Saturday, July 4, 2015

"The Miracle Girl"

Andrew Roe is the author of The Miracle Girl (Algonquin Books). His fiction has been published in Tin House, One Story, The Sun, Glimmer Train, Slice, The Cincinnati Review, and other publications, as well as the anthologies 24 Bar Blues (Press 53) and Where Love Is Found (Washington Square Press). His nonfiction has been published in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle,, and elsewhere.

Roe applied the Page 69 Test to The Miracle Girl and reported the following:
The Miracle Girl features many characters and multiple points of view, so I was curious what I’d find when I turned to page 69. (The book centers on the title character, eight-year-old Anabelle Vincent, who’s in a coma-like state and is supposedly capable of performing miracles. When word of this spreads, more and more people flock to the Vincent’s suburban Los Angeles home, seeking the girl’s help.)

Fittingly, page 69 includes the end of a section that introduces one character (Linda Santiago, a physical therapist who’s taking on Anabelle as a new client) and the beginning of a section that introduces another character (Donald Westerfield, an elderly man who’s drawn to Anabelle because of his dying wife). Re-reading the page reminded me of how much time I’d spent on mapping out the novel’s characters and how they’d appear and intersect throughout the book.

I also remembered how, for a long time, I had a different introduction for Donald; it showed him waiting in line to see Anabelle. At some point, I realized I needed to introduce him earlier to provide him with some back story. Here’s what I eventually came up with:
One morning, in the forty-sixth year of the Westerfield’s marriage, not long after Donald Westerfield had retired from a successful career as a civil engineer, and right before the annual descent of the hectic and draining but also somehow rejuvenating holidays (four grandkids now, and counting), Patricia Westerfield woke up briefly and then went back to sleep.
Learn more about the book and author at Andrew Roe's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Miracle Girl.

--Marshal Zeringue