Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Mary Anna Evans has degrees in physics and engineering, but her heart is in the past. Her series character, Faye Longchamp, lives the exciting life of an archaeologist, and Evans envies her a little.

Longchamp's growing list of adventures include Artifacts, Relics, Effigies, Findings, Floodgates, Strangers, Plunder and, new this month, Rituals.

Evans applied the Page 69 Test to Rituals and reported the following:
Ah, yes. The Page 69 Test. It’s terrifying. Until I take a peek at page 69, I never know whether I will find my finest work or whether I will find drivel. Even if I wanted to think ahead and plant a single page of genius there, I couldn’t. Who knows how the book will be printed? I find out what’s on page 69 at about the same time the rest of you do, when the printed copies are distributed and the first ones land on my doorstep.

I confess to being happy about the Page 69 Test for Rituals. It is, in its entirety, part of a monologue in the voice of one of my favorite guest characters, Antonia Caruso, a retired schoolteacher who spent decades moonlighting as a magician with the delicious stage name of “Toni the Astonisher.” Toni is a young retiree, but she is still several years older than me in chronological age. In our hearts, though, Toni and I will always be curious children who are everlastingly charmed by the mystery of how the world works. For that reason, Toni and I both majored in physics, and neither of us is very tolerant of people who are unwilling to believe the things that observation and reason prove to be true.

I have been told by one of my respected readers that Toni is the character who most reminds him of me. There are surely large chunks of me buried in Faye, and this person has not read Wounded Earth and has thus not met Larabeth McLeod, but yes. If I had never married or had children, I might have been a physics teacher who moonlighted in entertainment, although I would likely have been a writer or musician, rather than a stage magician. And I have a physicist’s regard for truth, so I might well have sounded like Toni Caruso when she assesses two women who claim to be able to talk to the dead, Dara Armistead and her mother Tilda:
Dara Armistead is not her mother. She resembles her mother in no way, beyond the fact that they are both tall, strong-willed women. I know for a fact that she lacks her mother’s integrity.

Any reader of my eventual book will know that I do not believe Tilda Armistead had psychic powers, because I do not believe that anyone has them. Still, intellectual honesty requires me to repeat this mantra daily: “I could be wrong.”

It is possible that I am wrong in my belief that the physical world is all there is. It is possible, though I think it’s highly unlikely, that some people can communicate with our dearly beloved ones who have passed to the other side. If so, then I admit the possibility that Tilda Armistead was the real thing. I do not give Dara Armistead that much credit, because there is no question that she is a fraud.

It is no wonder that the two women didn’t speak for the last fifteen years of Tilda’s life. It’s more surprising that their relationship lasted as long as it did….
Imagine how a crusader for truth like Toni would react to news of Tilda Armistead’s murder. Imagine, in particular, how she would react to evidence that points to Tilda’s daughter, Dara the Fraud, as a prime suspect. And imagine how well a woman with Toni’s crisp intellect would get along with Faye Longchamp, my no-nonsense archaeologist, and her extraordinary daughter Amande. This is a novel full of extraordinary women. (And Joe. No book about Faye is complete without her soulmate.) It reaches all the way back to America’s suffragettes for inspiration. I think Toni, Faye, and Amande would have made those brave women proud.
Learn more about the book and author at Mary Anna Evans' website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Floodgates.

The Page 69 Test: Strangers.

My Book, The Movie: Strangers.

The Page 69 Test: Plunder.

Writers Read: Mary Anna Evans.

--Marshal Zeringue