Thursday, October 9, 2014

"The Boy Who Drew Monsters"

Keith Donohue is the national bestselling author of the novels The Stolen Child, The Angels of Destruction, and Centuries of June.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The Boy Who Drew Monsters, and reported the following:
The Boy Who Drew Monsters is set in a small seaside town in Maine and takes place at the beginning of winter. In this scene, Holly Keenan, the mother of the Boy Who Drew Monsters, is meeting with Father Bolden, the parish priest. She’s come to see him because she is worried about her son Jack Peter and the mysterious sounds she has been hearing in her head.

On the wall of the rectory, a painting of a shipwreck has unnerved Holly. Father Bolden tells the story behind the painting:
The Porthleven ran into rough seas just as they came within sight of Maine. One December evening, a nor’easter blew in, and the ship floundered in a blizzard. A scrim of white so thick the poor captain could not have known how close they were to land. This whole area was snowed in, not fit for man nor beast, and of course, that lighthouse had not been built. The crew laid anchor but it did not hold. She hit a ledge of rocks and broke apart in twenty feet of water. Six crew and thirteen Englishmen, women, and child, including a vicar from Cornwall, and not a soul survived the freezing sea. People in the village discovered the first bodies next morning, stiff and coated with ice, and the story goes that not all the passengers were found, that some still lie at the bottom of the sea, and you can hear them keening on stormy nights, anxious in their watery graves.”

She shivered and wrapped her arms against her chest.

“You’ll have some of Miss Tiramaku’s coffee cake.” He pointed at the table, as she turned. “She’s a sensitive soul and will be heartbroken if we don’t finish at least half of it.”
This passage is key to one aspect of the novel: Holly’s growing anxiety about what is haunting her family. The priest, of course, shouldn’t be telling ghost stories, particularly to someone as apprehensive as Holly, and she immediately seizes upon the story of the shipwreck until it becomes an obsession that nearly drives her crazy. When he hears Holly repeat the story in front of her family, Jack Peter latches onto the details and starts drawing pictures from the depths of his imagination.
Visit Keith Donohue's website.

--Marshal Zeringue