Thursday, April 20, 2017

"The End of the Wild"

Nicole Helget is the multigenre author of The Summer of Ordinary Ways, The Turtle Catcher, Horse Camp, Stillwater, Wonder at the Edge of the World and The End of the Wild.

Helget applied the Page 69 Test to The End of the Wild and reported the following:
From page 69:
Margot puffs up with importance. “Well,” she says, “my mom says that Mark-Richard sat his cat on the couch and put a candle flame to a wood tick on its ear. But Mark-Richard didn’t know that his mom had doused the couch with kerosene to kill bedbugs. The cat leapt off the couch, knocked the candle out of Mark-Richard’s hands, and up went the flames. Mark-Richard got Gary and the cat out, and they all got picked up by the county lady.
The process of writing isn’t always jokes and roses, so I sometimes indulge myself with literary thefts for amusement. On page 69 of The End of the Wild, a middle-grade book, you’ll find a tip of the hat to the writer, Mark Richard, who wrote one of my favorite short stories ever, “Strays,” from the story collection The Ice at the Bottom of the World. “Strays” is about a pair of brothers whose mother runs away and who spend their days surviving the antics of their caretaker Uncle Trash and thinking about a wild pack of dogs. In the story, there’s an accident with one of the dogs that sets their house on fire. I pulled that idea, massaged it, and plopped it into my own book. I even named my character Mark-Richard. No kid on the planet is ever going to catch the homage. But, maybe, a mom or dad or teacher out there will. Some other writers' characters live very, very full lives in my own head long after the last page of their books. I took Father Mapple from Moby Dick and put him in my last book, Wonder at the Edge of the World. I took Joe Christmas from Faulkner’s Light in August and put him in my Stillwater. I took Captain Patterson from The Man-eaters of Tsavo and put him in my own The Turtle Catcher.
Learn more about the book and author at Nicole Helget's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Turtle Catcher.

--Marshal Zeringue