Saturday, August 30, 2014

"The Haunted Library"

Dori Hillestad Butler is the author of more than 40 books for children. Her books often appear on children's choice state award lists, and her Buddy Files #1: Case of the Lost Boy won the 2011 Edgar Award for best children's mystery. She has a new children’s series launching this fall called The Haunted Library.

Butler applied the Page 69 Test to The Haunted Library (book 1) and The Haunted Library: The Ghost in the Attic (book 2) and reported the following:
I wasn’t sure about contributing to this blog. I’m a children’s author. Page 69 of a children’s book falls at a completely different place in the story arc than page 69 of an adult novel. In fact, it’s well past the halfway point in my Haunted Library books. But I was curious whether my children’s books would pass the test, so I took the challenge. Since there are two books out in my new series, I figured I’d just write about whichever book passed. Fortunately, they both pass the test.

We’re right in the middle of the action on page 69 in both The Haunted Library and The Haunted Library: The Ghost in the Attic, so I think readers would be inclined to read on. In both cases we are actively looking for someone and the stakes are high. Kaz, my main character, must make a decision about what to do next.

Excerpt from The Haunted Library:
There was still one room he and Claire hadn’t searched: the craft room.

But Cosmo wasn’t there, either. He didn’t seem to be anywhere in the library.

So where was he?

Kaz swallowed hard. If Cosmo wasn’t anywhere inside the library, then…he must be outside the library.
Excerpt from The Haunted Library: The Ghost in the Attic:
“Or…maybe he’s hiding from you. Like a game.”

Like hide-and-seek? Kaz thought. Finn loved hide-and-seek.

But this wasn’t a time for games.

Kaz and Finn’s haunt was gone. Mom, Pops, Grandmom, Grandpop, Little John and Cosmo were all gone.

If Finn was here, he and Kaz had to stick together.
The series features a ghost boy and a “solid” girl who solve a stand-alone ghostly mystery in each book (story arc) while trying to find the ghost boy’s missing family (series arc). What I find interesting about this page 69 test is that in both of these books, page 69 is doing more to advance the series arc than the story arc. That was absolutely not intentional.

I’ll be anxious to apply the page 69 test to book 3 when it comes out. Will page 69 in that book advance the story arc or the series arc?
Learn more about the books and author at Dori Hillestad Butler's website.

--Marshal Zeringue