Monday, May 4, 2015

"The Mapmaker’s Children"

Sarah McCoy is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of The Baker’s Daughter, a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award Best Historical Fiction nominee; the novella “The Branch of Hazel” in Grand Central; The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico; and The Mapmaker’s Children (Crown, 2015).

Her work has been featured in Real Simple, The Millions, Your Health Monthly, Huffington Post and other publications. McCoy has taught English writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. She calls Virginia home but presently lives with her husband, an Army physician, and their dog, Gilly, in El Paso, Texas.

McCoy applied the Page 69 Test to The Mapmaker’s Children and reported the following:
From page 69:
Green: life is here. Sarah walked the garden rows. In addition to blueberries, she saw orange squash, red beetroot, green sorrel and kale...

A horse neighed suddenly. Sarah dropped to her knees in the garden shadows.

Freddy and a man walked toward the barn, leading a speckled mare by the reins.

“Much obliged to you Mr. Fisher,” said Freddy.

Mr. Fisher’s face glinted indigo under the night light. “Glad to help, Mr. Hill.”

Siby’s pa. Sarah was touched by the way Freddy addressed him, respectfully and with obvious affection. Her father’s vision before her: white and black men, walking side by side as equals.

“We thought it best to have two horses pulling the wagon,” Freddy explained. “In case we need to move at a quicker pace. A lot of strangers in town. Amazing how people don’t give the time of day to a man doing a good work, but everybody shows up to see him suffer.” Freddy shook his head and whipped the horse’s reins across his palm. “Mankind. We’re a savage bunch. Sometimes I wonder if Gypsy and Tilda look on us with pity.”

Mr. Fisher sighed loud enough for Sarah to hear from her crouch. “I wonder the same. Mr. George be a man of forgiveness, mercy, and tolerance. I know he preaches them things to the white folk in New Charlestown, but do other towns hear them parts of the Gospel? Sho’ don’t seem like it.” He ran his hand over the horse’s haunches. “My pa, long time ’go, told me God gave animals a different kind of vision from us peoples. They ain’t got as many colors in their head, so they ain’t confused as easily. They sees straight through the rainbow. When I was a young’un, I used to wish I could see for a minute like theys do.” The horse nuzzled his shoulder. “A rainbow be pretty, but if a man try to take hold of it, he learns fast it ain’t nothing but mist in hand.” He patted the horse’s jowl and pushed it back forward. “Speaking of, I hope this fog rolls off for good tonight, otherwise passengers be late.”
Oo, I love what I found when I performed The Page 69 Test on The Mapmaker’s Children. This is a scene wherein Sarah Brown is spying on her host Freddy Brown while he is engaged in secretive Underground Railroad discussion with Mr. Fisher, a freed black man who works for the Hill family in 1859 West Virginia. The page is an atmospheric snapshot of some of the book’s major themes.
Learn more about the book and author at Sarah McCoy’s website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico.

The Page 69 Test: The Baker's Daughter.

Coffee with a Canine: Sarah McCoy and Gilbert.

--Marshal Zeringue