Saturday, March 15, 2014

"Happily Ever After"

Elizabeth Maxwell lived for a long time in the east until one particularly snowy February when she couldn’t take it anymore, packed up her angry cat and moved west. She’s been hanging out in the Northern California sunshine ever since. (Well, except for a decade in San Francisco where it was foggy all the time but the restaurants were really good so there was that.) Maxwell currently lives in Davis, CA with her husband, two kids and the same angry cat (who is now 97 cat years old.)

She applied the Page 69 Test to Happily Ever After, her debut novel, and reported the following:
Page 69 includes a scene where Sadie gets a call from the local hospital to say they have a patient suffering from amnesia who claims she’s his next of kin. Once she establishes the patient isn’t her ex husband Roger or her daughter Allison, the next logical step is to tell the hospital the man is mistaken. She has no relatives around here. But something stops her and she agrees to come in and take a look at the guy. She has a sneaking suspicion it’s the gorgeous man she found dazed and confused in Target that very morning. This is a turning point in the novel that will lead to Sadie’s involvement with the physical manifestations of her characters. Here’s an excerpt:
“Good morning,” a chipper voice says. “This is Billsford General Hospital emergency services calling.”

I stop breathing because when a hospital calls, it can only mean your child is dead.

“Is this Sadie Fuller?”

“Yes,” I squeak.

“We have a man here who claims you are next of kin?”

“A man?” The air rushes out of me. I’m covered in goose bumps. Allison is not a man. But I have no brothers or uncles or nephews that fit the bill either. The goose bumps return.

“Is his name Roger?” I ask. “How old does he look?”

“Young,” she says. “Probably twenty-five or so. And I don’t know if his name is Roger. That’s part of the problem.”

Roger is very attractive and very fit. He can stand on his head for days. But he looks at least forty. Although I regularly tell him he can still pass for thirty-two because I want him to be happy.

“So you don’t know his name?” I ask. “And he doesn’t either?”

“No,” she says. “He appears to be suffering from memory loss, but he remembered you well enough. Name, phone number, and address. He was brought in this morning. Really good looking.”

She sounds embarrassed by that last bit, but now I know it’s the Target guy.

“Can you tell us his name?” she asks. “Does he sound like someone you know? He even described what you look like.”

How sad for me. It’s hard to get away dressing like a slob in a place like Billsford. Someone is always around to bust you. I’m about to say I have no idea who the man is, that I stumbled upon him looking dazed and confused in Baby Products and did my civic duty and that was that. But something stops me, some sense that I should go and see him.

“I’m not sure who you’re talking about,” I say, “but why don’t I stop by there and see?”
Visit Elizabeth Maxwell's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue