Sunday, March 17, 2019

"The Waking Forest"

In between training in ballet and watching lots of Disney movies, Alyssa Wees grew up writing stories starring her Beanie Babies. She earned a BA in English from Creighton University and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. Currently she works as an assistant librarian in youth services at an awesome public library. She lives in the Chicagoland area with her husband and their two cats.

Wees applied the Page 69 Test to her debut novel, The Waking Forest, and reported the following:
From page 69:
I enter the blackness between the trees, and the forest does not vanish.

No—it collapses.

The branches curl in on themselves like fingers into a fist and the leaves drop all at once, a scratchy swirl of anemic green. The trunk nearest me begins to tip, and I jump out of the way into the path of another falling trunk, and another and another, until I’m forced to dart backward out of the woods. I stumble on a raised root and tumble to the lawn, the brief spark of sunlight from before now gone. I watch as the trees twist and tilt and crumble in a great plume of dust. Broken branches, cracked trunks, shriveled leaves—when the dust clears, floating up and up and up, all of it is gone.

It happens in perfect silence, and I have no idea when the screaming stopped.
At this point in The Waking Forest, the protagonist, Rhea, has had visions of a mysterious forest that always vanishes when she reaches out to touch it. No one else can see this forest. But in this scene, Rhea finally reaches the forest and manages to enter it for the very first time, even as it falls apart around her. Her visions are growing stronger and more tangible, and the fantasy world she sees is beginning to merge with her reality. This passage is absolutely representative of the rest of the novel. From here her visions are only going to grow more real—and more frightening.
Visit Alyssa Wees's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Waking Forest.

--Marshal Zeringue