki’s boyfriend), and Bird (Nikki’s roommate/best friend), and also how much Bird dislikes Dee. It also mentions the police, and that Nikki isn’t feeling so great about what’s going on, so you get a touch of the crime element here too.

Bird and Nikki’s relationship is actually one of the most emotional parts of the book for me. Bird is the foil in Nikki’s life for Dee, but unfortunately, Nikki favors the destructive love she gets from her boyfriend, over the stronger, more difficult love of her best friend. The arc of this friendship —how Nikki betrays Bird, and what Bird does as a result— is one of the ways in which Criminal is not actually so different from my other books, though. As somebody who is blessed with amazing, long-term friends —with whom I’ve experienced a variety of ups and downs—I really enjoy writing about the bonds between friends, how and why they get broken, and how you make amends over time (if at all). I think if you look at all of my books, actually, that’s a consistent theme with me.
Learn more about the book and author at Terra Elan McVoy's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: The Summer of Firsts and Lasts.

My Book, The Movie: Being Friends with Boys.

Writers Read: Terra Elan McVoy.

--Marshal Zeringue