Thursday, May 19, 2022

"Dreaming of Flight"

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than 40 published and forthcoming books.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Dreaming of Flight, and shared the following:
From page 69:
He literally ran through his egg route after school the following day, jogging down the sidewalks. Jumping over the cracks.

When he had sold the last dozen, he sprinted to Marilyn’s house, where he stood on her landing, panting desperately.

He knocked, still panting.

He leaned his hands on his own knees and gasped, and gasped, and gasped.

When he looked up, she was looking down on him.

“Oh,” she said. “Well, this is odd.”

He wanted to answer, but he couldn’t speak yet.

She looked past him and down the concrete stairs, probably to the spot where his empty wagon sat. He didn’t bother to look around to be sure what she was seeing. He was too busy breathing.

“Well, I know you didn’t come to sell me eggs,” she said.

He shook his head, still not ready to speak.

“It hasn’t been a week, and besides, you’re all out.”

Stewie opened his mouth, but no words came through. Only noisy, raspy breathing.

“I’ll just wait here until you’re ready to explain yourself,” she said.

She leaned one shoulder against the frame of the open door. Then she reached into her skirt pocket and absentmindedly pulled out a peppermint candy. It was the kind with the swirls of red in an otherwise white disk. She unwrapped the cellophane and popped the candy into her mouth. Then, as though suddenly remembering something she had forgotten, she reached again into the same pocket and produced another candy, which she held in his direction.

“Thank you, ma’am,” he said, and took it from her. His words, though breathy, sounded intelligible.

“Now how about you tell me to what I owe this visit?”

“Pardon, ma’am?”

“It means ‘What brings you here?’”

“Oh. That. I thought you might…”
I realize this page ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I didn’t mean to do that. What Stewie is trying to say is that he’s worried about her memory. She recently started a grease fire by leaving something on the stove, and he wants to be around to look after her. He tends to want to fix everything and everybody and make sure nothing ever goes wrong, so this is something he really can’t let go.

I do think it represents the novel fairly well in that both characters come through, considering it’s just one page. It shows off Stewie’s neediness and obsessive tendencies, and Marilyn’s prickliness and unwillingness to make things much easier for him.

There’s a bit more action and plot than comes through on this page, but this is characteristic of the relationship building that takes place. And really, if you’re not a fan of relationship building in fiction, this book is probably not for you. Most of what I write is character-driven and pretty quiet, though perhaps not as much as page 69 of Dreaming of Flight might lead you to believe.
Visit Catherine Ryan Hyde's website.

Q&A with Catherine Ryan Hyde.

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The Page 69 Test: Seven Perfect Things.

The Page 69 Test: Boy Underground.

--Marshal Zeringue