Thursday, August 14, 2014

"In Deep"

Terra Elan McVoy has been reading and writing avidly since she first learned how, and has had many jobs that center around those two activities, from managing an independent children's bookstore, to teaching writing classes, and even answering fan mail for Captain Underpants. McVoy lives and works in the same Atlanta neighborhood where her novels After the Kiss, Being Friends with Boys, and Pure are set. She is also the author of The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, and Criminal--a 2014 Edgar Award Finalist.

McVoy applied the Page 69 Test to her latest novel, In Deep, and reported the following:
From page 69:
“Right now? Two-eleven-six.”

He whistles. I shrug. It isn’t a horrible time. But it is ten seconds behind the world record for long course. Still, I watch Grier see Gavin being impressed with me. I lean back farther on my hands and open my knees a little.

“So, the scouts are on you already, huh?” he asks, eyes glinting like they were the other night when we went to get burritos.

Everybody else is bored though, talking about something else. I’m bored too—that dirty flirt talk game’s already been done.

“I’ve heard not till summer.”

He shakes his head. “This is when they should start looking at you. Olympic trials will be here before you know it.”

“Not for me.” I shake my head, enjoying the floppy feel of it.

“You serious?”

“Sure I’m serious. You’re not serious about them, are you?”

He laughs. From what I’ve been able to tell, Gavin’s a decent swimmer. Good enough to get into Auburn and stay there, anyway. But I know he’s not serious because of the internship. You don’t take summer jobs if you’re gunning for the gold. You don’t have time to. Sometimes you don’t even go to college.

“Well,” he finally says, in that dismissive-dad-sounding way. “I just mean—”

“You ever swim against Kenyon, Wake, or Brown?”

This part I want to know.
The page 69 test for my newest novel, In Deep, is funny. Taken out of context like this conversation between the main character, Brynn, and the college guy who’s training with her swim club over the summer, Gavin, while they’re sitting around a hot tub with a bunch of other people at a party makes virtually no sense. What you can’t tell from this page is that they’d been flirting pretty hard-core earlier in the book. Brynn caught Gavin’s attention, and now he’s trying to get to know her better. The problem is, he’s already sort of dating her best friend, Grier. And Brynn isn’t excited about it, for more than one reason.

Still, this is a great microview of what In Deep is all about. Brynn’s an exceptional swimmer, and she’s interested in seeing how far her talent may take her. (This is why she’s interested in Kenyon, Brown, and Wake Forest at the end of the section, and knows a lot about the Olympics. She too, is a contender.) Brynn’s looking to escape, and she knows her swimming is the main thing that will allow her to. She’s interested in Gavin, in part, because of what he can teach her about where she might be able to go.

But Brynn’s not only interested in excelling at swimming. Her competitive drive is so deeply entrenched, that early on she sees Gavin as competition (for her best friend Grier’s attention), and decides she can’t let him beat her. She also isn’t crazy about the idea of suddenly playing second fiddle to her best friend’s new boyfriend, especially when she knows Gavin’s attracted to her, too. The entire novel is a constant cat-and-mouse one-upmanship between these three, and while it’s subtle in this scene, it’s all right there.
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 (May 2013).

The Page 69 Test: Criminal.

--Marshal Zeringue