Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"The Radiant Road"

Katherine Catmull is a writer and actor in Austin, TX. Her first book, Summer and Bird, was both an IndieBound New Voices Pick and an Amazon Editors' Pick for fall 2012.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, a YA fantasy called The Radiant Road, and reported the following:
Page 69 is an unexpectedly excellent sample of The Radiant Road! For one thing, it’s the only place in the whole book that the title appears.

Clare has just returned from America to the house in Ireland where she was born—a stone house under a hill, with a tree inside it. On her first full day there, she is song-led down a forest path, where she meets an unusual boy.

One thing we know about Clare—and which she has explained to the boy—is that she hates the absurd and childish concept of—in fact, the very word—“fairies.” But now:
She held two thoughts in her mind, both at once, and both lightly, one in each of her mind’s hands: fairies aren’t real; and this boy, this earth-rainbow-making boy, this boy of her memories, Timeless boy—he is, he is real. Then, quite easily, she let the first thought spill away into the air. She had been wrong; almost her whole life, she had been wrong about fairies (still, that word, though, ergh), had been wrong about what to believe in. It felt hilarious now, to have been so wrong.
Clare writes poetry, although even to herself she won’t call it that—“not poems, just notes for poems.” But now the boy has told she was born to protect her tree, which connects their two worlds—and that she keeps that connection alive and flowing with art and making.

That night—on page 69—she wakes in the dark to write:
With her poem before her, she thought of how her small makings had a big reason: to keep the tree alive, to keep her connection alive: to the other world, and to making, and to dreaming.

And to Finn. She remembered sitting with him in their in-between, that was only theirs: how new but how familiar it was, to be in private with such a friend, a friend of her heart, the loveliness of it. The pressure of his arm against hers, the woody scent of him. A secret jewel.
The page ends with the beginning of one of her poems—and the title of the book:
Along the sea, the moonlight spills
A kind of path
For one with feet, not fins.
Bare feet and cold
Splash this radiant road. On water and light she runs
... and you’ll have to read the book for the end of the poem, and the end of the story, including all that’s missing from page 69: the adventure, the danger, the terror, the magic, and the trips into the night sky, into the roots of trees, and into the bottoms of dreams.
Visit Katherine Catmull's website.

--Marshal Zeringue