Friday, July 19, 2019


Courtney Maum is the author of the novels Costalegre, Touch, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, and the handbook Before and After the Book Deal: A writer’s guide to finishing, publishing, promoting, and surviving your first book, forthcoming from Catapult. Her writing has been widely published in such outlets as BuzzFeed; the New York Times; O, the Oprah Magazine; and Poets & Writers. She is the founder of the learning collaborative, The Cabins, and she also runs a service called “The Query Doula” where she helps writers prepare their manuscripts and query letters for an agent’s eyes.

Maum applied the Page 69 Test to Costalegre and reported the following:
From page 69:
“Seven, eight,” I said.
“And now you must be twenty!”
 This made me laugh because of course I wasn’t twenty; if I were twenty, I would be married and not down at the stables doing nothing by myself.

“I’m fifteen,” I said. “Just.”
 He raised his eyebrows.
 “Dangerous age,” he teased. And I understood why many people must have liked, and also hated, him so much.

“Have you come to ride? Is your mother joining you?”

“Oh no,” I said. “She can’t with her ankles. They’ve gotten terribly worse. But we’ve got . . . Charlotte will ride. Do you know Charlotte?”

“Course I do,” he said. “Terrific horsewoman. Fiendish writer. How many of you are up there at that hellhole?”

“Oh, I think we’re . . . nine?”

“And which one of the imbeciles was it that stole my goat?”

I went even redder.

“Hmm,” he said. “I see.” Then he turned to the groom and said another thing in Spanish.

“It wasn’t me, sir,” I said quickly. “It was...”

“Tell away,” he said, pulling the letter from his front pocket. “I know who, exactly. Hetty sent this over. What a perfect fool. Do you know that goat was payment for
I think page 69 of Costalegre is quite representative of the rest of the book. Here we have young Lara meeting someone she is viewing as a potential savior, a way out of the cloistered Mexican house that she is trapped inside of with all of her mother’s artist rescues in 1937. That someone is Jack Klinger, a German war artist who has been hiding away in Costalegre for some time.
Visit Courtney Maum's website.

The Page 69 Test: I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You.

The Page 69 Test: Touch.

--Marshal Zeringue