Monday, June 15, 2015

"Long Black Curl"

Alex Bledsoe grew up in west Tennessee an hour north of Graceland (home of Elvis) and twenty minutes from Nutbush (birthplace of Tina Turner). He has been a reporter, editor, photographer and door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. He now lives in a Wisconsin town famous for trolls.

Bledsoe applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Long Black Curl, the third novel of the Tufa, following The Hum and Shiver and Wisp of a Thing, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Long Black Curl describes a crucial meeting between two characters. One of them is Mandalay Harris, the 12-year-old girl who is the hereditary leader of half the Tufa, a race descended from exiled Celtic faerie folk and now living in modern Appalachia. The other is Luke Somerville, a 12-year-old boy from the other half of the Tufa. Mandalay has gotten lost in the snow, something that really shouldn’t be possible given her Tufa blood, and Luke has just discovered her.
The shape stopped. The dog barked once. “Who’s there?” the shape called.

“My name’s Mandalay Harris. I reckon I’m lost. Who’s that?”

“Luke Somerville. Lord a’mighty, girl, how’d you end up all the way out here?”

“Like I said, I got lost. Reckon I have a talent for it.”

“You sure do.” He came closer, and she could see his face. He was about the same age as her, black haired and big eyed. She’d seen him around school, but he belonged to Rockhouse’s people, and they tended not to interact with her folks anywhere but the Pair-A-Dice. She wondered if he knew who she was.
Among other things, Long Black Curl is about the dangers inherent in forming relationships across borders, whether it be family, clan, or society. The central couple, Bo-Kate Wisby and Jefferson Parker, once did so, and it led to horrific events that caused them to be the only Tufa ever banished. Now Mandalay seems on the verge of doing the same thing; given her standing in the Tufa community, the potential for even more destruction is very real.

But at the same time, the potential for great good is there as well. The relationship between Romeo and Juliet, after all, ended their families’ feud. As the modern world encroaches on the Tufa, making it harder and harder to continue hiding in plain sight after centuries of isolation, these relationships may be their only hope. Unless, of course, they lead to their destruction.
Learn more about the book and author at Alex Bledsoe's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Wisp of a Thing.

Writers Read: Alex Bledsoe.

--Marshal Zeringue