Saturday, April 7, 2018

"The Fairies of Sadieville"

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, The Fairies of Sadieville, the sixth book in his Tufa series, and reported the following:
On page 69 of The Fairies of Sadieville, our two protagonists, Justin and Veronica, are driving along a winding rural highway on their way to Cloud County in search of the vanished coal town of Sadieville. They pull over so Justin can pee, and while alone in the car, Veronica ponders her concerns about the trip:
The one thing they hadn’t discussed was the obvious: a Latina and her black boyfriend would certainly stand out. They’d both had their share of experiences with racism, but this was the first time, as a couple, they’d ventured into what they believed was the heartland of it.
Any story set in the contemporary American south, if it’s honest, has to deal with race. It doesn’t have to be the focus, which it isn’t here, but to omit it entirely is, quite frankly, cheating. My fictional Tufa people frequently encounter racism outside their community, so their response to other minorities is filtered through that. Similarly, the important and omnipresence of religion has to be acknowledged, since it permeates so many aspects of southern life. Not that it’s all bad, either in real life or my Tufa novels; sure there are hypocrites, but there are also true believers, like recurring character Craig Chess, a Methodist minister. The important thing is to understand race and religion as part of that society’s foundation, because whether you’re a believer or not, a racist or not, they are inevitably there.

Is page 69 representative of the rest of the book? I hope so. It helps create the reality against which the fantasy elements will appear that much more fantastic. Through this book, and the series as a whole, I’ve attempted to achieve that same balance.

And I certainly hope a reader skimming that page would be inclined to read on, because the last line is:
He slammed into the car. “I saw a dinosaur!” he gasped.
Learn more about the book and author at Alex Bledsoe's website.

--Marshal Zeringue